How To Bob Dylan Your Authority Business

  • Category: Fees + RevenueRunning Your Business

You may have heard that songwriting legend Bob Dylan sold his portfolio for a rumored $300 million.

What did Universal Music get for their money? Royalties and licensing fees every time a song he wrote is streamed, broadcast, sold, used in films or commercials, etc.

And it doesn’t matter who performs them—in fact one of the attractions of the Dylan deal is that his songs have been recorded over 6,000 times. Which means revenue every single time one of those gets played or sold (talk about leverage).

That dwarfs the value of his income as a performing artist

But let’s say you’re not a songwriter—or a cultural icon.

You can still monetize the value you create in your authority business—whether that’s revenue right now, building a valuable asset you can sell later or better still like Dylan, both.

We all know how to sell our time—and what happens when we bump up against the limits of billing hourly.

So you’ve probably already turned your expertise into at least one income stream that you can decouple from your time—like say outcome-based retainers or value pricing your transformational engagements.

And that might be enough—depending on your business model and client base—to keep you happy, productive and pulling down six, seven or even eight figures.

The question is, can you pull a Dylan and then SELL when you’re ready to step down or move into your next chapter?

Let’s start with this: the more your actual presence is required for the buyer to pull full value from the asset, the less it’s worth.

Leverage—of one sort or another—is how you’ll get the most from your business when you go to sell it. (Read this for a more detailed dive into using leverage in your business.)

That’s why if you want to sell say your marketing consulting firm, you’ll need to demonstrate how relinquishing your role won’t send earnings into a free fall.

Top price: You built a leveraged model with a staff, market authority and a well-oiled client pipeline that doesn’t 100% depend on you (with bonus points if it isn’t your name on the door).

Mid price: You’ve built leverage—whether through market authority, systems or employees—but your pipeline is either all on you or spotty.

Note: in this case, your best buyer will be someone who has a highly functioning sales machine but needs your “product”. This is also where you as a solo authority may choose to align with a larger firm who buys your business to “own” your voice.

No or low price: Little or no content, market authority, replicable systems or consistent pipeline.

Of course not everyone is interested in building assets for sale—but if you want to extract maximum value from your business, it pays to keep an eye on how you’re building it.

The beauty of Dylan’s catalogue is that since it is robust and fully stand-alone (no intervention from him required), he could fetch a handsome price.

Just think on that as you decide where to invest your energy.