It’s Not Your Content That’s Proprietary . . . It’s YOU

January 21, 2020

I’ve been working with a few solo professional services providers—all of them fit in the general category of coaches--who are worried. They think that other competitors are trolling them and stealing their content.

I’m sure they’re probably right.

However, in this age of Google search, cell phones which seem better at taking pictures and videos than making calls, and massive amounts of information available at your fingertips, I’m sorry:  it’s naïve to think that your content is special and proprietary.

These concerns aren’t well thought out, and these individuals I work with are spending too much time worried about the wrong thing.

Some of you I know just got your feelings hurt, or maybe you’re mad at me at this point. Some of you are objecting that you’re different (you’re not).

So, let me make it personal.

My work on value and pricing? Nothing proprietary about it at all. The concepts I teach, write about, present in workshops? It’s all out there, somewhere, on Google, in books, in presentations on Lynda, in research papers.

So why, then, are folks seemingly irrational enough to pay me good money for one on one coaching or to conduct a workshop on value and pricing? Why would they pay me when all that information is out there somewhere and they could go find it themselves?

They hire me because, to gather all that information, the studies, the books, the ideas and concepts would take years, literally.

I save folks a ton of time and a mountain of effort. They’ve got changes they need to make on their business today, and they need help today. They can’t wait forever to do all the work, the reading, and the research they would need to do. They don’t want to have to figure out what part of all that works for them and their business, and what doesn’t.

I get hired because I shortcut a client’s learning process significantly. and a lot of clients understand that time is money. (Some don’t, by the way, so they take the content I put out there and try to do it themselves. That’s ok, because they are the do-it-yourselfers that aren’t a good fit anyway.)

Beyond saving folks time and effort, there are other reasons I get hired.

Clients hire me because I’m able to explain hard to understand concepts with stories and metaphors which make those concepts come alive for them (So I’m told).

They engage me because I’m willing to listen to their problems and address them directly (So I’m told, but don’t all professional services providers do this? I guess not.)

They contract with me because I have a reputation for delivering much more value than the price they pay (so they tell me).

All those reasons I get hired? They are based in value others see in me, value which is intrinsic to ME and NOT my content, per se.

It’s the same if you’re a leadership coach, marketing or branding professional, business advisor, attorney, CPA, or in virtually any other professional services discipline:  there is nothing unique about your content.

What’s proprietary is your experience, and how you’re able to synthesize and deliver what you know. What’s special is your demeanor, or the way you deal with your best fit clients. What’s invaluable is how you deliver great value by guiding people through massive change in their personal life and in their business that brings them to a place they never thought possible.

The combination of all these elements is a little different for each of us, but each of us have a combination of tangibles and intangibles uniquely ours, a combination which appeals to a particular swath of clients.

What’s proprietary is not your content. What’s proprietary is YOU. Try as they might, a troll can’t copy YOU.

Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to believe that.


Photo by jose aljovin on Unsplash

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me:  I’m enthusiastic about how changes in pricing strategy can significantly change profitability for a business and enhance life choices for business owners. I live this passion through Ray Business Advisors, my outside CFO and business advisory practice, in which my pricing is exclusively value-based, not hourly. I work with business owners on how they can change their pricing not just to increase their profits, but better serve the wants of their customers. Click here to learn more or call me at 404-287-2627.


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