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Just eight months ago, Nils Vinje’s corporate leadership training program had hit the $100,000 mark in revenue. Now he returns to report a new milestone: Nils is the owner of a million-dollar-a-year business.
In this appearance he talks about building this money-making machine.
He shares how the right coaching and mindset made his achievement possible.
And he and James discuss the kind of focus needed to make a million dollars in yearly revenue.
Table of contents
1. The surprise of making a million a year
2. Tracing Nils’s milestones
3. The puzzle pieces of a repeatable machine
a. Focusing on the outcome
b. Clearing up the vagueness
c. Getting people a result
d. The spreadsheet approach
e. The attitude that makes things happen
4. What the machine looks like now
5. What Nils looks for in a business coach
The surprise of making a million a year
Only a year ago, the idea of making a million dollars annually was far from Nils’s expectations. He thought he’d have to work countless hours on a consultant basis to pull in that kind of money.
And when James starting working with Nils on his business, a million dollars was not the goal. Would it be fair, asks James, to say that the achievement is more a byproduct of the things Nils has been doing?
A hundred percent, says Nils. Money is not the end all be all for him – he just wanted to build the machine, and has found that so far incredibly fun and engaging, though a lot of work.
Tracing Nils’s milestones
James has built a great machine with his own business. And what he likes is Nils’s approach to getting insights from him to do the same.
Nils’s appearances on the show have tracked his progress, from his entry to James’s world in episode 825 to hitting $100,000 in episode 890, to making $330,000 in ep 922, and now his latest feat.
Nils has established himself and created capacity to deliver in a leveraged way. He’s getting bulk deals, a B2B trend, and multi-license users.
He still mixes in consulting, in which he can command higher rates and get more clients, but he’s also got a back end that makes sense for people doing consulting. They need the membership delivery system to continue and sustain and to compound the benefits of all the training that Nils has been doing.
The puzzle pieces of a repeatable machine
The machine didn’t build itself by magic; it’s been hard work all along the way. There’s been pain and reconstruction, and a few lessons Nils had to learn more than once.
James would love it if Nils could pinpoint a few things that changed his outlook and might really help someone on a similar business journey.
There’s been many, says Nils, and a lot of questioning every single piece at every stage. That’s why he loves his private chat and group calls with James – it’s the fastest way to access James’s expertise and receive the guidance he needs.
Focusing on the outcome
One of the most important points they covered recently was on the focus on outcomes. This was something Nils had heard many times before – focus on the outcomes, not the product.
It only really made sense to him when he shared some customer testimonials with James for feedback. You’ve got to talk about the outcomes, said James, and gave an example of how to make the language more outcome-focused.
That was all Nils needed – seeing it in context, with an example, let him apply it to every one of his snippets.
Clearing up the vagueness
It was a big aha for Nils – he’d been speaking in vague language that might have made sense to him and to people in his program, but meant nothing to everybody else.
But every little step he takes when he gets feedback from James allows him to make quick tweaks and changes and keep improving.
It’s something James picked up from a friend of his, Dan Dobos – Dan said most people fail exams because they’ve never seen what an A paper looks like. James helps people not just by telling them what to do, but by showing them examples.
So for instance, instead of talking about the features of his program and the stuff people will get, Nils now tells them what they’ll be able to do once they join, and how they can join.
Getting people a result
The other thing Nils would like to mention is on bringing people into his world and giving them a result for free. He’d talked in previous episodes about giving away his book for free as James does, and that’s been pretty successful.
Nils, however, wanted other ways of engaging people, in a leveraged way, to get them a result. And immediately, James suggested a challenge.
It occurred to Nils that, being a leadership coach, he could give people tools that would enable them as leaders to give better feedback in a very short amount of time. That would be a wonderful outcome.
So if you go to B2Bleadersacademy.com, there will be an invitation to join the next feedback workshop or feedback challenge. There, for free, Nils will take you through a period of time where he shares his feedback formula and makes it dead simple to implement and to get immediate results.
By doing that, Nils wants people to experience, number one, what it’s like to work with him, and two, that if people give more feedback, everybody benefits, the world will be a better place.
The spreadsheet approach
When Nils is trying to come up with innovations for his business, James often suggests pulling out a spreadsheet, where they can do an effective hourly rate analysis of the potential activities. And there’ll be a blend of things to consider.
As covered, What sort of result does the client need? And how do we describe that?
Then, What do we need out of the business for it to work? Nils is at a leveraged point now, so he has to make decisions based on what would work for him as well – what does Nils require from it?
And then, what do the numbers look like? Can we project that out and see what we start modeling, potential things? James starts calculating, what would it look like, how many hours would it take?
And, what kind of result can we expect versus a different way that we might approach it, which would find more leverage, and might actually help the customer better, that might match their expectation better, deliver a better result, and convert more sales, but also require way less Nils hours?
They’d look at all of that on a spreadsheet. And if it makes sense, it’s a hypothesis that they then roll out.
The attitude that makes things happen
James really thinks the great secret of Nils’s success, of getting the results he’s getting, is his great attitude.
Of course, he brought along industry experience and expertise. He’s already good at what he does. But then he shows up, and he uses resources properly, both the private coaching thread and the weekly group call.
At the weekly group call, Nils is always present, and he usually speaks first. He’s always prepped, he says – he wants to get the goods as fast as possible and make sure he’s heard.
And Nils implements. He actually goes and does stuff.
And James thinks it’s great that Nils can help so many people, reach more leaders with the tools they need and empower them by communicating better and making it easier for them to join his program.
Nils has been a leadership coach for over a decade, and for at least eight of those years he sold very high-ticket private coaching to senior executives inside a B2B target market. And while it was fun and yielded some great outcomes, he only ever got exposure to one person in an organization.
The 30, 50, 300, 500 other people inside the organization represented an opportunity for Nils to help more people with his training in leadership. And he truly believes that when you become a better leader, you impact positively other people’s lives.
But most people, especially in the B2B space, have never ever been properly trained, coached, enabled from a leadership perspective. When you get promoted at any level – manager, director, whatever – you’re expected to figure it out. And that’s what Nils thinks is just wrong.
What the machine looks like now
Nils’s machine now features a better delivery system than a one-time, high-ticket small audience, and his reach is now broader. He’s made it more accessible, and made the results great for the client.
But he’s also made it work for Nils. It’s leveraged for him, and it’s a great outcome for clients – they get to be in more of a group with really refined tool sets, and he’s showing them how to use them.
Nils created this capacity with a recurring subscription membership income, built on kleq.com. And he still has the option to cherry pick assignments, like fly somewhere to do a group workshop.
If Nils does a workshop with 20 managers and recommends a year’s access to his membership, or that they put their teams in the program, it passes the important filter, does this help his B2B Leadership Academy?
So Nils has a recurring subscription membership, an ever growing database from his free book, and he’s about to start up a challenge, which may be free or paid, it doesn’t really matter, but it’s going to help people get a result in advance.
That’s what a seven-figure product mix can look like. And Nils can adjust the dials accordingly to, what’s a great result for the client, what’s a great result for Nils, and how does it look?
What James can constantly do with Nils is get him to compare his product lines. Which one’s his favorite? How do they compare? And do some need some adjusting so that they can stay in the mix?
They map out each product line, how much they’re bringing in in revenue, what do they cost to deliver? How many hours of time do they require? And do they support each other? And that’s how they get the balance and the million-dollar-per-year machine.
What Nils looks for in a business coach
That’s exactly the goal, says Nils, what he wants to build. He doesn’t need five million or 10 million – what he wants is the machine, to enjoy life, to have time to do things that are important to him and support his family in a fun way, be able to go on surf trips for a week in crazy parts of the world.
So a big part, when he’s looking for coaches, is, who’s done the thing he wants to do? And he can pay them and find out how to do it faster.
His advice to anyone looking to get started is, find a coach who’s achieved what you want to achieve, and who has a structured program and a structured approach. Align philosophically and principles wise with them, and then by all means, go all in. It won’t matters how much it costs, because the return will be exponential, if you’re that well aligned.
Nils is evidence that you can build the business and the life that you want.
Build a business you enjoy and a life you love inside the James Schramko membership
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