I want to set the record straight on a misconception I see every day in business:
Money is a byproduct of increased capabilities.
It doesn’t work the other way around, where increased capabilities are a byproduct of making more money. The value you demand is equivalent to the value you provide through the skills you have, the impact you can make, and the results you can generate for clients.
So, don’t waste time chasing new money. Chase new capabilities instead.
If you want to make a certain income, what is the mindset you need to reach that level? What new skills do you need to learn? What are new ways you can offer value to those you serve?
It works the same for a business. If you want to increase revenue, don’t go chasing clients in the hopes it will bring in more money. Focus on developing new capabilities and coaching up your team members so they can better serve your clients. When you do that, you’re able to deliver more value, which increases how valuable you are to the client and how much they’re willing to pay for your services. In the end, your product or service is worth what someone will pay.
You may think you’re worth more, but the market will ultimately be the one to decide.
Stumbling Blocks to Pursuing New Capabilities
On a personal level, people get this twisted for a couple of reasons. First, they don’t see the full picture when they look at those around them who have what they want. If you know someone with the same experience who’s making twice what you do, it’s easy to assume they’re just hustling harder than you. But all you’re focused on is the byproduct—money.
What you don’t see are the new skills they’ve developed, the mindset they’ve adopted, and the new products or services they’re able to offer because they’ve leveled up. All these factors have combined to deliver more value to those they serve, which means more money for them.
What you focus on has the ability to shape the way you view the world, so if you’re pursuing money instead of capabilities, you’ll almost surely misinterpret the success of others.
Another issue is alignment. You have to make sure the value you’re delivering is considered valuable by your organization. If you’re delivering more sales by any means necessary in a business that depends on long-lasting relationships, there’s likely a misalignment in what you define as “value” and how your organization defines it. That doesn’t mean your capabilities are not valuable—you might just need to find an organization that prioritizes what you can do.
When you find that alignment and your capabilities allow you to deliver value for both clients and the organization, your employer would be crazy not to reward you for that with more money.
This is the Blueprint We Used at Crisp
When we started Crisp, we were in the video production business and were great at what we did. The videos we made helped our clients tell their stories, communicate their unique value proposition, and set themselves apart from the competition. But what we quickly realized was that no matter how good a video was, it wouldn’t make an impact if nobody saw it.
We knew we needed to develop the capabilities of marketing and placement to get our clients’ videos in front of their ideal clients. Once we solved the content and marketing challenge, we started to think, “How can we support our clients so they’re making the most of this new business we’re generating for them?” We realized we needed to offer business development and coaching to our clients, in addition to content production and marketing. We could serve our clients even better by helping them become better operators, which would not only improve customer service, but allow leaders to attract better talent and create a thriving culture.
These were things we excelled at in our organization—why not teach them to our clients? It’s worked beautifully, as our average client has grown over seven figures in the past year.
Yes, expanding our capabilities brought in more revenue and allowed us to grow 1,000% in the past three years, but that’s never been our focus. The focus has always been: How do we better support our clients? How do we help them grow their businesses? Everything we’ve done, from our Game Changers Summit to the book I wrote, was done to impact those we serve.
What’s the Next Step for You?
If this resonates with you on an individual level, here’s what you can do next. Identify the top people in your industry and look at the capabilities they have. Not their products, but the skills they possess that allow them to create those products. Once you know their capabilities, compare them with yours and see where the gaps are. If you’re in marketing, for example, do you need a better understanding of a certain platform? Do you need a certification?
So much of what you need in order to level up is free. All you have to do is seek it out. If you’re working for an organization, that means seizing opportunities for continuing education.
This is a huge focus for us at Crisp. We have an online learning platform and offer certifications. It’s actually required that our team members take a certain number of courses each quarter. We call them CCEs: Crisp Continuing Education. If you work at our company, you want to grow, so while these classes are mandatory, taking them benefits all parties involved. The better our team members are, the better our company is, and the greater impact we can make.
Business owners will often ask me, “What happens if I spend all this money on coaching, training, and developing a team member, only for them to leave a join a competitor?”
My response is always: “What happens if you don’t make that investment and they stay?”