One of the most prominent business writers in history, Michael Scott, who wrote business-bible, “Somehow I Manage”, once said, “to start a business, you need a building. And secondly, you need supply. You need something to sell. Now this could be anything. It could be… a… thingamajig. Or a… a whosi-whatsi. Or… [pulls out a candy bar] a Whatchamacallit [throws bar]. Now, you need to sell those in order to have a PayDay”.
At Memberse, we live by Mr. Scott’s teachings. Except in one particular case, which is that one does not need a building to start a business. Well, actually, nor need they supply. They do need something to sell. Perhaps not thingamajig, but something that people need.
In this X-paged ebook, we’ll go through the process of becoming more than a Digital Creator, but an actual Business.
We’ll use a straightforward logic to talk about this: we’ll first analyze how regular business is created and grown. Then, we’ll apply some of it to a Digital Creator business, with its given characteristics.
Naturally, creating a business isn’t a simple and structural process that follows a simple script and that’s it. Also, it varies widely from country to country and from culture to culture.
Different laws, different economic realities, and different cultural upbringings make starting a business a very diverse activity. Yet, people are starting businesses all across the globe as you read this.
Therefore, we spoke to tens of business owners of all kinds and sizes, as well as business professors. We’ve also delved into some Marketing and Business books that do offer some scripted ways of starting a business.
Coffee shops, retail, restaurants, services, e-commerce, are some of the businesses being started every day. Now, add Digital Creation to that list.
Let’s see how these two work together.
It’s the ability to create solutions to solve problems.
That’s it. These ways may be a product, a system, an idea, a software, and so on.
Sometimes, creative solutions for things may seem crazy and drive skepticals nuts.
PROBLEM: landline phones were facilitating communication, but people were still unreachblead when they were in street.
SOLUTION: a phone that doesn’t work with landlines, that one can use anywhere, anytime. The mobile phone.
PROBLEM: the smartphone is pricey and somewhat subtle, specially when we’re touching it 200 times per day.
SOLUTION: Thematic rubber covers are cheap, will protect your phone and add some personality to your smartphone.
Well, that’s the start. But the idea is the easy part. There’s 100% chance that you, at least once in your life, have dealt with something faulty and thought “they should this in a way that goes like that, instead of this”.
What actually makes an entrepreneur is idealizing, creating, developing, and selling such a solution.
Forbes once put together a list of 35 steps for entrepreneurs to start a business.
Here are the most relevant ones, in our opinion:
We’ve established the basic aspects of starting a business. Solving a problem, by creating a solution to that problem. Then, developing that solution and selling it.
Now, let me ask you this:
Do Content Creators solve problems?
Do they develop Solutions?
Do they sell stuff?
If you answered YES to all three questions, you win a gift. Click here to retrieve it.
Let’s talk about this for a second.
Yes, Digital Creators offer three types of products: information, entertainment and hacks.
Similarly, in offline entrepreneurship, the most dominant types of business are Service-based. By service, we mean a product that isn’t a ‘good’, such as a cake or a sneaker. Instead, the service sector includes products such as housing maintenance, teaching, mechanics, repairing, informing and so on.
Just to put in perspective, 76% of the United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is of Service! And [80% in the United Kingdom!](https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn02786/#:~:text=The service industries include the,employment in January-March 2022.)
But what if your business could provide both a service AND a good? Well, Digital Creation can. To learn how, let’s first analyze these types of services offered in Digital Creation:
Through information, you are teaching people something. Solving a deficiency that they had.
If you create fashion-related content, you are helping people solve the problem of what to wear on certain occasions or situations.
If you are teaching them a language, how to play an instrument, or how to bake a cake, you’re helping people solve the problem of not speaking a language, not being able to play an instrument, or not knowing how to bake a cake.
If you are suggesting to people what to do in Rio de Janeiro based on your own experiences in that city, you are providing people from not making the best out of their trip.
What’s the difference between Steve Jobs and Pete Davidson?
Steve Jobs created a product called the Iphone, which made the use of the phones and the internet way more fun.
Pete Davidson created comic acts and SNL appearances that made our lives funnier.
Of course that there is a proportion difference in the products each of them created. But Pete created a product that he sells – and quite well. He sells entertainment. He built a character around him. And used his talent to built impersonate other characters.
If you are a content creator that does entertaining videos, like just funny talking head videos, or street challenges, or pranks….you’re still an entrepreneur solving a problem!
In this case, the problem is people’s stress, unhappiness, frustration, boredom, sadness and so on.
Stop pretending like you’ve never seen those videos of how to use duck tape to open a pickle jar. Or how to use toothpaste to clean you phone’s screen. Or just important basic things like how to improve your phone’s speed by getting rid of unwanted factory apps.
There are soooo many hack tips creators out there. And all they do is provide solutions, basically.
There’s a good chance you’re now thinking “wait, my content kinda embodies all of these 3 things at once.” Then you’re more than on the right way. If you can provide solutions by being informative, smart, and fun at the same time, chances are that your product will succeed largely.
Excellent question. And here’s the answer: once you have built an audience by offering your Information, Entertainment, or Hacks, you have established a semi-commercial relationship with its audience. From semi-commercial or commercial relationships, you can now introduce other products. And they may be goods.
By semi-commercial, we mean a concept that is rather exclusive to digital businesses. On social media you gain followers. Are followers clients?
No. Someone becomes a client once they made one monetary transaction with you. That’s called commerce. We call your relationship with your followers semi-commercial because if they’re following you, they are interested in your product. They’re even interacting with your product. Most importantly: they’re taking deliberate action to keep a close eye on your product. They’re following you and everything you post. They’re semi-consumers.
“Oh, so if someone walks into a clothing store and tries something on, are they semi-consumers? Or if someone calls a repair shop and asks how much would be to fix their screen?”
No. Because people will not walk out of the store with the clothes you have just tried to return later. Nor will the person from the repair shop teach you how to fix your screen over the phone.
On social media, you are giving people your product to use. You’re just not charging them for it.
You made that option. You knew that you would be spending time, effort, resources, perhaps even money when you started posting your product. And you also knew that no one was going to pay for it.
Like T-shirts, books, mugs, real-world experiences, trips, discount vouchers and so on.
In summary, there are many ways you can bring revenue. By selling products that may be both services and goods and that solve a problem by offering a solution.
But what is the cost of all that? Well, let’s take a look of some basics of business.
What makes a business successful or not is balance between how much it spends and how much it earns.
Let’s say you sell burgers for $5. Your expenses are $1000 per month. This includes rent, worker salaries, marketing, ingredient costs, packaging costs, delivery, electricity, water, taxes.
You need to sell $1000 worth of burgers to break even. That’s 200 burgers.
Now you broke even, which means that you sold just enough to pay the bills.
In order to have a profit, you need to sell at least 201 burgers. Or, increase the price of your burger.
To sell more than 200 burgers, you need to invest more in marketing and perhaps in the quality of ingredients. If you don’t want to invest more in marketing or in ingredients, you can just increase the price of the burger to $6. But then, you may lose some clients who think that now it’s not worth it anymore (they may think, “if at least they had also increased the product (quality) or had a cooler wrapping paper(marketing)”.
How does one make such a decision?
Well, it all comes down to detailing numbers as much as possible.
Businesses know exactly how much each product costs to make, so they can make put a profit margin on top of it.
They know that by calculating all their fixed costs and their variable costs.
FIXED COSTS are, again, rent, worker salaries, marketing, ingredient costs, packaging costs, delivery fee, electricity, water, taxes. All of the expenses that you know you will have at the end of the month.
VARIABLE COSTS are those that may vary or be additional, unexpected or a difference on average value depending on how much you produce. Your camera broke. You’re taking a course. You had to take a few extra Ubers to film something.
Knowing your fixed costs will allow you to calculate exactly how much it costs to produce your product, whether your product is a burger or a video.
To know how much it costs to make a burger, you’ll calculate all the prices attached to it, the bun, the burger, the ingredients, the slice of cheese. You’ll add an average of the fixed costs on this, which will be base on how many burgers you expect to produce that month. If you produce 200 burgers and your fixed cost is $1000, like we stated, your average cost is $5 per burger.
Your variable costs are added to that too. Naturally, after spending sometime doing business, you learn what’s the average variable cost, and can add that to the cost of the product.
I’M NOT MAKING BURGERS THOUGH, I’M MAKING VIDEOS AND PODCASTS
Yes, we know. So, unless it’s a cooking video, you don’t have to spend with lettuce and buns. But what are the costs of making a video? Even if it’s a simple video, like just you speaking to the camera?
Can you make a list of every potential expense of this video? Do it now, before we give it a shot and then let’s compare notes.
Did you think of anything else?
Let’s go one by one:
Alright, now you know how much your video cost. Let’s say it costs $100.
Now, how much do you want to make with these videos per month? You may be thinking “I dunno dude, the more the marrier”. Sure, but then you have to bring more than $100 in revenue per video.
We’ll talk the about revenue option in a minute.
First, let’s just cover predicted income.
There are Content Creators that produce content about something they’re learning at a Master’s degree that is taking. Their goal is to pay for the degree that way. Let’s say this degree costs $12000 per year. Therefore, this creator needs to bring a revenue of $1000 per month.
They can produce up to 10 videos per month, although that will be more time-consuming than they would prefer, considering they need time to study and all.
If each video costa $100 and they have a fixed expense of $1000, if they produce 10 videos, they need a revenue of $2000 to make it worthwhile. That’s a revenue of $200 per video.
If the 10 videos are taking too much of a toll on our friend and they’re getting exhausted at the end of the semester, which may affect their grades or learning, they can try less videos per month. So, they try 5 videos. Now, their cost is $500 on videos, plus the $1000 of tuition. they have to make less revenue, $1500. Yet, they will need to increase per-video revenue. 5 divided by 1500 equals 300.
To earn more per video, they will need to increase the quality or the commerciality of the video. To increase the quality or commerciality of a burger, perhaps all you need is to add more cheese.
What does one need to increase the revenue of a video? Add more information? Add NSFW imagery? Add controversial content?
The first thing to understand is to know: where does revenue of content come from?
Alright, you’ve probably seen tens of blog posts and videos teaching how to make money online. How to make money on Youtube or Instagram.
And yes, ads are the most popular way.
Other options are paid promotions, selling courses, affiliate programs, selling merchandise and monthly memberships.
A lot of creators earn revenue by combining a bunch of these options, sometimes even all of them.
In that case, an addition of per video revenue (ads, paid promos, affiliate) and general brand revenue (courses, merchandise, memberships) is supposed to be calculated and divided by the amount of videos produce to understand how much each video is worth in revenue.
Let’s say our friend from the Masters needs to sell more courses. Then, they will produce videos that push more toward courses sales. Part of the video could be an introduction to the course, for example.
If they want to increase revenue by earning more with ads, they need more visibility. In which case, they need to make the video more popular by adding trendy topics or controversial ones, for example. And so on.
At Memberse, we believe that the healthiest and most sustainable way of revenue earning for content creators is through Memberships. That’s because is the easiest way to organize, predict, produce and keep track of all the numbers in your business. It also sets people free from depending on ads and promo revenues, which may force content to be driven by other brands’ interests.
However, to each its own. We want you to decide what’s the best course of action for your business.
So get down to your numbers, analyze your product, and plan carefully your schedule. And remember: don’t be afraid to try and risk. Good luck!