The hero’s journey is a tale as old as well, writing, or recorded history. From the moment humans started writing to communicate, and this includes cave drawings, we became storytellers. This is actually so prevalent in our species, it’s a part of epigenetic makeup. We communicate through stories. The most common being the Hero’s journey. In a hero’s journey regardless of what the monster actually was, it is a tale of a person who faces struggle, is met with an idea, executes the idea, slays the monster, and becomes the hero.
Well as you know, there aren’t many monsters these days, so the hero’s journey looks a lot more like, the character faces frustration probably in the marketplace, they come up with a solution, they toil with the solution, eventually, it works, they become the hero, or in modern context they become successful. Every day, we wake up, and we choose, Hero, Villain, Victim. We are the characters of our own stories, and most, they choose victims.
I understand this seems insensitive, no one would surely choose to be the victim, but they are in fact the victim. So the question is not why they are the victim, but how they became the victim. Respectfully people face some truly unfortunate circumstances that are wholly out of their control, and they become victims of heinous misfortune and crime. Please know, I am not referring to someone being attacked per se, or a victim of a car crash. I am however referring to every other narrative. It’s human nature to want to be the villain. But why?
Humans only really have one motivation, the avoidance of discomfort. Which is a short way to say humans will do anything to not be uncomfortable. Generally speaking, you would think being the villain is quite uncomfortable, but at a deeper look, you can see it’s not. When you become the victim you rest the responsibility outside of your control, as such, you may be very uncomfortable, but because you cannot do anything about it, you will not have to get uncomfortable enough to solve it. Being the villain is a choice of comfort, a choice of complacency.
Choosing the hero of your story is logical. Seriously, who wouldn’t choose to be the hero? But a quick look around answers that for you. Most people. To be the hero, requires a truly uncomfortable realization. To become the hero, you must first accept that the reason you have been the victim, is that you have been the villain in your story all along. That’s heavy, and few people want to move that pile of dirt. When a person is a willful victim in their own story, they are the villain, they are convincing themself, controlling themself, manipulating themself out of taking action, for the perceived belief they are incapable. They are their own keeper, in this case, jailers.
We work with dozens of affiliate owners, we have met with many more, and over the course of more than a decade, I have met hundreds through my work in seminars. Affiliates are cool because they are wildly individual. There is, however, one stark similarity, they are broke. By our data, less than 10% of affiliates are profitable, and that number looks to be more like 7% based on our consults and research. That’s a lot of businesses, in business, not doing much business. Yet, in an industry that does a metric ton of good for anyone it comes in contact with. Affiliates save, and truly change lives, so why then aren’t they making any money?
I don’t know where it happened when the collective reasoning of the affiliate landscape was to martyr themselves, but it appeared to happen somewhere. All things have a tipping point, in business, this is when a product or service moves beyond early adoption, to mass adoption, and becomes a movement. Somewhere in this transition to mass adoption, the collective voice got loud enough, and it appears most got on board, for the reasons laid out above. Affiliate owners love what they do, got into business doing it, realized they knew little of what to do, and then banded together, but few stopped to ask if the collective advice was the right advice. This looks like 150$ a month, unlimited memberships, grandfathered rates, etc.
If you are not making money, regardless of the industry you are in, you must first realize that you are choosing to be the victim, because you are being the villain. To yourself, and mostly to your business. All businesses need to make money, profit is the fitness of your business, it’s the work capacity of your business. Being upside down financially is akin to choosing to sit on the couch because you believe that your genetics have made you overweight. Your choices have made you overweight, let’s choose to be the hero.
Accidentally you became broke, but on purpose, you made decisions, albeit likely unknowingly that led to this misfortune. You can, however, tear open that shirt and reveal your superhero outfit.
The reality is, no one else will be the hero in your story. This is the truly deceitful narrative the victim chooses. In choosing to be the victim, what you indirectly allow or request is someone to save you. The primary reason people choose to be the victim is that it abdicates responsibility. It makes someone else responsible for helping you. When they never come, you shrug and say I’m just cursed. No one is coming. They can’t, you are the only character in your story with the ability to actually help.
We see this every day in consultation with new clients, they look at us with big innocent eyes, and ask are you going to help me? Like we will swoop in and like magic make it all go away. The truth is, yes we are going to help you, and we will do that by making you the hero, not us. Be very wary of anyone who offers to be the hero in your own story.
The difference between inspiration and manipulation is, that those who seek to inspire want you to be the hero in your story, and those who manipulate want to be the hero in your story.
Once we make you the hero, you can be the hero of everything you touch. It’s a much better deal. In the case of this financial conversation, making you the hero is simple, we just have to remind you of a few things.
What you charge is a reflection of you, not them. Most affiliate prices are not set based on financial research and need. They are generally set, and worse, advised to be in line with the market. The problem with this is twofold, this above all else commoditizes you, and now you can be price-shopped and compared, and two, it says nothing of your individuality which is what makes the affiliate model so perfect.
Every affiliate is different by design, and the model allows for that. There was never a need for you all to be standardized, there is in fact a big risk in that standardization. Which many are facing accidentally right now? On accident (purpose) little by little affiliates start adopting more and more similarities from others. The more they standardize, the less they demonstrate differentiation, and as such the less they demonstrate individual value. Being the same seems logical till you realize that is a race to the bottom. So many affiliates do things so differently and for many good reasons, but to the general population and even your own members, there’s a growing assumption that all affiliates are mostly the same. Not even close.
Not only is this assumption bad for pricing, and competition, it’s bad for protection. The more similar affiliates become, the biggest risk is the individuality. For example, when the world perceives you all as the same, or worse if you all were the same, when something bad happens at once, you all will suffer. Respectfully the cry for standardization is to increase the overall level of all affiliates, but this actually just threatens the already great ones, like yours. The victim mindset cries for help, the hero solves the problem.
Think about when Chipotle had its e coli scares, now every Chipotle is bad. Years ago when Jack in the box was killing people. You have seen the risk and the reality play out.
How you charge is your design, not theirs. There are no rules, and with our clients, we have helped them come up with countless different wildly profitable pricing solutions, none of which are identical. There are of course rules that should be followed, and that rule is that your pricing should enforce your business model. You are in the utilization business, which means that you need people to take advantage of your services more often, the more they utilize, the better their results, the better their results the longer they last, and the more they refer. Spoiler alert; Unlimited says nothing of this utilization. When something is everything it’s also nothing. Your pricing should reflect how you expect them to attend, and utilize. This includes charging per service, not just coupling them all together and hoping they do it.
The people that pay, pay attention. I want you to charge the absolute most you can possibly charge for your service. Truly. And if that just made you feel some type of way, that’s the victim. Your service is worth the moon, yet you charge dirt for it. And subsequently are surprised when people seem to value it, and you very little. I’m not advocating you price yourself out of the market, but I am advocating you know exactly what it costs you to provide your best services, and you charge that. You are guilty of this, the more you spend on something, the more you take care of it. It’s an unfortunate reality, but a reality nonetheless. Price is directly proportional to what people value. Charge more, and have better, longer, happier clients.
Be profitable on the front end. The last loose pricing suggestion is likely the most important. You have to be profitable from day one. The goal of a business is to make its clients worth more to themselves than the competition. This is a circular way of saying less clients, more valuable clients. It’s also a way of saying that the earlier a client becomes profitable the more you can spend to acquire and serve them. This will always beat the competition. Think about it; if you are rolling in cash with each client, the list of services you can give them to blow their mind is endless. Whereas if you are taking the minimum because you are uncomfortable asking for more, you have to hope that what you provide will be enough. This is the victim again, you don’t realize you are the villain here, punishing yourself, when you could be the hero and learn to ask for more. Victims say things like my market can’t afford that, or I don’t want to limit people attending. That suggests circumstances are outside your control, victim. Heroes attack the dragon, how do we make a product so valuable that people will pay 5x, and they win?
It costs a lot more than you likely realize to acquire a new customer. On average most of our clients when starting it takes about 7-9 months for a client to become profitable. Why? Well, there is little margin in an unlimited membership, and in some cases, no margin. Each membership has no profit… But it’s typically very low, like 15-20$ per month. The upfront cost to acquire a customer is not just advertising dollars, but also service dollars, cost of doing business dollars, and then churn dollars. For example, if you have a free trial, it’s not free for you. There are coaching fees, class fees, utilities, floor spaces, emails, conversations, etc. A free week costs a gym approximately $115 on average. At $15 a month profit, you can see it’s going to take 7.6 months to break even. Except most people quit in the first 3 months, the ones who stay longer than that stay forever, we know. But it’s the ones who quit who tack their costs on to the ones who stay. So let’s say 3 people take a trial, one stays and the other two quit in month two. Now you can add on their remaining 5 months of lost profit to the one who stayed, so Tim has to stay for 17 months to be profitable.
This is a lot to consider. It’s not so much about the pricing advice here though, as much as I am hoping you stop to consider why you are in fact charging that to begin with. Every day we are presented with the choice, hero or victim. If you are not where you want to be financially, you can be the victim, and no one is going to save you. Or, choose to be the hero, and take control of the situation, and save the day.
We can help you with your pricing, we do it every day. How we do it is not by advice, but by making you believe in yourself as much as we do. We make you the hero, and it’s far bigger than just your pricing. Your service model, your dreams, your teams, they are all affected by your mindset. Would you rather be a part of a hero’s journey, or a victim?
You decide, we are here to help if you choose the hero.