To the untrained eye, Louis C.K.. might just look like a balding, hilarious comedian with a T.V show on FX. But when you look a little closer, you’ll see that Louis is actually one of the smartest entrepreneurs of our time.
Sure, he might not have the financial success of a Mark Cuban, or the flashiness of a Diddy (nine times out of ten he’s wearing a t-shirt and jeans), but Louis C.K.. deserves to be mentioned among those names when it comes to his business moves and the way he has built his brand from scratch.
So what exactly does Louis do so well that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t? What separates him from other popular faces that get featured on the cover of business magazines? What can entrepreneurs learn from a comedian?
1: Create a quality product
First and foremost, you need to have a quality product. If you’re selling garbage, your business won’t last very long, and your brand will go right down the toilet.
Louis has been able to become one of the top comedians because he’s funny. But the quality he offers extends beyond just being hilarious. Every aspect of Louis’ business from the actual standup shows to his T.V show and even his downloadable audio/video comedy specials are top notch.
When it comes to the videos he sells on his website, he even goes as far as offering them in HD and standard quality. He could have easily just offered the standard quality, but going the extra notch to shoot in HD so that people feel like they’re getting their money’s worth shows his commitment to quality.
To translate this into your business, make sure that you’re offering customers the very best quality possible. Despite what some people may think, consumers do care about quality and they’re willing to pay for it. Start thinking about how you can offer more value to your customer, instead of strictly focusing on the bottom line.
2: You don’t need to be greedy
Louis could have easily gone the same route of a lot of other comedians and charged $20 to buy his stand-up specials. But what did he do instead? He sells digital versions of them on his site for just $5.
By not focusing solely on getting as much as humanly possible from each sale, Louis is able to reach a wider audience. He priced his product at a point that he’s able to make a profit, and people are able to afford it. The low price point also helps discourage some people from getting his movies from torrent sites.
The lesson you should take here is that when pricing your product, don’t just think about how much you can get out of it. Think about your consumers and getting your product out to as many people as you can. Making money is definitely an important part of being an entrepreneur, but Louis is proving that you can strike a balance between making money and satisfying the consumer.
3: Connect with your audience/customers
This is probably the most important part of what makes Louis C.K. such a great inspiration for entrepreneurs. Louis has built such a strong connection with his fans that they do a lot of marketing for him. A lot of people find out about Louis because a friend told them about his show or a stand-up special they saw him in.
But why do his fans feel so obligated to help promote him? Because Louis is extremely transparent and honest with his customers, and speaks directly to them. Just take a look at the message he wrote on his website on his checkout page:
“Look, I don’t really get the whole “torrent” thing. I don’t know enough about it to judge either way. But I’d just like you to consider this: I made these files extremely easy to use against well-informed advice. I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without “corporate” restrictions.”
How many companies do you see that are this straight forward with their customers?
So often, businesses make the mistake of building a wall between themselves and their customers. Louis proves that by completely demolishing that wall, you can build a strong connection with your audience and they will be willing to spread the word about your products.
4: Be a hands-on entrepreneur
Louis is completely hands on with everything he does. One of the most publicized facts about his growth and come-up is that he basically built everything from the ground up. He funds the production of his movies, edits video, he put the website up himself, and of course comes up with his own material.
Does this mean that you have to go out and do everything yourself? Of course not. But the point is that Louis didn’t just pay a bunch of people to handle every aspect of his business without having any input or knowledge of what was going on.
If you’re outsourcing your social media, SEO, customer service, and other crucial parts of your business without a clue of what’s actually going on, you’re setting yourself up for a world of trouble. Even though you’re paying people to do the job, ultimately you’re the one responsible for your company and how your brand is represented.
You’ve more than likely heard the acronym before, but K.I.S.S stands for “keep it simple stupid”. And that’s definitely something that Louis does very well. Let’s take a look at the Louis C.K.. website. The layout is clean and straight forward. His product/CTA is right on the front page, social sharing buttons are at the bottom, and the menu isn’t cluttered.
He goes a step further by making the checkout process extremely basic as he explains in the message I quoted earlier. You just pay for the movie with PayPal or Amazon, and you’re redirected to the page to download your video or audio. There aren’t 10 pages of upsells, you don’t have to check your email to get a link, or any other steps to complicate the checkout process.
So basically, he gives the customer exactly what they came for. When it comes to digital products in particular, this isn’t something you see a lot, but simplicity is becoming a growing trend.
The folks at Mortified Cow took a similar K.I.S.S approach with the free eBook they give away as a part of their content marketing strategy. Instead of taking the popular route of having visitors submit their email and confirm their subscription to get their download, they reversed the process and let you download the book with one click and then enter your email afterwards if you like.
Think about different ways you can simplify your business whether it’s via your website, content, or checkout process.
The best part about Louis C.K..’s “business savvy” is that he doesn’t necessarily think from a typical business point of view.
Some companies spend millions of dollars trying to craft marketing plans and strategies to be successful. Meanwhile, Louis just does what feels right and makes sense, and so far it’s worked out great. Start looking at your business differently, and see what aspects of Louis C.K.’s model can work for you.
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