6 Money Myths That Are Tanking Your ResultsJan 25, 2017
If you have visions to start or grow your own consulting business, you have first hand experience with those annoying and debilitating money fears. Money fears are those voices in your head that sound reasonable but are actually sabotaging your future success. The money fears say things like:
- "I know you want to start your own business, but who are you kidding? The kids are in college, you don't have enough money in the bank. It's best to wait..."
- "Sure the life of an entrepreneur sounds exciting and boy wouldn't we love the flexible lifestyle. But seriously, we got bills. How in the world will this business EVER earn as much as what you are making now?"
- "Make money doing what you love? Really? Let's live in the real world, okay?"
Your money concerns are not crazy. They make sense because when you run your own business you give up a steady paycheck for the variable income that comes with entrepreneuership. They make sense when there are too many people who give up on their visions of business ownership and return to a typical job.
However, money fears unchecked turn into myths about consulting business development that sound reasonable but actually get in the way of SUSTAINABLE success. In my experience of running my own consulting business and mentoring others to do the same, I have found six myths that are actually the reason why too many people give up their consulting dreams.
I'm going to debunk these myths for you and show you how to replace them with my secrets for a building a sustainable profitable consulting business. I am going to show you how to replace your money fears with confidence that you have what it takes (and have a plan) for making your dreams a lived reality.
MYTH #1: In order to make the leap into consulting, the one thing you need is a lot of seed money and financial cushion.
Most people feel that in order to start their own business, they need a lot of money RIGHT NOW in the bank to live on (in case they don't make money right away) and to invest in initial marketing.
The truth is there is no correlation between having seed money and long-term success as a business owner. In fact, focusing on that cushion can work against success as the right business investments such as in mentors and other specialized support are avoided because of fear of losing that cushion.
>> SECRET #1: In order to make the leap into a sustainably profitable consulting, the one thing you need is COMMITMENT.
Having money in the bank can feel comforting, the real thing you need is a commitment to your own success. You have to set up your business in such a way that you are burning your emotional bridges to a "Plan B" and that THIS business CAN and WILL BE successful. When you have that mindset you:
- Invest properly in the business - you hire the right support to help you MAXIMIZE your time and money.
- Set up your foundation - your website, email marketing and all of the other pieces of your business - to withstand and support success.
- Cultivate your language when you market and sell yourself to your future clients that you are the REAL DEAL and that you are committed to THEM through the commitment to your business.
When I launched my own consulting business officially in 2010, I had just come through a divorce and was a single mom. I had $300 in the bank but I was committed to making my business work (and NEVER returning to corporate as an employee EVER again.) Within the first month, I landed my first 5-figure consulting job. Within the first year, I landed my first 6-figure consulting job. While I have other secrets to share with you that helped me towards that end, it all began with one thing. I was committed to my business.
MYTH #2: When launching your business, you always have to remember consulting is primarily a marketing business.
True. Every new entrepeneur has to learn how to market and sell themselves in order to attract a steady stream of clients. But lots of people don't like marketing as it feels sticky to them. And as a result, they experience what I call "marketing avoidance" or "marketing paralysis" because they never want to become one of those slick sales people with gimmicks and schticks.
>> SECRET #2: When launching your business, you always have to remember consulting is primarily a SERVICE business.
Marketing when done right is simply a way to serve your ideal client before financial consideration is taken into account. If you want to get over the marketing mindset traps, start with this simple exercise. Instead of thinking of all the things you do and the ways you can make a difference, think about your ideal client. Think about that person whose needs motivate you to action, regardless if you get paid of not.
You got them in your mind?
Now, think about your ideal clients in full color and connect with their frustrations, challenges and pain points. Feel your passion starting to stir. If you had a friend who had these challenges, you'd be ready to help. Marketing is simply the process to get you and your expertise in front of those people who have these challenges too. You just haven't met them...yet.
Marketing is not about self-promotion. It is about service. Once you see marketing in that light, you will not avoid it because you are starting YOU make a difference. And that difference begins with the social media posts that provide real value to someone with the needs you care about. It begins with the motivational speech and the articles that provide tangible insight and guidance. It begins with asking people you know for referrals to those who have the needs that you care about.
When you see marketing as service, it changes your results. You learn to speak the language of your ideal client and connect with both their heads and their hearts and make them feel that you get them and you care. They will want to take the next step with you because who doesn't love being seen? Your authentic marketing does that for them. It's a powerful act of meaningful service.
MYTH #3: The best way to make great money consulting is all about pricing strategies.
There are several different ways you can price your consulting services. You can charge by the hour or day, you can create flat or projects rates, you can offer retainers or you can offer a version of value-based pricing where your compensation is tied to your client's business results. Many consulting mentors will tell you that choosing the right pricing model is the key that unlocks the big money door.
While it is true that value-based pricing removes the cap that hourly/daily pricing creates, it is not the whole story of what it takes to generate sustainable and equitable income consulting. It doesn't give you the platform to set yourself up for maximum contribution that warrants maximum compensation. And it doesn't assuage the anxiety that both new and seasonsed consultants experience when it comes to ensuring that their fees align with their strong values around integrity and ethics.
>> SECRET #3: The best way to make great money consulting is all about POSITIONING strategies.
To make great money consulting, you need two things. You need to know how to position yourself and your expertise as a strategic business partner against business performance gaps AND have a wide toolbox of consulting solutions that you can leverage to bridge those performance gaps. The contracting conversation that you have with your future clients is not something you have to get through into order to start consulting. It IS the work and what takes place in your initial partnership setup conversations determines if you are a merely a "pair of hands" delivering a single tactic or an essential "peer to peer partner" that is empowering business goal achievement.
I wasn't able to land those large consulting contracts simply because I did a good job with marketing and because I had many alternative pricing strategies at my disposal. It was because I have many consulting solutions in my toolbox that I knew I could leverage to help my clients not just with what they wanted...but what they needed. I was able to communicate the value of my partnership and make sure that they knew I was not an expense to be managed but an investment that would generate a return.
To make great money consulting, you don't need to get bolder and bolder with asking for large fees and using vague formulas to justify them. You only need to learn how to approach your contracting conversations as partnership set up conversations and expand the ways that you can deliver results to your clients. That's it.
MYTH #4: To become a thought leader you need a commercially published book
Once upon a time, having a commercially published book was the gold standard when it came to credibility. But nowadays in our global, web-based market, it is not a necessity or even a door opener that it once was. Sure there are people you can point to who have dominated their fields due to their books. But there are plenty of others who have achieved thought leader status - with or without the book.
>> SECRET #4: To become a thought leader, you need a strategic content, digital marketing strategy (that may include a commercially published book)
One of the fastest growing strategies for making connections with potential clients across the globe is webinars and virtual courses. These formats enable consultants to offer value at a differing price points which enables client relationship building with brand new leads. In contrast to the single book, content and digital marketing expands your reach and enables you to streamline and tailor messages to the felt needs of your clients and their starting points.
Thought leadership isn't about reputation. It is about access. It is about leveraging your expertise to create the most impact to your current clients and your future clients.
MYTH #5: Enjoying the good life as a consultant is measured by status symbols
When I hit the $300,000 mark with my business, I was in a community that encouraged me to double my revenue the following year. As I pursued my money goals, I found myself more and more burnt out. The more money I made, the unhappier I was.
It took an experience of total depletion for me to evaluate what the heck was going on. And what I realized is that I was way off track with why I started my consulting business. Sure I wanted to no cap to my earning potential and yes I wanted to take my kids on great vacations and enhance my home but that wasn't it. I could have stayed at Disney if I simply wanted to make more money.
I started my own business because I had a 2 year old about to turn 3 and I could not miss out while I was working those 70-hour workweeks. I wanted to be more PRESENT to my own life.
My re-evaluation is what led me to create the Consultant's Institute because I wanted to increase my income...without necessarily increasing my labor intensity and living on planes away from home and being there for my kids.
>> SECRET #5: Enjoying the good life as a consultant is measured by purpose.
There is a reason that you want to start or grow your consulting practice. While on the surface it may be about money, my guess there's more there. Maybe you want autonomy to do things your way. Maybe you want to get involved in missional and global outreach as an integral part of your job. Or maybe you simply want more life/balance to achieve personal goals like I did which was to be a great mom in addition to being a successful consultant.
To experience life balance achievement, you have to always remember why you are doing this, why you want to pursue success in this manner. Chasing dollars will only satisfy for the short-term. Remind yourself: What is YOUR intention for your consulting practice? And get accountability to ensure that you are living that intention, not just achieving your aggressive financial goals.
MYTH #6: Solo consulting is a solo venture.
The hardest part of leaving your job isn't your steady paycheck. It's your steady commaraderie with your colleagues and friends. It's the water cooler conversations, team brainstorming and lunches in the office caferteria that you will miss. It's the isolation that leads many to quit because they are just so unbelievably lonely.
>> SECRET #6: Solo consulting doesn't have to be a solo venture.
You really don't have to go it alone, even if it feels this way. Every great adventure requires the fellowship of others who are on the same journey. In fact, no one achieves greatness without it. Would Luke Skywalker ever become a Jedi Knight without Leia, Han and Obi-Wan? Would Dorothy have found her way home without Scarecrow, Tinman and the Lion?
When you are building your support team, include:
- Mentors: People who have "been there and done that" and can give you the roadmap, support and encouragement. Look for mentors who in addition to giving your expert guidance also empower your confidence to OWN your worth and feel good about yourself and potential.
- Coaches: People who can help you uncover and remove your inner roadblocks to success. Look for people who can challenge you when you are avoiding or sabotaging your own success.
- Community: Be with others who can lift you up AND brainstorm with you. Learn from people who are farther along. Support people who are a few steps behind.
- Business Partners: Find vendors such as web/marketing experts, list management/email marketing experts and social media experts, financial advisors, and virtual assistants who you can enlist to be on your virtual team. Look for people who have a track record of success AND personal values of responsiveness and client support so that you can have a dependable team to expand your capacity.
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