1- Don't line yourself up to serve a broke target market. DO line yourself up in service to one or more abundant ones.
Oh please trust me, I know how hard this one is for women. Sometimes guilt should be our middle name. We all have a group of people we would rather die than leave behind when they’re in crisis, because we feel like that was once us. But here too is the blunt cold hard truth you HAVE to hear if you’re serious about making it in business. You have to make a decision early on as to wether you want to run a business, or the type of work you want to do is actually more suited to delivery as part of a charitable organisational structure, where you actively seek funding for your cause, but track it in a totally different way to a business. Why? While you can have both aspects running at the same time, trust me, what you can't do is run your business like a charity and expect to still be in it in even 1-7 years time. Running it charging practically nothing Robin Hood style, is a prescription for broke, burnt out and the possibility of returning to that, or A job you were never really that into in the first place.
As beautiful as our ginormous desires to help the people we felt born to help are, not every group of potential clients is a viable match alone for running a successful business. Particularly not if that client group is in a dire state of poverty. To keep trying to serve them if they come can set you up to in the life boat with practically no supplies, with 500 people trying to climb in your almost empty of support resources boat. In real life terms, that means how are you going to pay your bills that need to be paid with actual money and feed you and those you love, if your clients can hardly pay you $20 for a product or service?
Key takeaway- you need to make a clear decision now. Are you going to run a charity? Can you afford to? Or are you going to run a business?
If it helps, know that you can always get your business up and running and then come back to the charity. Or (as my ex business partner and I once did) give a small percentage of every one of our event sales to one of our nominated charities that supports that client group) in the interim. Just not more than you're practically able to give right now.
You may also wish to:
-create an offering your clients can utilise independent of you that you sell to them very cheaply. And
-set up a referral process to free support resources for any clients who genuinely can’t afford your consultations or group programs.
But, don't market it as your main thing. Offer it as a down-sell instead if they can't pay for your highest level offering.
Now your energy is freed up to build a practice or business serving the people who CAN afford you.
Second take away- now pick an abundant target market or two that can afford you (and get over your sh#t about receiving their money.)
Remember, more than likely, whatever offerings you’ve created so far have applicability or could be easily modified to serve the needs of multiple different groups of other people too. You just now have to brainstorm who they might be. (And maybe get willing to take a little step outside your comfort zone of known and familiar/comfortable networks/colleagues/social circles to reach them).
Yay, just like the photos Marty and the Doc took of the past in Back to the Future, your life boat picture is already starting to fade...whoo hoo!
2- Get willing to ask for help. And the right kind of help, from the right kind of people.
One of the questions i ask my clients when we first chat and we go over further in my Business Coaching program is who is on their support team for them and their business? Do they have one? Hopefully after last week's blog, you got to thinking about it. But practically, have you thought about how many of these people or support resources you might need?
Key takeaway- it takes a village to raise a child and a village to raise a successful business person (and a Thoughtleader) and the support picture is a big factor in your success.
Answer all of those and now the picture is of a bigger boat, chock full of supplies, with a boat behind of extra supplies. You liking how this works?
3- Commit to staying in the game for the long term
Increasingly, we are living in the phenomenon of the disposal society now. Disposable, single portion plastic, disposable devices built to only last 1-2 years, seasonal, disposable fashion and customisable online and interior design. Disposable Netflix binge series’, disposable boyfriends and girlfriends…if anything goes wrong, hey you can just go shopping on Bumble or Tinder or Elite Singles and get another one. According in extensive research done by David and Jonah Stillman, Gen X at Work- How the Next Generation is transforming the workplace, this is the kind of psychology that is now impacting all of the tech savvy generations. The pace of life is dramatically faster, the speed of insight is dramatically faster, our attention is on the now and the entertainment industry has our attention on short term and immediate gratification, because everything from Facebook to Wii is designed to keep it there and focussed of the instant gratification of the next hit of dopamine we’ll get from something that shows up in there in the next 30 secs. Hence, FOMO is at an all time high, hence fear of commitment and making the wrong choice is at an all time high along with it.
This not only has huge implications for those of us designing services and products for our businesses, but it has a huge impact too on our psychology in staying IN a business long enough to get momentum.
To be straight with you, from my years of Coaching and Mentoring Wellness and Service Based Business Women, i think far too many women now consider quitting at the first sign of trouble. They got so excited about this first amazing offering they wanted to launch that was so close to their heart….but then no-one bought. Maybe a couple of people liked their posts about it. In this culture, most people tend to take this as a sign that they’ve done the wrong thing, that they’re not aligned or the universe must be punishing them in some way for having done something wrong somewhere in the process. That maybe nobody likes them or they’re not cut out for this and it's a sign that they should just quit. Our jobs as Business and Leadership Coaches for start up businesses see us hearing several of these conversations a week from our clients in various types of launches.
Does it truly mean any of these things? For the most part, dig a little deeper into the circumstantial evidence of what’s really going on and no, it is not the case. Maybe they weren’t clear enough who it was for and hence the the ad copy missed the mark, maybe they talked about a problem the therapist would know was the problem but the client wouldn’t know was the real underlying cause (and hence the clients wouldn’t think the offering was for them and would've scrolled straight past it), maybe they did an organic Facebook post and organic personal posts with business words don’t get reach now in peoples personal feed, hence no-one liked it, maybe they’re exhausted or in crises this week and don’t actually HAVE any internal bandwidth left to take on board 10 extra clients and yes maybe they have any number of mindset blocks to success and receiving what they truly want. There can be a thousand different causes and yet not one of them means necessarily that you should give up and quit. This game takes a whole lot of patience, determination, resilience, the willingness to open up and be seen and to fall down and get back up, in front of ALOT of people, over and over until you get it right. Some people get it right faster than others. Some people have a Midas touch seemingly in one area and then have to build themselves up in another to balance out the whole business success picture.
But the point is, you have to be willing to commit to consistently staying IN the process for the long term, while you practice (a bit like how the NASA technicians and astronauts described their jobs in the movie The Martian) asking for help, thinking quick and engineering often highly inventive and ingenious solutions on the fly while you’re already IN a moving vehicle, to not only get your stuff out there, but manage all the short term financial and life challenges that still happen along the way at all levels while you’re doing it, until such time that you have enough perpetual motion going that it starts to feel more like riding a moving vehicle, than pushing a stationary one up and out of the atmosphere. But even then, it’s never easy, the challenges level up and you STILL have to keep adding fuel over the long term….in consistent and continual marketing, in touch points, in continuing to consistently deliver, to a crowd who now already know, like and trust you, in managing more and more people and functions (and handing over management of more and more non essential to your work ones) as your business continues to grow. And more than anything else maintaining commitment to work life balance and the people who love you most and you care about most who support you along the ride, that are often part of our big WHY for nailing this in the first place.
Key takeaway: You have to decide to 110% commit to this journey and remind yourself often why you got into it in the first place. Stay connected to your deepest, soulful calling and it will compel you to stay in for the ride, threw the rainbows and sunshine and the rain.
I’ve always said to people that nothing is ever impossible, no matter what background you’ve started from. Success is actually inevitable, if you’re willing to stay in the game and keep growing long enough to achieve it. If you want it bad enough, there’ll always be a way.
Nat talks about Self Expression, Heart Centred Communication and Lifestyle for Leaders.