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3 ways that your business screws with your mind


Having been in control of my own career and income for the past 13 years, there’s one thing that I am absolutely sure of.

Being your own boss is an exhilarating and fun roller coaster ride and yet, at times, one of the most emotionally sucking jobs that you can ever hope to hold down.

I wouldn’t swap what I do for anything. I’m basically unemployable now, but I have the ability to do anything and be anything I want in my business. I hold the budget strings. I decide on my targets. I can do anything I want.

And there’s your bitter sweet pill you take every day.

Freedom. Yeah!

Oh shit … it’s all down to me. Not yeah!

There are two facets to running your business. There’s the external facet that encompasses the financials, sales, marketing and operations. All the practical, logical and process aspect to setting up and growing a profitable business.  

And then there’s the internal facet – the inner game of business.

My first 20 or so years of working was spent in full pelt Superwoman mode and not surprisingly, I’ve struggled with the odd system crash here and there. Working hard, pushing through, smashing SMART goals … we’ve all done it, haven’t we?

And I’m a natural mechanic. One my ninja skills, which is why a lot of clients come work with me, is that I’m good at the systematic side of business; putting in processes, platforms, tech and teams to enable a business to grow as simply and profitably as possible.

However, for the past few years, I’ve been working in more depth around the inner aspect of running a business and discovered that, despite having the best sales and marketing systems set up in the world, there’s absolutely no doubt that your business can screw with you.

Screw Number One

“I’m not ready yet. I need to take another course before I can charge that kind of price.”

When there’s no structured career path to follow or quarterly targets to review with your boss to get your next pay rise, it’s easy to feel there’s no validation in what you can offer. OK, you need a medical degree to be a brain surgeon but do you really need a MBA or NLP Prac to be able to offer executive coaching?

Being your own boss means exactly that. Within legal and moral standards, you can do what you jolly well like. Whether anyone will spend money with you will, of course, depend on your ability to deliver the results you promise. But essentially, you do what you like, yes?

However, a big problem I see is that too many professionals question their 20+ years experience and natural talents. They worry that they aren’t good enough to be doing what they really want to be doing.

I had a conversation recently with a friend of mine who has had a wealth of experience in consulting firms, such as McKinsey. She started off as a ACA qualified accountant and went leaps and bounds in her career over the next 15 years, managing multi-currency projects and MBOs. Once she started a family, she stepped away and decided to work for herself and for the past few years, had been kept busy with project management contracts she secured through her known network.  

Recently she was able to take on more work as her family got older and a couple of the companies she’d been working with asked her to facilitate sessions with the Board of Directors and start supporting a few of the members as an ongoing coach.

But when we spoke, she was doubting her level of experience. She was asking me if she should take some form of Executive Coaching qualification before she made this official. And did she think it was ok to keep charging the equivalent of her daily project management rate of £450+VAT?

Can you see being her own boss was screwing with her mind?

Because she was going into new territory – working with clients in a different capacity than she had started with them – she felt she needed official validation in the form of a qualification before she could put her prices up to reflect the different level of service she was offering.

Her clients could see what she was capable of. But with no boss to set her targets or give her clear career guidelines, she couldn’t see for herself that it was perfectly OK to say yes to more Executive Coaching work without getting qualified first.

Now of course, there may be a point that she does want to develop her executive coaching skills but to say “No” to something that a known client was asking to take on and she was excited about the prospect of doing something more than project management … just because she didn’t have the necessary letters after her name … well, to me that’s crazy.

Screw Number Two

“I can’t double my prices for what I’m already offering. I need to add more stuff into the package so that my new clients really see the value they are getting.”

This comes up A LOT in my GID School calls. When business owners join GID School, they are usually selling by the hour and offering ad hoc sessions. They often base what they’re charging on a previous corporate salary so, for example, a salary of £75,000 equates to approximately £35 an hour. Thus anything over £50 an hour, their mind starts playing tricks on them and questions whether they can justify their fees.

And when you throw in what your local marketplace is currently charging for what you offer, it’s easy to really have the wobbles when you contemplate prices of £100 an hour plus.

One of my current GID students is a hypnotherapist by profession, which is a highly competitive market place. Most people who search for an hypnotherapist either ask their friends or go to Google. It then becomes a process of price comparison as every hypnotherapist starts to look the same so the simplest way of deciding who to call is often based on price. So it is a challenge to charge more than £60 a session if you haven’t got a reputation and platform such as Paul McKenna.

But one area she has been working in has been stress, particularly in the field of Chronic Fatigue. So by positioning herself as a specialist, there’s an immediate separation from “all the rest” and a few simple tweaks by offering a structured programme, rather than selling ad hoc sessions, you can see how you can increase your profitability and average spend of your clients.

But there’s been this burning desire to create more “stuff” to justify her price increases. It couldn’t be as simple as £60 x 6 sessions and then double it … what else could she bolt on and add to her process of transforming the client to justify this level of pricing?

Having worked with clients such as her for the past 13 years, I know there is absolutely no need to spend your next 3 months creating online modules and fancy membership sites, just so you can justify your prices to your clients.

Because the real truth is that it’s YOU that you are trying to justify your prices to. It’s YOU that thinks you aren’t good enough … rarely your clients, especially the ones who see dramatic transformations and results from the work you do together.

Screw Number Three

“I’d love to XYZ but I just don’t know how or where to start.”

One of the most crushing questions to any dreams or new business ideas you can ask yourself is “How do I …?”

Most business owners and self-employed professionals are naturally creative. Ideas are not a problem when you allow yourself time and space to download them and let them come out.

But nothing stops an idea dead that a flurry of questions all starting with a “But how would I do that?”

As soon as your mind goes into HOW mode, you’re using a different part of your brain. The part that’s logical and practical … you start to process information and start trying to find answers.

Now the problem with this, is that you rarely do have the answers; right there and then. The simple truth is that if you knew what to do, you wouldn’t be brainstorming the problem … you’d be getting on taking inspired action. You just would instinctively know what to do and the process would be energising and fulfilling.

But if your idea is to create a brand new online programme, or a community project, or a new membership site, or a new way of working … if it’s new to you, there’s every chance you just won’t know what to do.

You are NOT the person who has all the answers and yet, when you work for yourself, it’s real easy to feel that you are the one who has to fix everything. You are the one that SHOULD know what to do … and yet when you don’t, your dreams get crushed.

When you were working for someone else, you were probably working in a team. You had meetings, you had water cooler chats, you had reviews with your boss. Although you may have been responsible for projects or new ideas, you didn’t do it alone, did you?

So why is it that when you are your own boss, you try to work it out all for yourself?

And when you internalise the HOW, it becomes real easy for your logical part of your brain to talk yourself out of your idea. Your big idea is rapidly eroded away because you simply don’t know how to get started and you end up playing small once again.

I know this to be true because of the number of times this has happened to me. Being my own boss means that I have no accountability. And when I have no accountability, I can do what I like. And what that has meant over the years is that if a brilliant idea just becomes too hard, too scary, too complicated, too big … all sorts of excuses come out and the idea passes on by.

One of the misconceptions I had about being successful was that I had to be self-motivated. But boy, does self-motivation suck. It’s not only a lonely path to take but believing that you have to be self-motivated to run a successful business, means that you are relying on unnatural super powers.

I greatly admire the traits of highly motivated people but I know now that a lot of the people I once thought were self-motivated, actually aren’t.

They all use other people to help them stay on track and use as sounding boards for new ideas and project. You can’t do it all by yourself.

So reading this through, I wonder how many other screws are coming to the forefront of your mind. How many times has being your own boss screwed with you … letting thoughts talk you out of bigger plans … feeling lost and confused so you procrastinate and work hard at simply staying still?

Becoming aware of the inner game that your business plays with you is a big part of moving forward. And I love how my clients are able to laugh out loud when they catch themselves being royally screwed up by stuff that is simply not the truth.

Let me know below what this has helped you realise. I’d love to hear your stories, too.


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