How to Architect a Million-Dollar Community with Alan Weiss
Interested in building a global base of loyal fans who tell you the educational offerings they want and help you design them? Then you definitely want to listen in to this interview with Alan Weiss, the Million Dollar Consultant®.
I’ve counted myself among Alan’s fan base for many years now and was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with him as I was writing Leading the Learning Revolution. In this podcast, Alan discusses his approach to building successful professional communities, the keys to developing high-value, high-price point offerings, and how on earth he manages to produce as much as he does.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just for consultants: the advice and perspectives Alan offers in this episode apply to any entrepreneurial individual or organization that wants to take their education business to a whole new level this year. Enjoy it, and please also spread the word by using the social links at the end of this post.
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02:05 – Introduction of Alan Weiss, the Million Dollar Consultant®.
02:30 – Discussion of the moniker “Architect of Professional Communities®” and what it means to Alan. Alan believes communities are the future of professional groups and that traditional trade and professional associations are going to disappear.
Interview quote used in Leading the Learning Revolution:
I think a true community, such as I have with Alan’s Forums, is one where people interact. They’re drawn together by the quality of the people there. They act as peers. They help each other, and in helping each other they help the overall profession. It’s not dissimilar, by analogy, to the iPhone and apps. The more apps that are created, the more the people buy them, the more people are attracted, the more apps are created. Apple then creates an even better iPhone and the cycle repeats itself. So, that’s what I mean by community. Not anyone can create a community. You have to have a strong brand, thought leadership, and intellectual property. And so, in boutique consulting, I’ve been able to do that. – Alan Weiss
03:30 Alan says you have to have strong brand, thought leadership, and intellectual property to create a successful community. You have to constantly provide excitement and value. New ideas, new intellectual property – and be fearless in spreading these. When people find value and excitement in being with you, they tend to congregate – and good people bring other good people with them.
04:40 – Discussion of “free” – Alan notes that he gives away everything that he has in his books. Organizations and individuals are afraid of giving so much away, but Alan argues that the more you share, the more you benefit. The more you give, the more you get.
05:50 – How does Alan manage to do so much as a solo entrepreneur? One key is never self-censoring, never re-writing. When Alan comes across something of interest, he notes it. If it remains of interest, he schedules time to address it. Listen in for an example of how he leveraged an idea that came up during a discussion on Alan’s Forums.
07:50 – How do you know when you have a successful offering, when the time is right to take a chance? Alan notes that he does fail and says that if you are not failing you are not trying, not taking sufficient prudent risk. You can’t live in fear of failure. But he does have a very strong batting average because he listens to his communities. His communities ask for and help him design his products.
10:00 – Alan notes that he also tends to do things only once in the U.S. So, there is a scarcity aspect to his offerings that helps to support a higher price point.
10:20 – Are scarcity and community the keys to maintaining price points? Anything else? Alan says for physical workshops, its a combination of three elements: perceived value, brand, and venue. Need to hit on at least two of the three – and preferably all three – to command a strong price.
11:50 – Discussion of “ROI” in the continuing education/professional development market. ROI is often not measured at all. Will there be more pressure to provide ROI for training? Alan feels ROI in training, development, learning has been “fought forever” and he doesn’t see much evidence of this situation changing – at least within the corporate context. Training is a $60 billion dollar industry, and he estimates less than 5% is done on the basis of a clear ROI.
14:40 – Is Alan in the business of helping people be better learners? He’s in the business of helping people to think better and differently. He can’t make people learn – motivation for learning is intrinsic. Once you are within his communities, though, he can be a change agent.
15:50 – What’s Alan’s advice for creating a high impact, high revenue education business? You have to work backwards. Find out what the improved client condition will be and then work backwards to create it. Discussion of the difference between true expertise and over-reliance on methodology.
17:40 – Sign off. Be sure to visit:
- Alan Weiss’s main Web site. While there, check out:
- Contrarian Consulting (Alan’s Blog)
- How to Build a Learning Community
- 10 Best Online Community Platforms
Thanks so much for tuning into the Learning Revolution. If you find the podcast valuable, please consider sharing it with others by clicking https://www.learningrevolution.net/share to send out a tweet. I’d also be really grateful if you would consider doing a brief review or giving the podcast a rating on iTunes.