As a mentor who helps people turn their life work into their own businesses, I meet a lot of highly trained and experienced professionals with both vision...and fear.
Their vision is that they want to take control over their career and use their time and talents towards building their own bottom line instead of someone else's. Because they have already achieved success - they are looking now for significance.
The challenge with fear is that is not that it's there. Its presence is actually a good thing. It's a sign that of growth and opportunity. It's fear unacknowledged or ineffectively addressed that messes with success.
Because fear in those situations gets passive aggressive and puts on disguises that seriously mess with success. Fear can look like integrity with claims that "I don't want to come across like a slick, used car salesman." Fear can look like shrew business sense with protests that "I can't invest in my business until I am sure that I can earn xx in revenue by yy date." Fear can also mask itself as faith with affirmations like, "I'm doing okay - look at all these referrals I am getting. I can just keep putting those positive vibes out there."
If you want to grow your own consulting or coaching business, there are three things you need if it's going to be set up for long-term success:
1. Clear strategy - with identified ideal client, marketable and differentiated expertise, compelling products/services that are profitable and scalable and so on.
2. A high-quality and credible online presence that attracts and impresses right fit leads and converts them into paying clients
3. A smart marketing system that consistently fills your pipeline with clients
When fears are not acknowledged the results are often either procrastinating on taking action to grow your business or settling for a web presence that is little more than a online brochure and the endless hustle of finding sub-contracting work.
So the money left on the table through an under-investment in one's business can be easily seen in terms of not having enough leads in the pipeline, not "wowing" the leads you have, not enough Discovery meetings, Discovery meetings that don't lead to sales, struggles with charging premium fees, etc.
The real tragedy is the potential experience of the dreaded "feast or famine" income cycle that causes too many good people to give up on their business ownership dreams and return to corporate - even through corporate was sucking the living daylights out of them.
But here's where it is a different level of costs when it comes to purpose-driven business owners.
People who want to make money and a difference have one other major aspect of their business build - they have to align their business strategy and goals to their true purpose in life. Not the purpose that they want to create through their business such as having a flexible lifestyle and unlimited earning potential. In this case I am referring to the reason for why they were born and their highest potential.
The majority of consultants and coaches that I encounter are in this type of business for far more than the money. It's out of a heart-drive to empower others to achieve what is possible for them and for those they lead or influence. At the core of consulting and coaching done well is about helping others claim their own power for good. For consultants it's about helping leaders use their power to benefit the realm they are in charge of. For coaching it's about helping individuals to use their power to accomplish the goals they desire.
So here's the real hidden cost of under-investing in your business development. It's almost impossible to invite people to harness their own personal power when you haven't done the same for yourself.
Having a website that doesn't reflect your worth and isn't designed well (or not having one at all) isn't an act of faith or integrity. It's fear. Fear of being seen, fear of money, fear of not having what it takes. And everything else your clients will feel when you invite them to work with you and to create change in their lives. If you don't learn how to master your own fears and hone your own personal power, it will be hard for your to help your future clients do something that you have not done.
Having a business strategy that you serve everyone or is just focused on selling what you want to do (vs. being focused on making a promise of value that is meaningful to your future clients) isn't about being smart of what you can do to make money now. It fear that makes it really hard for the people that need you to find you and engage with you. It makes your business all about you and what you want to do vs. serving the people you care about in a way that resonates with them.
When you invest in your business through hiring a mentor or other specialized expertise, it's not really an investment in them. It's an investment in yourself but mostly it's an investment in the future transformation your clients will experience because you will show them through your example what it looks like to take risks that yield better career and life outcomes. You will show them through your example how to face fears head on and do what it takes to create a career and life that you love and that it is possible. You will show them through your example what it looks like to hone responsibility for yourself and to not settle for anything less than one's highest potential.
It's absolutely essential that before you hire anyone to help you with your business to test if they are the real deal and that they are the type of people who are true experts in what they do and will deliver on their promises. That's discernment.
But holding off on taking action on your vision until "someday" or waiting for that perfect mentor to come along who will give you promises and guarantee of exactly what you'll earn and what your success will look like isn't discernment. That's fear. That's fear that you haven't truly wrestled with and won't really be able to wrestle with until you take action action.
Your future client needs you to go first. They need you to show them through your example what it looks like to move from having one's source of power from the symbols that come with office size, title and compensation structure to having one's source of power come from within. They need you to show them through your example how to get out of a scarcity mentality into one of abundance and they can do what feels right in their heart, even if it poses a threat to short-term profitability.
The root word of integrity is from the Latin "integer" which means wholeness. Under-charging and playing small isn't integrity. When you stand in your power so that your future client's can do the same - that's integrity. That's the core of what it means to have a purpose-driven business and that has to begin with you and your ability to take responsibility for your own purpose and validating through your actions, words and investments that it matters.
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