Business Model Evolution

business model

Today we’re taking a look at your business model, and whether it supports the lifestyle you want. Or not.

If you’re anything like me, you started your business without much of a business plan… and no idea what business models you’d be putting in place.

Maybe you looked around at other successful entrepreneurs and decided to price your offerings based on their prices and packages.

You might have seen other people doing product launches, having pay what you can sales, or creating monthly membership programs… and decided that if it was good enough for that well known entrepreneur, it was good enough for you.

But here’s the problem: you’re trying to build the inside of your business using the outside of someone else’s business.

Look At Your Business Model

Want the audio only version of this post?
Check out the podcast version here.

Under The Hood Of Other Businesses

What you might not know is the behind the scenes details of another person’s business model:

  1. That product launch has been 12 months in the making, and the business owner had dozens of heavy hitting affiliates on board… so they were able to sell thousands of spots for a lower price and make it profitable.
  2. The pay what you can sale might not be motivated by profit, but rather it’s a way to reach a bigger audience and support those who can’t afford the regularly priced offerings.
  3. The monthly membership model only works because that business has tens of thousands of subscribers, which can cover customer support costs and content creation costs.

And these are just examples of the misconceptions that happen when you try to emulate successful people’s business models… when you start to take business hints from peers or those who are just getting started, you might make even more mistakes.

The way I see it, every entrepreneur has a similar journey…

You start out as an employee and having 1 big client, to being a solopreneur where you have a few medium (high paying) clients. Once you’ve done that successfully, you can move into the true entrepreneurial realm and help more people at smaller price points.

The question becomes: how can you move from one side of the spectrum to the other and help more people by shifting your business model?

Shifting Your Business Model Over Time

It seems counterintuitive that you’d want to reduce your prices as you progress in business, but you need to charge more when you’re getting started because you have fewer clients and you can also provide more services to each one.

As your client roster fills up, you can then change the nature of your offerings away from 1-1 services to more leveraged products and programs. You don’t have to take this route, but if it suits the goals you’ve set for yourself, it’s a great way to increase your business’ growth potential.

This doesn’t mean that you lower your prices so much that you’re competing with Wal-Mart… you can still charge premium prices, but the more ways you can help more people, the more money you will make based on the value that you’re putting out there.

Think of Kindle books that cost just a few dollars, but can have mass appeal and sell really well.

As your business model continues to shift away from 1-1 services, you’ll notice that your business requires different things of you.

Instead of focusing on delivering your service, you’ll be focusing on expanding your reach to make more sales of your existing products. You’ll be putting systems in place, hiring people, and creating your next offerings.

What business model questions do you have?

Leave a comment below!


  1. Daiva Pakalne on August 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I love all of your videos, but I found it really hard to concentrate on what you say because the music is so loud. Is it just me or there is a setting somewhere I can mute it a little? Thanks, Daiva

    • Max on August 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      I agree. Partially that, partially noise from my air conditioner. Otherwise I really enjoyed this video.

  2. Tracy McMicking on August 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Nathalie,

    Great video… you were speaking to me directly! I have been a certified coach since 2009, had a small roster of clients for a while and then life took a turn and my business went on hold. I'm in Bschool and my new site and business model will launch this month or early September. What you described is exactly the path I am on and want to be on, coaching one on one until I have the steady income and enough insight from my clients to know what products and programs they need on mass. It is such a great reminder that we all need to start somewhere and that what we aspire to, what we see other successful people in our field achieving, is possible one authentic step at a time when we don't compare our inside to their outside!

  3. Siri Mera on August 7, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I’ve been freelancing and contracting for years. I had totally forgotten that I started those things to get more experience and make money to fuel my actual project goals, then I started working on my own and seriously undercharging, now I am very reluctant to charge what I am worth because I want to have customers and I don’t want to turn people down who are interested but can’t afford my rates. I’m also trying to use the skills that I enjoy the most, that help people the most and that cost me time and effort rather than money to put together for now. I decided to write, through emails, make videos and audios for now.

  4. Jennifer - JL Design on August 7, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Wow, how do you know what I am thinking? I have been doing the one-on-one business model for 14 years and have been trying to figure out how to make the move to a more wide format model. Thanks for the food for thought! Now if I can just decide which direction to go :)

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Yay Jennifer, glad this sparked something for you! :)

  5. Candace on August 7, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I, like Daiva, think it would help to have the music at a slightly lower volume, but that may just be the few versus the many.

    My business model has actually been in various stages of transformation these last 6 months or so. I’m still at the stage where I have to have a day job in addition to my biz while it’s building up, and I’ve realized that I have to find a better way to work. So I’m constantly looking at exactly what I do and what I spend time on, and how much I’m enjoying my interactions & the community aspect of things, as well as how effective those avenues are for me, and refining to make it as doable as possible while I’m still at my day job.

    Right now, I’ve created several digital training courses because I am at my day job about 30 hours a week, so that’s 30 hours I couldn’t spent working with clients. I’ve had marginal success with it, but not what I had hoped.

    I think, in reality, we’re all constantly ‘refining’ how we operate on some level, trying to see how to work more efficiently.

    I feel like I’ve hit my stride on refining the backend processes (for now), so in the next 12 months, my goal is on growing my audience and producing the best possible content I can in order to grow a true following.

  6. Heather Thorkelson on August 7, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Really love this video Nathalie because it puts business models into context. I think many people start out thinking "I'm going to create x business model" not realizing that that's something you have to *develop into*. Thanks for a great post!

  7. Caroline Frenette Intuitive Leadership Coach on August 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I really love working one on one with clients and I don’t see myself doing group courses.
    (Unless I host a Master Mind getaway somewhere warm and exotic a coup,e of times a year:)

    The power of intuitive leadership coaching comes from a one on one, uniquely crafted experience and a group experience wouldn’t be individually crafted…

    Right now group courses and online programs are all the rage, and I understand that they are one way of leveraging a business, but since this business model doesn’t work for me (it just doesn’t THRILL me), I’m curious & playful as to how I will leverage and evolve my own business model in the future.

  8. Nathalie Lussier on August 7, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks Heather Thorkelson! You're right, it's not necessarily something you can put into place on day one. :)

  9. Nathalie Lussier on August 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Absolutely Tracy! I'm so glad this spoke to you! Excited for your new site and seeing you put all the B-school goodness into action. :)

  10. Nathalie Lussier on August 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks for letting me know Daiva! We'll work on that for future videos. :)

  11. Daiva Pakalne on August 8, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Thank you, you are a star (or I have super big ears :))

  12. Karen Andrews on August 8, 2013 at 8:34 am

    It sounds like an amazing approach. I've been reading and listening to you for a year or so. It's almost too good to be true, but I see you doing it. Great role modeling for women entrepreneurs, you make internet marketing seem doable..

  13. Jane Copeland on August 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Love this Nathalie thank you!

  14. Southeasternfashiongroup Sefg on August 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Nathalie, That was a great video. Thanks!

  15. webly on August 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Well I will confess that I am one of the people that started everything about my business from looking at the outside of someone else’s. The result is that It didn’t produce the result that I envisioned, I spend more money as I start to implement not knowing it involved spending so much money and finally frustration will set in.
    The business model I am looking for is to take all my dreams (The end products) and work with someone to build them from the inside out capitalizing on my strengths and helping me find the best resources to leverage where my weaknesses are.

  16. Nathalie Lussier on August 16, 2013 at 12:44 am

    Aww thank you so much Karen! Your comment just made my day. :) It IS possible, and you can do it, too! :)

  17. Lina on August 20, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Nathalie, thank you for bringing this up because I think I’m “guilty” of looking too much at the outside of business models.

    I haven’t really chosen one yet, I’m finding it a bit tricky. I know what I want my “end result” to look like (VIP workshops in cool urban european cities for other artists/entrepreneurs). Not so sure how to get there though.

    Do you think it’s “necessary” to have 1-on-1 clients in the beginning?

    Love your work!

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 20, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Awesome Lina! I do think there’s a lot of value to having 1-1 clients in the beginning, it helps you get experience and testimonials, too! Workshops are great too, and you can get feedback live which is nice. Why not invite your 1-1 clients to your workshops? :)

  18. Martine Holston on August 29, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I'm a solo-preneur wanting to move to full-blown entrepreneur in the next year. I know I need to be a little patient – I only started my business in April! One of my challenges right now is being spread thing working on what I guess are different businesses – the one that I want to create, and the one (actually two) that are paying the bills, and figuring out how to distribute my time between these priorities.

  19. Martine Holston on August 29, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I'm a solo-preneur wanting to move to full-blown entrepreneur in the next year. I know I need to be a little patient – I only started my business in April! One of my challenges right now is being spread thing working on what I guess are different businesses – the one that I want to create, and the one (actually two) that are paying the bills, and figuring out how to distribute my time between these priorities.

  20. Laurima on August 31, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Thanks Nathalie, this is very insightful!

  21. Llyane @FrenchOnSkype on February 16, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Thank you, Nathalie!

    It helps so much to remember that I am on a path to develop a business, which can take a few years, and not expect everything from the current model!

    I have a business model that is a bit of a mix.

    I managed to create a program that people who use are thrilled and get fantastic results. This program is a mix of online product and 1-on-1 service, which I enjoy, and I think it fits my niche pretty nicely.

    I am spending most of my time to expand my reach and make sales for this program.

    What I want to build in the next few years is to shift this program into a one-year Master French Immersion and in the meantime to offer a slimmed-down group version for a smaller investment.

    Thanks for this brainstorming, Nathalie! :)
    ~ Llyane

  22. Sally on March 22, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Thank you – I just listened to the podcast version of this post. Love it! I’m about to launch my second business and plan to offer online courses (after a period of time building up a following). Do you think it’s a mistake to skip the 1-1 business model altogether? I plan to run courses in areas I have experience in.

  23. connie curtis on August 22, 2014 at 10:52 am

    This right where I am at. I did b school but got launch page up. Even though I am working on testing to make sure the emails are working. ugh they dont seem to be. I have a general idea that I did of one package but I will definitely look at creating what you spoke about. I know one -one is important in the beginning and I love doing it. I am taking the time to see where i need to get clarity so I can market and network. I know you do many workshops. I am looking for something around clarity to get my message clearer, marketing-online and off.. would any of your offerings help me out on these?

    Future website is Gluten and Food Allergy specialist.