Entrepreneur: Melanie Benson

Biz: Authority Amplifier 

Tilt: Coaching expert entrepreneurs   

Primary Channels:  Website, Amplify Your Success podcast

Other Channels:  Twitter (19.7K), YouTube (462), Instagram (4.3K), LinkedIn (2.9K), Facebook (6.2K)

Time to First Dollar: Slow to gain new clients, Melanie realized she needed to position herself, so clients saw her as an expert. She opted to put herself in a leadership position every month in her existing networking group. “And that is where a lot of my first clients came,” she says.

Rev Streams: On-demand courses, downloadable toolkits, group programs, occasional sponsored podcast episode

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Build connections: Even before she presented on the stage, Melanie had built a following (not on social media), so audience members knew what she was about before she took the microphone.
  • Pivot quickly: A video-produced podcast became too cumbersome to create, so a year later, Melanie opted for an audio-only version.
  • Offer content products with multiple price points: Her free podcast and $100/$200 courses give a reasonable entry point for potential customers who will eventually seek her higher-priced products.

The Story of Melanie Benson

Early on in her content career, on the way to a speaking engagement, Melanie Benson came off the elevator and into the physical world of a woman who exclaimed: “Oh my god, are you Melanie Benson?” 

It was a first for Melanie, who was building her coaching business – teleseminars, CDs sent by mail, and in-person presentations – at the time. It also proved to be an important lesson in her now decades-long content career.

That ability to connect before you ever stepped on stage and build a rapport that made people want to hear more from you and about your topic was a foreign feeling at the time, she says.

With that feeling normalized in her business, Melanie continues to identify ways to build connections — websites, podcasts, and online courses, among them. Melanie also has shifted the business to follow the trends as she’s discovered her own passions. She can’t imagine doing anything else. 

“I am born for this work,” she says. “And, it has, at times, been really hard and not fun. And the times when it got really hard and not fun is when I got out of alignment with my superpower and tried to do what I thought would work instead of doing what I was born to do.” 

Podcasts and sand pails

Working in the corporate world in the late 1990s, Melanie quickly realized she didn’t belong. She discovered her passion for coaching after participating in a Stephen Covey program through her job.

From the beginning, Melanie focused her content strategy on building connections as she grew her client base. At a mentor’s suggestion, she created an email list early in the business.

Early in her business, @MelCoach followed the advice of a mentor to create an email list to grow her client base. #ContentEntrepreneur #CreatorEconomy Share on X

When she performed speaking engagements, She also sold her workbooks and CDs for the audience to take home. The price tags ranged between $200 and $2K, with a percentage of sales going to the event host.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The Great Recession (2007-2009) hit her business hard and forced a four- to five-year brand shift that took her from a highly paid, in-demand speaker to feeling invisible, she says. 

She knew she needed the right message. Over time, she ultimately landed on a pitch that resonated with her the most — helping clients grow by developing visibility strategies, such as collaborations with other partners. Her online course, for example, teaches people how to become guests on other people’s podcasts to boost their businesses.

“What I found my superpower to be is I have this innate ability to turn connections into collaboration partners, which turns into profitable visibility,” Melanie says.

She also wanted a content strategy that didn’t require spending her life on the road. She wanted to find a way to reach new audiences and open up collaboration opportunities with other influencers in her space. She found the solution in the creation of a podcast, a medium that allows her to build rapport with potential customers, constantly demonstrate her expertise, and connect with others in the industry.

.@MelCoach's superpower? Turn connections into collaboration partners, which turn into profitable visibility. #Contentbusiness Share on X

It launched in 2010, but the video-based production required too many resources to maintain. Amplify Your Success launched about a year later. “And that has just been on fire ever since,” Melanie says. “We’ve ended up in the top 1.5% by simply being very strategic about how we build listeners and build a relationship with our audience.” 

Today, Melanie’s revenue comes from a variety of sources – on-demand courses, downloadable toolkits, group programs, and sometimes sponsored podcast episodes.

“I like to call it the sand-pail approach to revenue distribution,” she says. Offering products with varying price points allows her to rely on more than one revenue stream. And just like those CD sets sent by mail early in the business led her to grow her client base, her free podcast or couple-hundred-dollar course introduces her to prospective customers who could one day plunk down much more for coaching.

“The types of clients that I’m working with, sometimes you need to build a relationship with them at a lower-risk starting point,” she says. “And some people are ready to drop right into the top.”

Advice for content entrepreneurs

Melanie shares these tips for early-stage content entrepreneurs:

Get clarity

Identify the problem your content solves and understand the value of that solution to your ideal client. For Melanie, her ideal client isn’t any entrepreneur but somebody with an established business who still thinks they’re a best-kept secret. “The more clarity you have, the easier it is to design offerings that are irresistible and sell quickly,” she says.

The more clarity you have about your ideal client, the easier it is to design irresistible offerings that sell quickly, says @MelCoach. #CreatorEconomy Share on X

Be consistently visible

Content creation isn’t a one-and-done game. “You need to have the ability to share your message and be consistently visible,” Melanie says. “Oftentimes, people are so busy just in the minutia they’re not making time to be out in front of their ideal audience. They’re not investing in visibility and exposure, and so their ideal clients don’t see them.”

Get in the right mindset

Content entrepreneurship is scary. It’s common for people to be paralyzed by their fears or limitations, Melanie says. “When you dissolve those things, and you are willing to take bold action, and you’re willing to put yourself out there, even if it’s imperfect, the more you get all the things that you want.”

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About the author

Sarah Lindenfeld Hall is a longtime journalist, freelance writer, and founding editor of two popular parenting websites in North Carolina. She frequently writes about parenting, aging, education, business management, and interesting people doing remarkable things.