Leaving Money on the Table

Spam is a hell of a way to make money– or so says my neighbour.

“I have a friend who sells Viagra online– makes over a million dollars a year,” he said to me a while ago, as I nodded in acknowledgement. “You could get into this business if you wanted to.” This was true, I guess.

The other day someone told me that my blog “had no business model.” In a sense, they were right. I’m not trying to get you to buy something on here, except maybe my credibility. This blog’s purpose is basically to help me build audience, which helps me sell books, and eventually to charge pretty decent sums for speaking fees, etc.. All are credibility buys to get to the top of the food chain.

But that’s not an excuse. I do leave money on the table. So do you.

A few weeks back a pretty well known speaker told me he was hanging out in Vegas with some affiliate marketers, and that after leaving the stage, they told him he’d “left over $100,000 on the table” by not selling the audience on something at the end of his speech. This was also true. I’ve been in the room during hard-sell talks that caused feeding frenzies. They work.

When you get into this space, you realize that because you’re speaking, writing, etc., you can basically insert a sales pitch anywhere. Some of these are classy, but many of them are not.

What money you choose to leave on the table says a lot about who you are. My friend Mitch has something called The Gladwell Test that he uses to decide for him, that goes “Would Malcolm Gladwell do this?” If you are a certain calibre of speaker/writer/blogger, then there are things you just won’t do.

Look, there is a lot of money to be made on the web these days. It’s everywhere, and if you can think about selling it, someone is already doing it somewhere. But if you are one of those hard-sell, squeeze page people, that is all you will ever be.

Delay monetization (or cancel it) as often as possible. Here, you will rise as high as the best work you do, but you will also fall as low as the worst tactics you’re capable of. Choose wisely.





11 responses to “Leaving Money on the Table”

  1. Jorgen Sundberg Avatar

    Good points Julien! Haven’t read much Gladwell but I try not to be salesy on my blog or when I speak as those tactics never work on me. I reckon it’s better to do great work and let customers come to you, not the other way around. Sure you’l leave a few hundred thousand on the table but if money is what you’re after there are plenty of easier ways (Viagra anyone?).

  2. @BillLampert Avatar


    A very thoughtful post. While we all would like to make a comfortable living being our own boss, sometimes it comes at a cost.

    Are you willing to sell-out just to make a quick buck? I would agree with you and Mitch (Joel?) that your credibility comes first. The money will follow – and your integrity remains intact.

  3. Charles H. Green Avatar

    He who never benefits from a relationship is a saint or a sucker.

    He who is always monetizing at every turn is a thief or a whore.

    The second mistake is by far the most common these days. We are surrounded by people seeking to turn long-term benefit into short-term bank deposits. You are right to remind us all that some wines are better left in the cellar to age, rather than being drunk young.

    Great post. Thank you.

  4. Ryan G Avatar

    Julien I will probably buy one of your books soon, b\c of this blog. What would you recommend for a first-time reader of your books? I have been following your blog for only a few months now. It’s refreshing b\c you aren’t always trying to sell me something or showcase your knowledge. Your blog is like an oasis for thought.

  5. Michael Bigger Avatar

    A classic. I like your style Julien.

  6. Marsha Collier Avatar

    Julien, you “know” I’m with you on this one! I’ve been operating this way for over 12 years, and guess what? It works. Not only is my work more fulfilling, but I never get the feeling I’ve taken advantage of someone.

    Gah! You’ve inspired me to blog (even though I’m on a deadline). I’ll be referring to this post on my blog tomorrow. 🙂

  7. Amy Canada Avatar

    Julien, Julien. For someone who made me laugh so hard with just one story, you are a awfully deep thinker. Like, Napoleon Hill deep. Thanks for sharing you.

  8. Conor Neill Avatar

    I love the Gladwell test 😉

  9. Eric Pratum Avatar

    Now, I’m not defending spam and the hard sell, but I have to believe that some of these people get started because they have to make some money just to get by, a few of them hit success, and then they get caught up in just making more and more right now, when they could really be building a genuine need, want, admiration, etc for someone that their audience could truthfully use…something that would be far more valuable to them tomorrow than today.

    Nonetheless, a certain type of person will have too much difficulty either planning for tomorrow’s transaction, doing the work it takes to get their, or just having faith that it will actually occur that they will not be able to keep themselves from making the sale today. I guess that’s one of the things that seemingly separates you from them though.

  10. Martyn Chamberlin... Avatar

    Hmmm interesting Julien. I think I’m beginning to understand your philosophy a bit more. In fact, I’ve read articles where people have blasted Chris Brogan for selling stuff on his blog. They say he’s not “one of us.” While they’re going to far, it makes good sense that we shouldn’t try to get people to crap bucks all the time. It goes for a smelly career.

  11. gregorylent Avatar

    it’s a free will planet, do what you want. or don’t do what you don’t want. no big deal either way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *