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From feast and famine to feast and fallow

From feast and famine to feast and fallow

I see many business coaches and mentors drive their clients hard; fuelled by the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk and other high adrenaline entrepreneur gurus, many people believe that hustle and grind are proof of success. Heck, I used to do it myself back in the early days of my coaching business. ‘Work harder’, ‘do more’ and ‘push yourself out there’.

Yes, there’s no doubt that there are times you need to step up, push your shoulders back and do whatever is needed to see a project completed, or to challenge or perhaps stretch yourself when you feel uncomfortable or nervous of taking action. But taking this energy with you all day, every day is not healthy. I only have to watch three seconds of a Gary Vaynerchuck video to feel my cortisol levels rise dangerously high. If you feel the same, I want to give you permission to stop feeling that these gurus represent success; they are simply one version of success and it doesn’t have to be yours.

Success is often thought of in terms of money, and the economy and business growth can look like this line on this chart below; the more effort you put in, the bigger the results.

True Profit Business Growth Flow

If you were to relate this to your small business, it could be simplified as two stages of growth: Launch and Expand.

Launch: get a business idea and launch it.

Expand: do more and grow.

Simple enough but this version of success rarely happens.

A more likely growth chart is that your results go up as well as down over the course of the year, as seen in the figure above. This is often called the roller coaster, giving you periods of feast and famine throughout the year.

You launch your business idea, then try to grow in Expand stage, but you run out time, energy or resources, which means your results go down. You only need to go through a few of these roller coaster loops to feel burnt out. I often refer to this as ‘launch fatigue’ as you don’t have the energy to put yourself through yet another launch in order to grow your business.

True Profit Business Growth Flow

Whilst the natural instinct for many people – particularly those who have left a PAYE job and have got used to a steady paycheque – is to hope that their business will give them a constant and consistent income, for most small businesses this simply isn’t possible.

External influences in the economy, regulation changes and even fluctuations in the weather can mean you have little control over whether your business can give you this constant and consistent income. Add into the mix taking time out of your business for holidays or periods of illness, or nasty surprises such as your website getting hacked, a team member leaving you suddenly, or a higher than expected tax bill, and this can mean your cashflow has regular highs and lows.

But what if this feast and famine, that we are all programmed to believe is bad, was actually cycles of feast and fallow?

As working harder isn’t an option any more, as you are finding out, what if you could feel comfortable with the ups and downs in your business, the same way that we adapt to the change in our seasons?

Here in the UK, we plant our fields in spring, watch the crops grow in the summer and harvest in the autumn. Winter may be the dormant month but Mother Nature still works away, preparing the ground for the next cycle of feast for the following year. Crops need to be rotated and fields left fallow between the crops, to allow the soil to replenish itself.

The only way to plant in a different season and get a consistent and constant harvest is to control the growing environment with heated greenhouses, artificial sunlight and plenty of fertilisers and nutrients. So rather than forcing your growth with artificial sunlight and fertiliser, could you follow your natural business growth cycles?

What if we stopped trying to control the natural rhythms of business and work in tune with these feast and fallow cycles?

The True Profit Growth Flow

True Profit Business Growth Flow

This is how I see growth working. There are four distinct phases of growth within a True Profit Business: evolve, evidence, establish and expand.

Evidence:   getting proof that you have people who will buy what it is you offer by spending money with you.

Establish: getting feedback, building credibility and developing your business offer so you understand the results your clients get.

Expand: once you’ve proved that what you offer works, you can then start expanding your marketing systems, processes and team to build on your initial success.

Evolve: at some point, your systems and processes will stop working as well, as external factors change and your marketplace evolves. Which means that you have to evolve, too.

The new approach or idea you decide to take forward then drops back down into the Evidence phase again for you to find proof of concept. And so the Growth Flow continues back around.

You will notice there are no straight lines; the journey between each of these phases take you forwards, sideways and sometimes backwards before going forwards again. There’s no certainty of going from A to B to C to D. It’s more of a journey from A to B and then ‘Oh, shit, we need to go straight to G’ and then back to D before deciding to get C sorted before you go any further.

Through my research in writing my book, True Profit Business, and the work I’ve done with my clients over the past few years, I have seen this Growth Flow happen at all levels. It applies to your overall business journey across five to seven years, and it also applies to the specific lifecycle of your products and marketing campaigns. If you’ve been trying to take the approach of Launch and Expand, shown on the previous business growth chart in Figure 4, what you’ve essentially been doing is trying to go straight to phase three or four; Expand and Evolve.

If your own growth journey hasn’t been going as well as you have hoped, I hope that this gives you the reassurance that you haven’t failed. You are simply trying to navigate the ebbs and flows of the True Profit Growth Flow.

Over the coming weeks, I shall be sharing more about True Profit Business as my new book, True Profit Business, is published this September. In the meanwhile, I’d love to know what insights you have this article so do comment below and share your thoughts on what profit really means to you.

Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.

 

 

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What is the real truth behind your profit?

What is the real truth behind your profit?

For many of you who decide to start up a business, it isn’t the money that necessarily drives you above all else. However, making sales is a critical component to having a successful business. Without someone buying what it is you are selling, you have no business. Even a charity or not-for-profit organisation has to have an income to exist to do its work.

There’s often a lot of emotional baggage and over-thinking tied up with the process of sales and marketing, especially when money may not appear to be the primary driver. Feelings, beliefs, and thoughts about money and profit often create strong emotions and thinking around what you believe you are worth, the prices you charge and your ability to go out and sell.

You will have your own stories about what profit means to you.

Profiting can be viewed as a “bad” thing to do in business for a lot of people. I have heard many stories over the years from my clients about money; about how they base their behaviour on beliefs such as “I need to add more bonuses and get everything right before I put my offer out there”, “my clients wouldn’t pay those kinds of prices” or “I want my prices to be low enough for anyone to say yes”.

When you focus hard at making sales

The times that I have focused hard on making sales have been the unhappiest and most stressful months of running my business. I remember one period in particular when I decided to work with a sales mentor because I was frustrated with my inability to make enough money. I had convinced myself (and he had convinced me, too!) that he had the sales formula that would solve all my problems in just six weeks. He taught me a sales strategy that I now refer to as FOOB (F*%! Off Or Buy). The selling process meant that the offer I made on a call with a prospect was only available if the person decided to buy there and then. If they wanted to go away and think about it, that was OK but they wouldn’t get the special price I was offering to them. I was being taught to sell scarcity in a high-pressure sales environment so that I could make my sales targets.

I made my targets and I filled my programme, so you could say it worked. But I was miserable making my sales this way. It felt pressurised, the process didn’t align with my values and I soon decided to stop working with this particular mentor.

Each time I have found myself rising to the pressure of having to make money, it has rarely worked. Even when I have met my sales targets in this driven way, I didn’t seem to be any happier overall. My sales achievements often pushed me to up my game and increase my next month’s targets, I didn’t take the time to celebrate my successes and just raced on to the next idea or project. All this contributed to my burnout.

When you focus hard at doing anything but making sales

On the other end of the scale, there have been times that I have done anything but do the work to make the sales. When I first started up my business, I often used the phrase “I’m not doing this for the money”. I had stories going on in head such as “I’m just a mum who works from home” and “I need people to like me before they buy from me”. I was pretending to myself that money wasn’t important and these stories held me back. I felt incredibly uncomfortable when quoting my prices. I just hoped that my emails and blog posts would do the selling for me, rather than pick up the phone and speak to people directly (which frankly is still the simplest and easiest way to make sales today).

This would also happen during the times I was burning out; being knackered and brain fogged meant that my fears and doubts would have me spending my time re-writing my sales pages, creating pretty graphics, writing email autoresponders and posting updates on my social feeds. That’s all I felt I was capable of so I found myself busy for the sake of being busy because I didn’t have the energy to plan long term or think strategically about my business.

So when you focus hard to make sales, you are in danger of working against your values or lose sight of your purpose that can mean, over time, you burn out in the process. On the other end of the scale, if you aren’t connected with your purpose or your money stories are triggering your fears and doubts, your business has the danger of being nothing more than an expensive hobby.

What are you do?

Do we really have to sacrifice our creativity and purpose in order to make a profit?

What I have come to know now is that for you to fulfill your greatest potential and play your bigger game, your business needs to fuel three things: your creativity, your purpose and your financial goals. This is not an “either-or” choice you have to make. You can have a business that fulfills your purpose, allows you to have fun as well as make good money in the process.

A 6-figure business with a turnover of £250,000 may sound impressive, but when you see the business owner burnt out, unable to feel fulfilled or even pay themselves a decent income because their costs are so high, the True Profit of this business is low.

A business with half this turnover, but with the business owner working in flow and having decided that a £65,000 annual income is more than enough to give them what they want from life, the True Profit of the business may be considered high.

Everyone will have their own, unique True Profit figure and it’s important to recognise this. We often judge other people’s businesses from what we see externally; the number of people in the room at a conference or how many likes or comments they get on their Facebook posts. And then we use these judgments to benchmark our own success. But the external numbers only tell one part of the story.

Profit

Let’s dive into the topic of profit in more detail. If you look up the definition of profit, this is what you’ll find:

“The monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc”

Now, I don’t know about you, but that definition is not terribly inspiring to me. When laid out like this, it’s easy to think that profit is best left for your accountant to sort out at the end of each year. Having a “monetary surplus” is hardly inspirational.

Even though I recognise the fact that making money is important, I’ve never been particularly motivated by numbers on a spreadsheet. In my early years, knowing what my profit was week in week out was never high on my agenda. I knew what my sales were (turnover) but never really bothered by what my “monetary surplus” was. They were even times where I would totally disregard the financial aspect of my business which, not surprisingly, did lead to the detriment of how much money I really did make. My sales may have been good but what this translated into profit and my personal income has been demotivating at times.

What does the word profit really mean?

A business like mine and yours is not just something we do; it’s not a job that we get hired for but a representation of who we are. No matter what you sell, you have so much of you wrapped up in it (your expertise, talents and intellectual property). This can make it hard to separate the pragmatic, monetary side of worth, with the worth that’s wrapped up so tightly in your heart, body, and soul.

This is why it’s interesting to look at the origins of the word profit because it has a completely different meaning to what we think of profit today. Go back to 1300 and the word profit comes from the old French “prufit, porfit”, meaning “benefit advantage”. If we go further back, the word profit comes from the Latin word “proficere”, which means “accomplish, make progress, be useful, do good, have success.”

Our modern-day economy has seemingly sucked the life-force out of the word. Profit is no longer associated with accomplishment and commitment to do good. The doingness of our business culture has morphed the word “profit” to give us a different version of success; a version that makes us feel we are never enough.

It’s time to change this. You, and all our micro-business and small business communities across the globe, have a huge combined economic power, as well as the ability to make our own choices in how we decide to grow our business, which in turn can change the way business impacts our planet and how we treat each other as human beings. Profit can once again mean that business is here to make progress, to be useful and does good.

That’s my bigger vision and my driving purpose for my business and the work that I do. But with as with most bigger visions, a mission such as this grows with one business at a time. So, let’s start with your business. Let’s dive into how you can bring these principles of True Profit Business into your business.

A new (and better!) way of doing business

The True Profit Business Model

We’ve established that financial profit is important; let’s not pretend otherwise. Without money flowing into your business, money can’t flow out. It’s necessary energy to create growth. But take into account the hours you work, the effort you put in, the sacrifices you make, the stress that your business causes you … how does that financial figure translate into your health, wellness, happiness, time and impact that you make?

I believe that when you figure out how, when and where you want to work, get clear on your strengths and values, and design the right marketing systems, revenue streams and business model that fuels you, that this is when a True Profit Business Model can give you freedom to create, have an impact, as well make you money.

In the center of the True Profit Business Model are the three energies of money, creativity, and impact. It may not feel like it right now, but you have complete control over the choices of how each of these energies can work for you. Deciding on what these choices become your True Profit Compass, a navigation tool to help keep you centered on how your business works for you at each stage of your business growth journey. Your True Profit Compass evolves over time as you grow and evolve so it’s a tool you will want to review a few times a year and particularly before you create any next growth plan or make a decision to change the way you run your business.

Surrounding your True Profit Compass are the five True Profit Growth Pillars, which are there to support you at every stage of your growth. These pillars have to grow together because, as you can imagine, if even just one or two are not growing with you, you are going to have wobbly foundations for your business.

Over the coming weeks, I shall be sharing more about these five Growth Pillars and the True Profit Compass. My new book, True Profit Business, is coming out this September.

In the meanwhile, I’d love to know what insights you have this article so do comment below and share your thoughts on what profit really means to you.

Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.

 

 

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How to start your working week

How to start your working week

How do you start your working week?

Do you find what you do on a Monday morning, or maybe even a Sunday evening, sets the tone for the rest of the week and the weeks proceeding?

Today, I wanted to share with you the three things I do every Monday morning. I’ve learned the hard way, that if you start your week off faffing about, the rest of your week doesn’t quite go according to plan and it then becomes very easy to drift through the month, especially if you lack the confidence or clarity on where you are headed.

So over the years I have experimented and worked out what I personally need to do to keep myself on track each and every week. These may not be right for you, but my hope is that by sharing them with you today, they inspire you into reviewing how you start your week and whether there are two or three key things that have to happen to ensure you remain focused and on track.

Watch the video below or read the article:

1) Overview of my business and intentions for the week ahead

I always start my week off with an overview of what is happening short and medium term in my business. I have a Big Vision and a 12-month plan but for my Monday mornings, I focus on what is due to happen over the next 4 to 6 weeks. I review what I have planned and have scheduled in my diary and then I drill down what needs to happen on one piece of paper.

This “one piece of paper” concept is important. I don’t have running to-do lists that go from week to week (these can distract and overwhelm you if you never seem to get the bottom. Read more about how to-do lists distract you here.) and I actually don’t use any fancy online scheduling tools because of the time it used to take me to maintain all the notifications, priority colour changes, etc. I’ve tried various ones but this way just doesn’t work for me.

My intentions for the week get put down on to one A4 sheet of paper, and that sheet remains on my desk until the end of the week or I have completed them all, whichever happens first. I then decide who needs to do each task or short project on that sheet of paper so I either put my initials next to or the initials of somebody else that it needs to be delegated to. So quite often a lot of the things that go down there have the letter A to it, which stands for Alexia, who is my VA and looks after my client and diary management.

This is often a fairly quick exercise taking no more than an hour or so. But sometimes I need a bit warming up; a coffee, sometimes a walk. Depending on my state and such things as where I am in my cycle (yes, tracking my menstrual cycle is important to me as it allows me to flow naturally with my energy as my hormones naturally change over the month. You can read more about marketing with your menstrual cycle here) this can be a real Lean Back energy process to help me drill down what needs happening.

2) Money Management

The second thing I do every Monday morning, is my money management. Now this sounds very grand, but it’s actually really simple. Often it takes me just 10 or 15 minutes to dive in and get this done. I go into my Xero online bookkeeping system, where I have all my bank account reconciliations to check to see what money is coming in and what money is flowing out. I check what I need to still pay for, and what invoices of mine maybe still outstanding. And I also review my revenue spreadsheet so I know how balanced I am moving towards my financial targets for the year.

This simple process gives me a real grounding about where I am financially in my business. It’s what keeps my eye on my profitability. It makes sure I don’t get carried away with all the dozens of ideas and creativity and innovation that I’m always coming up with it, to ensure they financially benchmark against where I’m going from the money side of my business.

When I didn’t do this, I could go weeks before realising that maybe I wasn’t making enough sales or I was overspending. I would often bury my head in the sand, especially when sales weren’t what they could have been, which meant I didn’t have the right energy when I showed up for my sales conversations. So now this money focus happens every single Monday morning.

3) Weekly team meeting

The third thing that I do is I have a zoom conference call with my assistant Alexia. Again, I didn’t really do this for the first eight or nine years of my business. It didn’t seem necessary when it was just the two of us. But this weekly half-hour call has made a huge difference to how we both work together. If you know me personally, or you have worked with me, you know my brain can work incredibly fast. I’m full of ideas; I’m a very creative and innovative person. And the danger of being this way is that I am always racing ahead and Alexia’s trying to keep up; trying to work out where I’m going, and what’s the latest thing I’m doing.

So now having this weekly meeting with her, we run through what’s on my weekly plan, we check in with the medium and longer term schedule of events and marketing campaigns. I share with her any latest ideas or new training events I’m putting on, including any meetings or tasks I’ve put in my diary and explain why I have put them in.

A lot of the time, she may not actually have anything to do with these ideas or appointments in my diary but it is important for her to understand, so she could see what is happening in my head, as well as be able to answer any questions my clients may ask her. Otherwise, when she’s left in the dark, which is not terribly helpful for her to be able to help me and for her to come forward to me and say “Well, I can help you do that” or “Is there anything else I can add value to it?” So this weekly half-hour meeting is really important.

These are the three things I do every Monday. I’d love to know what you do each Monday morning to start your week. Do you do the same things or do you do things differently? Or perhaps this has inspired you to put some regular tasks or appointments in your diary every Monday morning.

What’s important is that you have a regular focus to your Monday morning (or it could be Sunday evening if you prefer – whatever works best for you) that it gets you working on your business, rather then just jumping straight into all the doing your business demands of you. Having this approach will give you that focus; reviewing, and possibly resetting your sales and making sure that you know where are in your journey and bigger plans.

If you don’t have this weekly grounding of planning, scheduling, tasking, working out where the money is, and who in your team needs to do what, it’s really easy to go adrift. It’s really easy to get carried away with ideas or get lost in the confusion and drown under information and feel you have too much to do.

So what can you do on a Monday morning?

Has that been helpful? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are ready to ignite your business growth, then it’s time for us to talk. Click here to schedule a call with me 

Until next time, do less, be more and play bigger.

 

 

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Is making a decision a skill or a way of being?

Is making a decision a skill or a way of being?

The number of choices you have to make to each and every day can add up into the thousands; from what clothes you put on in the morning and what you eat for lunch to what podcast you listen to next or radio station you play in the car. In fact, some sources claim that we make up to 35,000 decisions every day.

So it’s no surprise that, when it comes to making decisions about your business and marketing, that decision fatigue can become a real problem. If you’re already facing a thousand or more decisions about day-to-day stuff, when you apply the same decision making process to bigger business and marketing stuff, your brain can be running tired and wired.

It’s like having too many tabs open on your browser or too many apps running in the background of your phone … because your brain is full of mundane thinking, it just doesn’t have the capacity to move up a gear to deal with the seemingly bigger or more important decisions about your business.

I believe decision making to be one of the “secrets” to business success. It’s action, rather than ideas, that grow your business and action can only happen once you’ve made a decision.

So if you find it difficult to make decisions, it can really hold you back in your business growth journey.

Many years ago I came up with The P Cycle; the constant and exhausting swirl of perpetual learning, which leads to perfectionism, which leads to procrastination which leads straight back to perpetual learning.

Because when you don’t know something (which is ALWAYS the case with most of your business and marketing decision, yes?!), it feels easier to go out and learn more about whatever it is you are making a decision about first, before actually making a decision to take action on it.

This means you are forever seeking ideas and learning more about how to do something … but you never quite get out of The P Cycle to take actual action and move forward with your business idea or marketing initiative.

So is decision making a skill you can learn?

Yes, sure it is. You can use tools such as the classic SWOT or cost-benefit analysis to help you weigh up the pros and cons.

But for most of your decisions you have to make to move forward with your business or marketing, I’ve found many of these decisions making tools have the danger of keeping you in the P Cycle.

Because you go off and learn how to make a decision, you try and get the decision making process right (AKA perfect!) which delays the decision making process even further and thus stops you from taking action.

Is there another way of making a decision?

Yes. I’m glad you asked 🙂 

Because there is an important space within us that very few of us know how to access on a day-to-day basis.

You probably feel it from time to time and perhaps, like me, you know it’s there because so many people around you refer to it. Some people call it a gut feeling. Others may call it intuition. It doesn’t really matter whether you may feel it or hear it in your gut, soul, heart or solar plexus, it’s the thoughts and feelings that come to you when you may meet someone for the first time or walk into a room or in the middle of a conversation with someone. 

Having spent the first 25+ years of my adult life as a strong, independent Super Woman (yup, I really was on track to burn out by the time I got to 43 – I just didn’t see it coming!), I really didn’t know how to access this intuitive way to help me make decisions. I was so busy making decisions based on logical thinking, that it was burning me out. Just like that browser with too many tabs open; at some point, you are painstakingly watching yet another spinning circle of doom that you realise the only thing you can do is re-boot the whole of your machine.

So a few years ago, I decided I need to re-boot, slow down and explore different ways of growing and building businesses.

Let me hand you over to my good buddy, Kate Wolf, who is an expert on this matter.

“Everyone is designed differently which means we all ‘hear’ our intuition in different ways. Some people hear words or phrases, for others, it’s a ‘feeling’ or sixth-sense. And for others, it’s an actual physical feeling or sensation in the body.

The key is to take the time to discover how your intuition speaks to you. The more you ‘listen’, the more you’ll ‘hear’. It’s also a journey of trust and courage. As you start honouring your intuition and daring to act on it, it will show up more for you and your relationship will strengthen.

Often people think they’re not intuitive but when I ask them to tell me a time they ‘just knew’ something was the wrong decision for them – whether it’s in the realm of business, finance, relationships, health or pretty much anything – everyone can come up with something.”

So if you’d like to find a way of accessing your intuition more to help you make decisions more easily – and thus take action on the stuff that’s going to grow your business – here’s what I love to invite you to do.

Learn to be a tracker of how your intuition shows up.

I’ve been on a huge journey over the last few years, re-connecting with myself and discovering how our energies work. I have had to learn how to slow down so that I may hear what my body and soul is trying to tell me.

A couple of the regular practices I use to allow myself to track how my own intuition comes up are are journalling – the simple practice of writing a few pages of my thoughts before I start my working day – and using Angel Cards – picking a card before or during my journaling to help me bring awareness to what I should be paying attention to.  Both these practices allow me to get out of my head and feel into different parts of my body and awareness. And from here, I can pay attention to source rather than the exhausting logic.

There’s so much more I want to share about this topic but I want to finish off today with these final thoughts from Kate.

“It can be very easy to mistake projection for intuition. One of the key ways to recognise your intuition is that it comes without a story. If you find yourself explaining WHY something is so, and telling yourself lots of stories about it, it’s almost definitely some form of projection. Intuition simply is. It doesn’t need to explain itself, rationalise or justify.

So if your ‘sense’ or ‘feeling’ is coming with a lot of story and explanations, it may well NOT be intuition. When this happens, take some time to meditate, to journal, to get beneath the story to the truth. This is also a good time to turn to a skilled Coach or Healer who will guide you out of the story-mess of your head and into the wisdom of your body.”

I find I can use stories A LOT in my thinking when I’m running my decisions purely on logic, which is helpful when working with my clients because I can see them do exactly the same thing LOL. So this is great advice from Kate, particularly if these kind of practices are new to you. 

If you have anything to add to this, please leave a comment below. I’d love to know how this article shows up for you and what you do to help you access your intuition.

To deepen your relationship with your intuition, download Kate’s free guide here: http://www.katewolf.global/survivalguide

And if you want to talk to me about your business and how you could simplify your business growth, click here to schedule a call with me 

Until next time, do less, be more and play bigger.

 

 

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Simply add your name and email address and you’ll get a weekly dose of inspiration (sometimes funny … always straight-talking) plus invites to my events and offers to join my courses and programmes.

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Revenue streams – how many ways can you make 6 figures?

Revenue streams – how many ways can you make 6 figures?

No, it’s not a trick question nor am I about to launch into some scammy way of turning on a money tap whilst lounging back on a Caribbean sundeck. It’s a serious question that all experts and service-based professionals need to answer at some point in their business.

Of course, the sum doesn’t have to be 6 figures. When you get a copy of my upcoming book, True Profit Business, you’ll discover that I am not a fan of pushing out the 6 figure business dream; it’s an ego driven target because the reality is that most “6 figures” mean some an entirely different money-in-your-bank-account-sum when you take into account exactly what profit you made and what you sacrificed to get it. Too many people are simply burning out to achieve the wrong the goals.

If it is a genuine 6-figure sum you’re after, great, but the money sum could be that you simply want an extra £10,000 over the next few months. For the sake of simplicity, the money sum I’m going to use in this article is £100,000 because it’s as an easy number to work through.

First of all, why is this question important?

Knowing how you want to make your money from your business is important because it’s going to significantly impact your marketing strategy, positioning required, resources needed (advertising budget, hiring of team, cost of digital platform set up), skills to learn and how much time and effort you are required to get it all working.

Your business model – how you shape your revenue streams and how you engage with your clients and deliver your products – is directly related to how well you can grow your business. You may not have realised this before now, but you have a choice in the way your design, set up and run your business. Most people like yourself end up with a business model based on what everyone else in your profession is running or a business model based on what you’ve been taught to be the most profitable or easiest to run.

In the first instance, you may have the same business model as everyone else in your profession not because of choice, but because you don’t know any better. What you don’t know, you don’t know and, as with most clients I work, I doubt you’ve gone to business school or have training in business processes and systems. If this is the case, you may have spent a lot of time learning about marketing and how to get clients but the topic of how to design, set up and run your business is something you’ve probably never given much thought to. Doing what everyone else in your profession does has its upsides because you know what works already. However, there is a big problem with this.

Just because most of your colleagues or competitors are running their business in a particular way, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are all doing it the right way for them. If we take the Pareto Principle that statistically proves 80% of your outcome comes from 20% of your input, 80% of the success that happens in your profession comes from just 20% of the businesses. Thus 80% of businesses in your profession is creating just 20% of the output. Hmmmmmm. No wonder so many of your colleagues and competitors seem to be struggling when you get to see what’s really going on behind their marketing, promotional campaigns and brand presence.

You know if you are in the 80 percentile if you experience any of the following:

  1. You’re overwhelmed; you’re procrastinating over marketing initiatives and new product ideas because you simply don’t know what you “should” be doing to make your business work more effectively.
  2. You’re overworked; you are stuck in the day-to-day grind and feeling miserable that you can’t spend the time doing more of what you love
  3. You’re underpaid; you compete on price, charge by the hour or the time you spend with a client and often over-deliver so that you do far more than you originally promised thus dropping your value even further.

I know this paints a pretty depressing picture but there are plenty of you in this situation (you are part of the 80%!) and if you get a copy of my book when it’s due out later this year, you’ll discover the path out of this 80% and find your way to a True Profit Business.

What are the top 20% of your profession are doing to have a greater output?

There will be of course all sorts of reasons for their success but there is every chance that they are using technology to create huge growth advantage opportunities to allow them to stand out as a leading expert in your profession. You’ve probably already seen colleagues and competitors create new ways of sharing their expertise. From expanding their offerings to serving groups of clients, large and small, through to creating digital content and using cutting edge use of artificial intelligence; the opportunities to do something “different”  and grow the number of clients you work with are open to you if that’s what you want.

This leads me to the second instance where many of you may be. The explosion in selling digital content since 2015 has led to thousands of marketing experts teaching digital ways of making money and growing a business from your laptop on the beach, particularly within the coaching, therapy and training professions. Because technology has been the reason for a lot of businesses’ success, it’s easy to get sucked into believing that digital is the only way to grow a business like yours. But that’s not simply the case. Many marketplaces are now so flooded with digital offerings that it’s hard to break in and claim your space, especially when so much of the content can be of poor quality and your client base may have begun to distrust this form of learning or support. Plus there are plenty of those 20% businesses in your profession who are running more traditional business models, but because you don’t get to see their marketing campaigns or brand presence on your Facebook or Instagram feed, you may not realise they exist.

And let’s get real about how it is to run a top 20% business. You may have a business that, on paper, is well within your profession’s top 20%, especially if you are measuring its success on traditional key performance indicators such as turnover. But the reality of running your business in the top 20% is that it may be burning you out.

You know if you are getting burnt out in the 20% if you experience any of the following:

  1. You’re overwhelmed; you’ve stepped up and created your expert status but you don’t like the visibility and constant pressure to perform.
  2. You’re overworked; you can’t seem to keep up what you’ve promised your clients and can’t come up for air long enough to hire the right people to help you grow.
  3. You’re underpaid; your turnover may be 6 or 7 figures but there’s not much left for you once you’ve paid your team, advertising invoices and running costs.

Again, another pretty depressing picture. But as before, you aren’t the only one to have created a business that is burning you out because this practice of growing a business based on following someone else’s formulas and business model is rife. This is why I want to open up your eyes and see the possibilities available to you on your path to creating a True Profit Business. My mission here is to help you to avoid following someone else’s proven business model and systems, just because they are telling you it works for them.

So you have a choice. You have a choice on what business infrastructure, processes and team to have in place to give you the right business to help you achieve your creativity, purpose and money aspirations. You can choose the design, set up and how you run your business based on who you are and how you want to show up, just the way you can decide on the right vehicle you want to drive day-to-day.

The reason why there are so many different types of vehicles on the road is that each and every one of us has a different reason for choosing our mode of transport, and at different stages of our lives. Starting out, you’ll drive any car you can afford; a small hatchback or perhaps stick to your bike, especially if you live in a city. Families may drive a big SUV. Some may like fast cars. Others choose their mode of transport based on environmental impact and may even decide they don’t want to own a vehicle but use uber or rental cars for longer journeys.

There’s no one vehicle that’s right for everyone or for a specific profession.

And so it is with your business model.

There are four critical decisions to make to help you decide which business model you want; your role in the business, the number of clients you want to serve and then consequently at what price point, how you deliver your service or products and which selling system you decide works best for you. In my book, True Profit Business, I am taking you through in detail all four of these decisions. So for now, let me take you through a couple of examples.

The passive income dream

Someone I spoke to recently had recently spent a significant amount of her investment cash setting up a new membership website. She had read a lot about membership sites, had joined an online business mentoring programme to teach her the basics of setting up digital products and thought this would prove to be a perfect revenue stream to have around being a mum at home with two young children. She wouldn’t have to travel anywhere and she could do everything her business needed her to do from her kitchen table.

There was no questioning her passion for helping the audience she wanted to reach out; she knew they were desperate for clear signposting and easy to access advice. But 14 months in and her beautifully designed website was verging on a marketing disaster. Although visits to the site were climbing and she was good traction in the forums, database building was almost non-existent and her offer just wasn’t compelling enough.

Her plan was to start with the freemium model and then start charging £27 a month. She had dreams to have a 6-figure business but to make £100,000 that would mean 309 members, assuming that all 309 would stay a minimum of 12 months. That’s a whole lot of leads to get that many customers, and a whole lot of customer retention strategy to keep them being members.

Of course, long term this kind of membership model can work but you need a big bucket of resources (advertising, customer support, time, energy and hours and hours of screen time) because your marketing strategy is focused on high volume, low pricing model. It’s highly unlikely that any decent profit will be made for at least a year or two (probably many more!) if you are relying solely on this kind of revenue model. And this person was burnt out already after 14 months of struggling to build up her tribe on a bootstrap budget and a lack of skills around digital marketing and advertising.

Let’s go the other end of the scale.

A client I worked with recently came from many years in the publishing industry. Now I am sure you are aware of the massive changes that have turned much of the publishing sector on it’s head. The problem she was still stuck in the traditional, old school business model where very little revenue was created until a book was published and selling. For her business to make £100,000, it was all about book contracts; working hard up front and only seeing rewards when (and sometimes only if) the book was successful. Plus it was a cost-heavy business so profits were tight.

When we starting diving in to the process she went through with her author clients, it was apparent to me, almost immediately, the value of what she did even before the content was written. Of course, being surrounded with the traditional – and very much outdated – publishing business model, it was a classic case of “what you don’t know, you don’t know.” But having talked through all her options and what role, client capacity and delivery process would work for her, it was as if a searchlight was beaming through the fog and a new path became clear.

Offering her services as a book coach and mentor at the start of the process was an obvious place to begin; charging for the 6 months run up to get the book ready for editing was not only profitable for my client but incredibly powerful and instrumental for the success of her author clients. Again, not a holy grail solution to making 6-figures – there was still a lot of thinking and doing to be done around her positioning and marketing her new offerings – but she could see clearly that this additional revenue stream could be a far simpler way of growing her business revenue than sticking to what everyone else in her industry did. And without distracting her from her core revenue base or burning herself in the process.

The price you decide to charge has a lot to do with your success.

Before I send you off to have a think about your potential revenue streams, let’s deal with the elephant in the room; the price you charge. When creating new revenue streams in your business, it’s often perceived easier to start at the lower end of charge of the price scale. I’m sure you have seen, and perhaps even bought from, the classic product funnel that gets you started with a £10 introductory product, which leads into a £295 course and then takes you into a premium programme of £1,000 and more.

So what many do, and are taught to do, is start creating your £10 introductory offer because you believe you need to build your list. And a £10 product is so much easier and safer to create, is it not?

Coming back to the question on hand – how do you go about creating £100,000 … that’s a lot of £10 sales you need to make to build enough momentum to move people up to your next mid-level product. You’d probably be needing 500+ sales to get you the conversions to that £100,000. That’s exhausting (and I speak from experience!)

Again, like the membership offer example above, this kind of product funnel works. There’s no doubt about it. But starting with the perceived easier end of the funnel is not always your easiest path to growing your business. A far quicker, simpler and easier way can be to flip your funnel on its head and start at the top end of the scale. Even if you decided to start small and create a programme or service at around the £2,000 mark, it becomes obvious that you have to sell to far fewer people to get yourself to your £100,000 goal. Plus you’ll gain valuable experience, build your credibility and see better results from your clients working at this level.

Now, of course, I’m starting to sound like the rainbow fairy.

Just wave your wand, burn your candles and the unicorn will come and poop out those clients for you.

You know clients aren’t going to magically appear with intention alone (don’t you?!). There is focus needed for your overall strategy and positioning, a clear offer created and an understanding of what your market place really wants. But I hope that you get the point that I am making here and that you realise you have a choice about how you design, create and run your revenue streams in your business.

Think carefully about your pricing and offers as you grow your business. Don’t just follow someone else’s system that they are selling you or stick to what your industry does best, because it’s not always the case. If you get clear on what it means for you to have True Profit Business and develop the right mix of prices and numbers of clients to suit you and the way that you work, creating revenue streams to help grow your business can be far simpler than you may believe right now.

If you want to talk to me about your business and how you could grow your business and create revenue streams to suit your financial goals and the way you want to work within your business, click here to schedule a True Profit Business Audit. 

Until next time, do less, be more and play bigger.

 

 

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