Much of what we talk about when we talk about building a platform is free for your audience. Of course, even the free resources aren’t “free” for you. It takes time. Your platform is an investment.
Isn’t it fair to expect a return on your investment?
Is Making Money Taking Advantage of People?
When our founder, Michael Hyatt, first started building his platform, he never considered monetizing. As his reach expanded, he incurred costs so he joined the Amazon Affiliate program and sold a few ads on the site.
Yet, Michael felt weird about it at first. Maybe you can relate. To build a platform, you are effectively asking people to give you their attention. It is this attention that builds the platform. In a way, by simply following along, your audience is doing enough, right?
Do you really need to take their money, too?
Taking is the wrong word. Markets work on exchange, and both parties stand to gain from the transaction. Michael realized he wasn’t taking. He was contributing value in the form of beneficial content and connecting readers with products that could address their needs and problems.
That’s a win-win. It is this give and take dynamic that led to Platform University and Michael Hyatt & Company (and you reading this post). And it is this exchange of value that will allow your platform to grow into something you can stand on professionally.
These are three of our favorite reasons why you should consider monetizing your platform:
1. Monetization is Good for You
Even if you are uncomfortable with selling or charging for your services, you probably like money. 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 overcome challenges and 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.
How can you monetize your platform? Five common ways include:
- Affiliate sales
- Advertising and sponsorships
- Selling your own services
- Selling your own products
- Enrolling affiliates
Try Platform University!Want to give Platform University (your one-stop shop for building an online audience) a spin? Get your first week of Platform University for just $1. Cancel anytime. Try Platform University for Just $1
2. Monetization is Good for Your Audience.
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. When we “comp” people into our courses and conferences, 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. 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.
What we see with regards to individual customers compounds far beyond what you thought possible. Successfully monetized platforms have helped people start businesses, write best-selling books, get healthy, achieve financial freedom, 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. 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 whenever we do.