The best thing about leaping from corporate into running your own business is having control over your career, time and earning potential. But for a lot of us - we don't fully take advantage of this power we risked so much to find.
We work a ton of hours.
We get caught up in the chase for gig after gig.
We don't take time off (or as much time as we want) because of the fear of not knowing where the next client is going to come from.
And as a result - we take work is beneath what we did when we were corporate leaders and get paid for our time, something we haven't done in years.
So let's turn this around. Let's make your business the best promotion you have ever received and in the process turn you into the boss you always wished you had.
You don't have to take any work. Really you don't. You don't have to become a subcontractor to another consultant or coach that has mastered marketing more than you have. You can take the time to "go slow to grow fast" and figure out who is the client you absolutely would LOVE to serve. The client whose work site you can't wait to visit. Whose team you are excited about meeting with. And when you find those people, you get to pitch the work that you're amazing at. You can only offer the things that you know you can create exceptional results with.
The only times I would ever consider a time-based fee is when I am doing what I would call a "one off" - a project that I don't expect to be more than a half-day or so like facilitating a board meeting. Otherwise, no way. I haven't been an hourly worker in more than 30 years.
The way you get paid changes when you're a business owner. When you were an employee you got compensation for your time. Perhaps as you went up the ladder you may have gotten a higher salary and performance-based bonuses, but the arrangement was still you do the work and you get the reward.
With your own business - you don't get compensated. You get paid fees in advance for the return you'll create later. It's tied to the value that you promise you'll create and you get paid first. This is the model that completely removes any perception of you being an employee or an extra paid of hands as you're not an expense like an employee and demonstrates that you're a strategic partner who will at least 10x the investment that a client makes in you.
One of the worst things our money fears do to us is make us get busy and scattered with our marketing. We look to see what other people are doing and then try to copy then and scratch our heads later why they don't work. Or we avoid marketing all together, masking our procrastination by having lots of coffee and going to networking events with our peers and not our potential buyers.
There really is a better way that begins with reframing your perception of marketing. If you have something of legitimate value that will help your future clients, it's an act of public service. Marketing, when done well, makes it easy for them to find the help that they need and access it.
There's so many marketing tactics that you can choose from and you can't and shouldn't do them all. Pick a few marketing tactics - do them well and then make sure that they connect the dots between:
If you want your own business so you can travel, book your trips first. If it's to be home with your kids after school, block off your afternoons.
In other words - don't let your business dictate your schedule. Set the schedule first of what you want in your life and let that dictate your schedule.
Sure there's times when you have to get creative with your calendar. But the truth is we don't have to say "yes" to everything a client requests. If your client wants you on site during a week that you would rather spend with your family, just let them know you're not available. You don't have to explain why.
Don't internalize the messages from your worst bosses that somehow you're weak or not pulling your weight when you feel the need to rest when you're tired. Those are lies. If your body says you need time off, listen to it because it knows what you need. And it will ultimately serve your clients. When have you ever produced high quality results when you were competing with your body's need to rest? If you rest up and restore your strength and vitality you'll gain the time back through your increased productivity.
Bottom line - Make your business be a reflection of what's next for your career. A lot of people ask me why I would pivot my business from doing a lot of consulting myself to mentoring other consulting and coaching business owners and my answer is simple - it's the logical next step in my career. I have been a consultant and coach for over 20 years. If I stayed at Disney I would have moved up the ladder to mentor the next generation under me. So I replicate this in my business. I want to grow and I don't want to do the work that I did when I was younger. I want new challenges and opportunities.
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