Some people are uneasy or even defensive about making money—as if doing so is an imposition on others, or worse. Because of that many are hesitant to monetize their platforms.
When I first started blogging, monetization didn’t even occur to me. But I had expenses that began growing as my reach expanded. I joined the Amazon affiliate program to offset my costs, and eventually started selling space for select advertisers.
I felt odd about it at first, like I was somehow taking advantage.
But the funny thing was this: At the same time I as feeling this conflict, I was also the CEO of a major book publisher, and I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. In other words, I should have known better.
Life on the Planet Where Everybody Wins
Taking is the wrong word. Markets work on exchange, and both parties stand to gain from the transaction. I wasn’t taking. I was contributing value in the form of beneficial content and connecting my readers with products that could address their needs and problems.
Readers responded in a big way, and demand exploded. I branched out into other areas, including ebooks, launching Platform University, creating 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever, and starting a guided, paid mastermind group.
As a result, my initiative has created a small and rapidly growing company. I’ve provided business to scores of other small business, including coders, designers, videographers, marketers, and others. And the products we’ve produced have created measurable benefits in the lives of countless people.
What my story illustrates is that there are at least three reasons you should consider monetizing your platform.
1. Monetization is Good for You
If you’re like me, you know people that are uncomfortable about selling or charging for their services. Of all the people I know like that, however, not one actually dislikes money. They just feel funny about asking for it. Other than a few outliers everyone likes money.
But monetizing your platform has personal upside beyond cash. There are at least five levels of monetization for a platform.
- Affiliate sales
- Advertising and sponsorships
- Selling your own services
- Selling your own products
- Enrolling affiliates
They all have money in common, but they have one more thing in common: You. These five levels call on your talents, interests, insights, skills, relational acumen, and more.
The truth is that monetization is good for exactly the reason any other kind of work is good—because it satisfies something in us that needs to meet and overcome challenges, something in us that needs to contribute the unique gifts we have to offer.
Successful monetization creates a virtuous circle. The money we receive lets us invest in higher quality products and services, which only increases our personal satisfaction. Excellence is its own reward.
And besides that, winning is fun.
2. Monetization is Good for Your Audience
If that’s as far as the reasons went, some might think monetization was positive but still selfish. But that’s that’s not so.
Here’s a quick self-test: How many free (or nearly free) ebooks do you have on your e-reader right now that you’ve never read or even forgot that you own?
When consumers don’t invest, they don’t value. I’ve seen this in comping people into my courses and conferences. Typically, these people never get the most from the material. With conferences, for instance, they miss half the sessions, come late, or cancel at the last minute.
There’s a direct correlation between paying money and paying attention. What that means for people creating all sorts of consumable products—whether we’re taking about books, conferences, consulting, video courses, or whatever—is that laying our wares on the table for free is not serving us or the customer.
Free might work as part of a marketing strategy. But it stinks as a pricing philosophy. Not only do we gain no financial benefit, but we also undermine the impact we hope to have.
We might intend it for good, but ultimately it disserves the customer. Because they have nothing invested, they get nothing out of it.
Payment increases participation. And the virtuous circle turns here as well because the more you put in, the more your customers potentially get out.
3. Monetization is Good for the World
But don’t stop there. What we see in the case of the individual consumer aggregates and grows far beyond.
My Best Year Ever customers, for instance, have not only helped me and my team, but many have gone on to accomplish big goals of their own thanks to the product: starting businesses, getting healthy, reaching financial milestones, and so on.
The beneficial effects of monetization ripple and multiply far beyond us. That should dispel any qualms we have about making money from our platforms, as I’ve written about here. Entrepreneurialism is an engine for good.
If anything, the unease people feel should point the other way around. If you’re not making money from your platform, how do you know you’re not letting people down—and not just yourself?
Monetizing our work is good and noble. It requires that we take the initiative to find out what others need and then deliver a product that helps alleviate that need. Monetization isn’t about taking. It’s about contributing, and the world experiences a positive gain when ever we do.