Every successful business has a rock-solid value ladder – an ascending list of products/services that increase in value and price.
A dentist’s first product could be a free teeth cleaning; their most expensive product could be a $10,000 oral surgery.
A life coach’s first product could be a $50 online course; their most expensive product could be a $5,000 mastermind group.
A lawyer’s first product could be a $100 consulting call; their most expensive product could be a $100,000 retainer service.
But success comes in different magnitudes; some entrepreneurs make $50,000 a year, while others make $1,000,000. The more successful entrepreneurs almost always focus on the high-ticket product. Over time, these products can comprise the bulk of your income, giving you more time to focus on your high-level clientele and less time spent on problem customers that aren’t paying you enough.
Nowadays, it’s not that hard to become an entrepreneur and start a business: Make a product, buy some advertisements, get some sales. All you need is decent WiFi, a computer, and time.
But amateurs tend to focus on the first few steps of their value ladder; the small- to medium-sized products that, over time, reach a hard income cap. These entrepreneurs reach a point where they simply don’t have the bandwidth to take on more clients or more work. They become the very force preventing their business from reaching extraordinary heights, a bottleneck that keeps their business stuck.
On the other hand, professionals focus on building and selling high-ticket products, the final steps of their value ladder.
Here’s what I mean: I went to a recent conference on high-ticket items hosted by Russell Brunson, founder of ClickFunnels and creator of countless high-ticket items. He explained they had to double the price of one of their high-ticket items, their annual mastermind group; membership went from $25,000 to $50,000 because every year, they maxed out their 100 open spots.
How did they reach that level of success? Brunson revealed that for every step of their enormous value ladder, they always had their high-ticket mastermind group in mind – every product was intended in some way to prime the customer to buy the next product.
Most of their income came from their high-ticket items (their mastermind group brought in $5,000,000/year alone), and they constructed their business to yield as many high-ticket sales as possible.
Low-ticket items can make you a living.
But high-ticket items can make you a fortune.
If you’re being brutally honest with yourself and your business, you can see that every product you sell is an opportunity to sell something bigger and better. The highest-earning entrepreneurs understand that you’re never not selling.
Once you make this distinction and start focusing on the high-ticket products, your business and income will transform and develop extraordinary earning potential.
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If You Want To Earn High-Ticket Money, You Need To Solve High-Ticket Problems
The day you stop losing sleep over the business and start losing sleep over your customer’s lives is the day your business will grow. – Donald Miller
For a couple of years, I focused solely on creating and selling low-ticket items.
I did relatively well: Hundreds of customers bought my books, online courses, and small coaching calls. I was making enough to live a comfortable life with my wife and dog. I liked the low level of responsibility these low-ticket items had; if a customer didn’t like their purchase or had a problem, I just issued a refund and moved on.
But after a year, I started to realize that there was only so much money I could make in this model. Perhaps I could get lucky and get a viral traffic spike, but I was pretty much on track to make the same amount of money (at best) each month.
Eventually, I got sick and tired of the monotony. I wanted more. I wasn’t the same first-year entrepreneur hoping to get my first sale; I had learned a ton through my countless surveys, customer feedback, and coaching calls. I knew what my customers wanted.
As my experience and skills grew, so did my earning potential. I realized that if I wanted to, I could start charging more. For the first time, I decided to focus on higher-ticket items, creating products priced at hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Much to my surprise…people bought them!
I was spending far less time on these customers, too. They felt like a higher caliber of clientele, people who knew what they wanted and expected to get what they paid for. I had to make a few tweaks (and issue a few refunds), but eventually, it felt like business as usual – only I was making three to five times as much money.
I realized that if you want to earn high-ticket income, you eventually need to start solving high-ticket problems.
If you don’t have a high-ticket item yet, don’t worry. You can make a comfortable living with the first few steps of a solid value ladder. But if you want to make extraordinary amounts of money each month, ten to twenty times what the average entrepreneur makes, you need to learn how to solve high-ticket problems.
You Just Have To Get People From Point A to Point B
What is obvious to you is amazing to others. – Derek Sivers
I was in my late twenties and trying to do “life coaching.”
And I felt like a total fraud.
I was talking with clients who were ten, twenty, even thirty years older than me. They were probably making more money than I was! I felt like an impostor, trying to tell them how to live their life. I was just some kid with a sales page.
In his book The Art and Business of Online Writing, Nicolas Cole described how, by 25, he became the number-one most-read author on the entire Quora platform.
Quora is a question-answer site; people ask a question, and the best answers get read the most. Cole, a 25-year-old kid fresh out of college, knew that he didn’t have all the answers, but he did have stories. He knew enough to help someone take the next right step.
So he focused on telling stories from his past that could help others. He pulled from his school days, from his few short years in the workforce. His goal was simply to get them from point A to point B, to help them take one more step.
People loved his honest, simple responses. In just a year, he was getting tens of millions of views for his answers.
What is obvious to you is amazing to others. You might think the answer is simple, but what is common sense to you could be an epiphany to another. And people will pay a lot of money for that epiphany.
When you’re building your high-ticket item, you don’t have to create the ultimate solution to life’s most complicated problems. You just have to get your clients from point A to point B.
For me, I started charging $1,000 for an online course that taught writers how to write great articles and make money from their work. Honestly, making the course was easy for me – I was just telling people what I already knew. I was able to put it together in just a few weeks. I’d spent years studying writing, and it didn’t seem that hard to explain what made a great headline, how to build a sales page, or craft a good email.
But to my clients, the information was incredible.
I remember one of my clients joking that “I needed to add a zero to my prices.” What was obvious to me was transforming his life, helping him earn money writing for the first time. He eventually quit his job and is now a full-time writer.
What are you doing every day that is so obvious, so natural to you, that you could write an entire book on the subject, make a whole online course, or give a keynote speech?
That’s your high-ticket item.
It’s not about solving all of someone’s problems, it’s about solving one big problem really well.
Just get them from point A to point B.
Developing mastery and raising your prices go hand-in-hand.
Amateurs consistently focus on the first sale. Part of that is natural – most entrepreneurs need to spend time gaining skills and experience before they’re able to command top prices in their field.
But once you gain enough experience, it’s time to shift to high-ticket items. If you’ve ever wondered how to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single month, it’s not by selling a million tiny items (unless you’re Walmart). It’s about selling a few high-ticket items, ones that allow you to scale and solve big problems for real people.
What is obvious to you can change someone else’s life. You don’t need to solve all their problems, just one problem really well.
If you do this long enough, you can add a zero (or two) to your prices. The moment you shift from low-ticket to high-ticket items, you transform from an amateur to a true professional.