A Business Model is Not a Business


Look around the web and you’ll find business models being pedaled on every corner.

  • Internet Marketing
  • Membership-based businesses
  • Ebooks
  • Speaking
  • Events

The sales pitches can be very seductive.

They usually promise quick success and fast money. Oh, a few will tell you it’s going to take some hard work, but the pitch is usually all about making lots of money, making it easily, and making it fast. There’s usually a deadline or a limited number of spots or units available, along with lots of hype to get you all excited about the opportunity.

The problem with this is these are all just Business Models.

Business models are how you package your services… how you sell them. In and of themselves they do not make a business. Yet sadly, I see too many service professionals lured in by the promise of quickly attracting clients, making sales, and making money. But far too often they aren’t able to replicate the same success being touted by the seller.

Why is that?

Because before you select a business model you first need to have established a viable business. You need to understand what you’re selling (not just how you’re packaging it which is what a business model is), who you’re selling to (and you need to be certain they actually want what you’re selling, are willing to pay for it, and CAN pay for it), how you’re going to position and market it so it gets your ideal client’s attention, how you’re going to price it, and how you’re going to fulfill it.

All of these things are part of setting up your business and packaging your services.

So, if I decide I want to start my own business and make money while I sleep (which is what many Internet marketing sales folks promote), or I want to make more money in a weekend or month than I’ve previously made all year (another popular sales pitch), and I buy their product or course, and set out trying to create an information product, video training program, event, mastermind program, or even just a simple coaching or consulting program, and I haven’t first addressed the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, and HOW MUCH… chances are I’m going to fail miserably when trying to apply the strategies they’re teaching.

Because I’m trying to implement a tactic on a faulty, or non-existent foundation.

I’ve fallen into this trap myself a few times over the years.

Even though I should have known better, the sales pitches were SO persuasive! And I started trying to implement a business model only to find out that I was trying to sell something to a group of people who weren’t motivated to buy. A business model can’t make up for that. I didn’t have a solid business idea. And it cost me a lot of money and wasted time.

It was a painful lesson to be sure.

And I know that if I could be seduced by this with all my training, education, and experience, those who perhaps don’t know better are even more at risk. It’s why I reinvented my business in 2009 from just focusing on marketing to focusing on the entire spectrum of packaging, branding, marketing, and selling services.

It’s also why I don’t even begin to address picking a business model with my clients or students until we’ve first identified what business they’re in and who they’re selling to. In fact, in my How to Market Yourself as a Coach or Consultant course, I share my Business Models ebook which includes 14 different business models for service professionals, along with guidelines for choosing the one that’s the best fit for you and your business.

It’s great to have choices.

It’s awesome that as self-employed service professionals we have a choice in how we work and offer our services. Just make sure you’re not putting the cart before the horse and buying into a business model as if it were a business. Take the steps before choosing your business model to make sure you have a viable business idea. Know what you’re selling and who you’re selling to (and make sure they’re a willing and able audience). And, the business model you choose will have a much higher chance of making you money and making your business successful.


About Debbie

Debbie worked in marketing for 32 years and ran a successful coaching and consulting business for 19. Now she helps people find greater happiness and success by learning how to Follow Inspiration.

1 comment on “A Business Model is Not a Business

  1. Great article, Deb!
    Same thing happens in the photography biz. A bunch of people are selling photography business models along with products and price lists. Unfortunately, one finds out too late that their market isn’t interested in it. There’s just so much more to it.
    I’m all for believing in the dream, but at some point you have to wake up and face reality 🙂
    All the best,

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