I am a Network Creator who has achieved some pretty phenomenal things through my Network developments. I have been able to successfully link our original platform to the largest Ning network online Thisis50 .com , as well as earned brand recognition and placement with major industry players. In the recent 3 months have launched a new network that could potentially be as large or larger than Thisis50 a few years down the line. The only problem.
I have yet to receive a single penny or real compensation for all of my work as a NC and designer (strictly out of working for the love and passion). Now I am in a position with real corporate entities who are consulting me for quotes and proposals of what I can deliver their brand or organization. However, I have no previous or prior models for determining a compensation formula. Also, in the process of Network creation, is like raising a baby, there is the issue around control and turning over the rights and or Creator network access, etc. I don’t want to turn over immediate compensation for long term revenue /equity.
Ning seems relatively new and a lot of companies I have talked with don’t design or develop “Ning” networks for whatever reason. So how do I find companies that specialize in Network Creation and organization mobilization from the standpoint of all the work entailed across the board? Are there any professional designers/Network Creators here who have experience presenting time tested proposals and closed accounts with corporate or other business entities for the development of said network?
Any advises, please I would love your suggestions/ feedback.
If you're talking about generating advertising revenue, that's what I do with my network. There are "standards" in the advertising industry depending on which industry you're in. I'm in the insurance industry. I simply looked at what others charged for advertising and adjusted the rates to match the number of members.
The easiest deals to close - and the ones that'll be pitched to you most often will be affiliate arrangements. You get "X" dollars when someone from your network buys their product or service. While people I know make a lot off these kind arrangements, they're not for me. No real transparency. I'm a cash on the barrel head kind of guy.
Well there are two ways you could go :
1. Setting up and managing client networks for them - make their lives easy. They come to you with requirements to promote what they offer, and you set up the network to do that. Could be a fixed fee + commission performance arrangement. They don't need any in-house Ning expertise, you do all that.
2. Charge for placing banner advertising and sponsorship on the networks you own and operate (your own 'labels'). You offer to get the traffic that advertisers want to see their products and services.
You'll likely need to target two different types of client for each of the above services.
The truth about it is the rules have yet to be written! You might check with Ning's certified partner directory for the info you are looking for, although the last creator I spoke to who tried said they were all but innaccessible. I think you might also take a closer look into Glam Media and specifically what they are doing with some network creators. For your concept, you should probably be having some direct conversations with Glam and Ning.
In the absence of formulae, I suggest you look within. I mean, you might go and shop some branding/ marketing agencies out there to get an idea of your competition, but you've got some unique factors to consider. I think first off you have to think about the relationships you've established. Depending on where you stand with these people, and how much they are willing to work with you on your own project and prospective projects, you might have assets in play that money cannot really buy and that justify a high rate calculation. It's something you have to be careful about for a lot of reasons I'm sure you know. However, if it is something that you would use for the benefit of your prospective clients, then it deserves to be factored in. Doctors, for example, factor in their schooling and experience as intellectual property, often charging a lot more for simple procedures than what say physician assistants or nurse practictioners do. I've seen media companies doing the same things as they talk about their distribution and media buying capabilities.
Second off is what is going to do it for you. You've got to find a number that's going to keep you happy, is realistic to sustain your business model & deliverables, and makes all your time, effort, and energy applied worth your while. Perhaps being on your own and not having the waste of overhead that brick & mortar agencies do with all their staff etc, gives you an opportunity for pricing advantage. There's also the idea that if you start small and continue to develop a portfolio of results, increasing brand recognition, etc, that you can always up your ante in bids later. Good to keep it low in the beginning, because outcomes are not gauranteed, right? Once you've proven the worth, the metrics are going to be there for you to make your argument, and the connections you make are going to lead to more business if that's what you want.
So I'm guessing you just need to come up with something that's going to work for you and let the cards fall where they will. Another approach when you don't have a baseline-either an industry standard or from your own established data- is to see what happens when you let the market dictate price. Again, you just need to know your constraints, i.e. what it's going to cost you vs. the minimum margin you're willing to do it for, and basically you can keep that information to yourself and put it to your prospects to make an offer. If it's too low then you can either decline or come up with a counter offer to negotiate either right to your minimum or a little higher if you expect they may try to drive you down another round of negotiation. I don't know if this option is even available to you, but if it is can help you get more than you might have asked going in blind without necessarily losing face.
Hope that helps!
Hey i appreciate your clever reply and opening. I think you gave some really good well thought out advice. thanks again, i’m still trying to figure all of this out.
You might also factor in opportunity cost. Your network, as you suggested, might be poised to be huge. That alone probably constitues opportunities for serious money. Let's say it's a work of passion and is effective in mobilizing your brand/ organization to that effect. Maybe you haven't put enough work into developing a business model to convert profit from that action. Vice versa, these companies RFP you with the assumption their business models would benefit from that type of action.
So what I'm suggesting is you might want to consider actually not taking on those projects even though there's opportunity for you to make money there. Your time and energy might be better invested to seeing your project through to its potential. A small project with maybe 5K members might not be much of a business, but if you're working with a mainstream market subject matter, then 500K members like T-50 may not be out of the question- that's a lot of potential to leverage if done right.
Check it out...my original niche is a very narrow personalized passion about playing pro soccer. Now I have big vision on soccer industry, it's one of those bar graph projections for investors that goes from low hundred millions to billions, but those are also probably indicative of my chances breaking through! I'd have to have a miracle encounter with the right people to have that conversation with- and it's just never going to happen in this lifetime from where I'm sitting at right now. It's a quantum leap A to Z, but what I can do is shoot for A to B and maybe I start scratching the surface on those opportunities.
So what I did was broaden my niche to something less personal that can be more of a value to more people. The soccer thing is now positioned as an unassuming sub-component, more accurate as to how the broader niche would perceive it, but now I can have a basis for getting it exposed to that 1 in a million demographic.
Perhaps theres some relation to your situation. You've got a niche that can gain a lot of traction. However, you might need more means to get to those ends. Contracting out your services on unrelated projects might be low hanging fruit, but if you could find a way to incorporate those projects to support your own more directly it could be more of a win-win. So right now these peices of the puzzle are out there, and maybe those guys have their own narrow vision. It might be a case of not asking the right questions.
In my case, I've defined the scope to a specific end of playing pro soccer. The business and consulting are all means to that end, so I've made sure not to position myself in a way that will overcommit or over-ectend and cost me that opportunity. For example, I thought a lot about offering turn-key network building & administration, but I realized that would be way too time consuming. So instead, I shaped what I offer as "consultation". I don't do it for people, but I can advise them on what they should do, provide guidance as a specialist on retainer, but more importantly have developed my network as a proprietary solution so they wouldn't even have to. I first aim to offer them to be a part of what I'm already putting my time into, and the consultation is to leverage those mutally beneficial advantages first. Then, if they need more room to do their own networks, I can extend the same activity over to their projects while preserving my autonomy to put primary focus on my goals.
Yeah, probably too ambiguous to make sense I guess. Simpler analogy might be you want to sell a music artist, then open a music store. If you want to open a music store, then why not open a popular culture mall & partner up with other industry related companies. Hmmm...there you go!
Great advice that is very interesting.
Just a follow up. Was wondering how your business was going. What do you think of Ning | Glam Social's new re-imagining announced over a month ago? Will the discontinuation of the hosted music player affect you? Overall, do you think the new direction will be good for your business interests?