"Money is congealed energy, and releasing it releases life's possibilities."
- Joseph Campbell
Most consultants and coaches experience fears around money. They worry that they won't find enough clients to pay them what they are worth.
Money fears are totally normal and should be expected. After all, profits are a part of business. The presence of money fears can be good if they act as alerts to be strategic about investments and with marketing and sales.
On the other hand, unacknowledged money fears and myths can sabotage your success. They show up passive aggressively and lead to decisions that ultimately will tank your results.
Here's some of the most common money fears and how to get over them.
On the surface, it makes sense that until your business is making money you might hold off on investing in it.
But the truth is - your business won't make money until you invest in it.
When you make the leap from employee to business owner - your relationship with money was transformed. In the past you operated in a compensation model where you do work and then get paid. Now you're operating in a return on investment model where you invest your money, time and talents in your business with the expectation of a return. The smarter and more strategic the investment - the greater the return.
Having this mindset is essential for consultants and coaches, especially those want to work with senior leaders. Their perception of the value of what you bring to the table forms long before they meet you. It starts by what they see on your web presence.
If you want to charge premium fees, you have to look like you're worth them. If you want your clients to invest in working with you, you have to go first. If you want to have a world-class consulting and coaching business, invest your time, talents and treasure towards that end. Invest in specialized business development support and training with the full expectation it will pay off.
When I started my business, I was a single mom with only $200 in the bank. I had just come through a divorce the decimated my finances. However, my grandmother had recently died and left me a little money. I had a choice to either spend the money on my bills or invest it in my business. I choose to invest it in building a high-quality website. And within 2 weeks of launching, I tripled my investment and then quickly grew my revenue to $300K within 18 months.
The moral of the story? It's not about how much you invest that matters. It's about mindset. Instead of looking to invest in as little as possible, push yourself to set yourself up for success...the first time.
Here's the cold hard truth - networking to find other more successful consultants and coaches IS marketing. It's just not smart marketing.
This approach it feels safer but it is by far the least empowering position you can take. You'll be stuck in the "trading time for money" trap and prohibit yourself from ever been seen as an expert or executive advisor.
You'll be stuck in the chase for smaller paying projects or labor intensive gigs that keep you as busy as you were as an employee - without any of the benefits of employment. You'll have the illusion of working for yourself but you'll be dependent on others to find work for you.
The fix for this situation begins with your mindset. You have mastered your craft. You can master marketing too. You just have to cultivate a beginner's mind and teachable spirit that you don't know how to market but you can learn. It is a learnable skill that every single thought leader has to master at some point.
Executives hire advisors because they are looking for peers. Sure they may come at you with specific requests and ideas because that is who they are. It is your job to help them see you as the peer that you are.
Too do this you cannot just give them what they want. You need to help them uncover the real issues they are concerned about. Sure they may ask for a training program to develop their leadership talent. But their real concern is the success of their merger and acquisition strategy that is dependent upon having "talent on tap" ready to take on the new companies as they get them. They may ask you to coach a leader who is interfering with the happiness of the production team. But the failed lots and potential loss of key customers is what is keeping them up at night.
I'll never forget my first consulting job after launching my business. I was meeting with potential client who really wanted to work with me, so much that they handed me my competitor's proposal which was for $7K. They said explicitly, "Beat this and the job is yours." I was quite tempted to just do that because again I had $200 in the bank, was a single mother, yada yada yada.
But I remembered my role as executive advisor and how important it is for the long-term to position myself as a peer. And so I put together a proposal that gave the client what they needed, which was for $35K. And here's what I said to the client when they complained they would have to break the bank to work with me.
I said, "I am not an expense to be managed. I am an investment that will generate a return."
This client signed with me on the spot, signed up for subsequent contracts, referred me to others who invested the same and this is how my business got up and running so quickly.
There's so many lessons to unpack with this experience but I'll end this article with two:
Your business makes money based on how well you treat the energy the money and harness it's power towards creating amazing results for your clients and for yourself.
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