A big shift has been happening in the world of internet business!
What is a personal platform? Before we go there, let me start out by saying that there is a critical movement happening in the world of internet business. This has been going on for some time now. It is turning some sectors of business upside down and the less you know about it, the more you will be affected by it. What is this thing that is happening? What is happening is the rise of the personal platform. Before mentioning that, I would like to share a few of the examples of how online business models have disrupted some more conventional business models. This has occurred by expanding the prior limitations on how we interact and conduct business with the physical world.
What is the evidence of this?
I have three examples that I wanted to share starting with one that happened a few years ago that we are all familiar with to some more recent businesses that have been disrupted.
Everyone is familiar with the onetime movie rental giant Blockbuster. At one time, they had so many locations that they seemed to be as plentiful as McDonald’s restaurants. They had physical locations and in the old economy physical space is real and very powerful. That’s why when their business was being challenged by Netflix and redbox, they were either not aware or very concerned. By the time they recognized it for the threat it was and reacted, it was too late.
Now in a variation of the model that affected Blockbuster, what would you say if I told you I was going to start a hotel business that would serve the whole country and I would do it without constructing one building? If you were thinking strictly pre-internet economy you would probably say I was crazy. Have you ever heard of a company called airbnb? This is exactly what they did. They challenged a business sector that required massive upfront investment in real estate and did it without owning any physical property.
In another example, a different business created a taxi company without owning any cars. The company challenging the old-world taxi company is Uber. Lyft has also joined in serving this market as well. Again, a business that used to require physical assets is being turned upside down by a company that owns none of that previously required physical capital.
These are all examples of physical capital being replaced by a platform. The platform itself takes the place of the need for the investment in materials. So, you might say, “Who cares. How does this help me? How can I benefit from this information?”
What this means for the individual
Well let me ask you one thing, how do you make a living? What do you do for money? Chances are you go somewhere and perform some set of tasks that you are an ‘expert’ in. Because you know how to do what you do, you have value to whatever company you work for and you earn a paycheck, even if you work for yourself.
Ask yourself, what is the equivalent of the hotel or taxi cab in your life that you may be able to create a platform for with the use of the internet? This is the million-dollar question because if there is an answer to this, maybe you as an individual can also benefit by creating and owning your own platform. Possibly, you have been born in the correct time in history to be able to capitalize from the available technology and some form of expertise you can provide to the world.
When you have a traditional job, you have some physical and time constraints placed on you.
- You have to be at a physical place to perform your duties. We know that there are exceptions to this and now more and more people are able to work from home. For the most part, you have to be in a physical place of work. This could be a hospital, office, construction site or the cab of a truck.
- You have to be there during a specific time frame. Some people are on call but the concept is the same. Whenever you are there, your time belongs to someone else.
- You have a predefined rate of pay. Again, there are some exceptions to this. You can earn an hourly rate, salary or commission and there are people who earn a combination of salary plus commission. The constraint here is that you earn a rate that is predetermined and you can grow within the normal ‘rules’ of how things are done.
The people who own their own platform do not have these constraints placed on them. The other thing to keep in mind is that these people are already out there and doing it. This group of people has effectively become the Airbnb of their own financial life.
Rise of the personal platform
Haven’t you heard people saying “boy, if I knew then what I know now.” Or how about, “I wish I could go back to high school, knowing what I know now.” This is a very common sentiment among all people. We have made mistakes in life. We have wasted time, picked the wrong careers, have had failed businesses and failed marriages. We want to do things we don’t know how to do, like build sheds, create beautiful gardens, improve our careers, travel on a budget, gain clarity, and play a musical instrument. Some of the ways we have learned and grown in different areas of our life have come as a result of blood, sweat and tears. From that body of knowledge, you have accumulated, you can be the guide for someone else. There is one big obstacle in the way of this. People usually value too little the information and knowledge they have acquired throughout their life. Because of your familiarity with yourself and what you know, it seems difficult at times to view your accumulated understanding of the word as something that you could build a business around.
If you look at the course of your life you can identify a few things that you did very well. Maybe you figured out how to invest in real estate, train dogs, coach a winning team, entertain at a social gathering, make the best desserts or overcome shyness. These are the types of things that make people say, “boy I wish I knew then what I now know.”
Because you benefited greatly at some point once you mastered that thing, chances are that someone out there is interested in the knowledge you have acquired along the way. There are two big motivations in human life. One is the motivation to move away from suffering and the other is the motivation to move toward pleasure. There are people out there who want to overcome a pain in their life or want to move toward a pleasure that they would like to experience. To the right audience, you are the right person they need as their personal guide.
If you own your own personal platform around that thing, you are helping people accomplish in a shorter time what might have taken you months or years to learn. People will pay you for that because you are providing them with a known solution at an accelerated pace.
Who are the people doing this now?
If we were talking face to face you might say, are people really actively growing a personal platform? Who are these people? I would say yes, this is really happening. People are making a very comfortable living in growing and maintaining an online personal platform. Below, I have shared a sample of some of the people I am talking about. In this list, I have included topics serving different niches. In this list I have included men, women, sites delivering digital products, books, and physical products as well. I believe this mix of people and topics shares a wide range of possibilities that can get your juices flowing and get you started thinking about things you would be interested in creating an online business around.
Raising Chickens personal platform.
If you want to learn anything about raising chickens, just check out Lisa Steele at;
Here is an example of a small niche site that typically doesn’t come to mind for most people unless you are into raising chickens. Based on a few things I noticed, she is doing a great job with her topic and her site. A few things to note about her site, she has over 45,000 subscribers to her newsletter, she has written a few books so she is creating original content for sale, she has a banner that is paying her for advertising, she is selling physical products through Amazon and she has produced a local TV show as well. With all of this activity, she has positioned herself to do well and continue to grow from here.
I shared this topic to mention the theory of marketing to the Long Tail. In conventional marketing, businesses go after the masses to maximize profits. In the pre-internet business economy, it costs too much to go after the consumer looking for a specialized product so it is not cost effective. Now, in this internet economy, the rules are different. Because you can easily reach those specialized markets, you can reach them in a cost-effective manner and serve a customer who is under-served, in doing so, you serve a very enthusiastic and loyal customer.
Finding Work you Love personal platform.
To find more meaningful work and career advice, Check out Dan Miller at;
I have been following Dan Miller for a while now. He has roots in the Amish community and was a car salesman and has an interesting story. He served in his church by providing classes to help people find meaningful careers. This evolved over time, into a bestselling book, blog and podcast. His tagline is – “48days to the work you love.” One interesting thing to note is he makes great use of responses he gets from listeners to his podcast. They ask questions, he finds the answers and addresses them on the show. This is called crowd sourcing because the crowd is telling you what they want and you are providing it to them. In addition to his products, he does seminars at his property. Two of the seminars he does is a couple’s course for having a thriving marriage and he also has another called Write to the Bank, where he teaches how to get published, market your book and become profitable doing so.
Video Marketing personal platform.
If you want to connect to a business strategist and video marketer, check out Mari Andros at;
She has great information to share which is very valuable to anyone interested in video marketing. She has a largely female audience possibly because they connect with her image, sense of style and female perspective on online business. She delivers all her information with a fantastic online presence. Her main products are higher ticket items like coaching and events. She delivers her premium content via webinars and is generating a substantial income by leveraging automated processes as well. She is knocking it out of the park with her very polished persona and her business strategies.
Online Soccer Coaching personal platform.
If you are a soccer player or have a soccer player at home, you might want to receive coaching from Jared Montz a onetime professional soccer player at;
I have known about him for a while and I have seen him continued to grow and grow. He now has over 225,000 subscribers. In following his progress, I have seen his growth in making use of a staff to continue to make his videos. This is further proof of his growing, online success. In addition to the online paid courses he offers, he now has a line of soccer apparel with is trademark ‘Believe In It’ saying. Use this method of delivery to market digital products or deliver a message in a virtual classroom like setting.
Online Personal Coaching personal platform.
If you would like to find a Virtual Mentor who can help you succeed in life and work, checkout Michael Hyatt at;
Michael Hyatt was once a CEO of a book publishing company so he leverages the experience and knowledge he has acquired in the corporate world and repackages it in ways that he can digitally deliver to his tribe. He also wrote a great book that I recommend called Platform, get noticed in a noisy world.
What does this tell us?
What does this small list of online entrepreneurs show you? It tells me that you can be successful in a wide range of topics. It shows that you can succeed in growing your tribe and marketing online with almost any topic that solves a problem for your target audience.
A few questions to ask yourself to help you arrive at a good topic.
- Does your topic solve a problem that removes them from pain or provides an answer that moves them toward desired outcome?
- Is it a topic that you are passionate about and that there is a need for in society?
- Does your topic pull from your accumulated experience and knowledge? If so, remember that to many people, you are an expert.
What if someone else is already doing it?
Somebody else with your topic it is not a reason for you not to do it. Did Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s say, McDonald’s already beat us to the burger business let’s make bird cages instead? No. The reality is that nobody can do what you do quite the way you do it. The key is to spend the necessary time finding your unique ‘voice.’
I would love to hear from you with questions or comments.