Tag Archives: profit
A few years ago I joined a cycling group so I could become a stronger, safer rider. For me that meant comfortably doing 5-15 mile rides tooling around Bainbridge Island without having to walk my bike up hills. From the … Continue reading
If you’ve resolved to stop under-earning and start making a good living in 2013, my hat is off to you. Making that decision is huge. And I believe that you can live up to your resolution, provided you do three … Continue reading
A few years back, when I began sending newsletter subscribers occasional messages offering a class, book, or program, a few readers complained. One asked if it were possible to receive the newsletters but not the offers.
As I read that, my heart sped up, the bubble machine in my chest began to blow bubbles of free-floating anxiety, and my mind raced in self-defense, justification, and fear.
In principle, I know that any feedback is valuable and that when someone takes the time to write they are giving me a gift. So why did I go on red alert?
Because I was coming out of the closet and it was scary.
What had I been keeping in the closet?
In spite of the fact that for 15 years I had been coaching and teaching self-employed folks that it’s okay–even essential–to make money, I had been treating my own money-making motives like a shameful secret. So I would market my heart out, but when it came to actually selling, I would retreat.
Look Ma, No white shoes!
The used car salesman* in white shoes and belt with a loud plaid jacket is the archetype of selling as sleaze. As a result, you may–like me–have tended to keep your money motives in the closet, avoiding any appearance of overtly selling so that people won’t think you are just after their money.
But what happens, really, when you offer value day in and day out without asking for reciprocity? What are the real consequences of writing newsletters, blogging, offer complimentary sessions or other benefits to prospective clients but backing away from selling?
When you give without inviting folks reciprocate, when you don’t issue clear, open, and regular invitations to buy, you slip into financial anorexia.
A person suffering from anorexia has a distorted body image. When this image rules their choices, they can languish and can even die from starvation, all the while convinced that they are fat. What’s more, they are convinced that being fat is a fate worse than death (literally).
Do you have a distorted image of what it would mean to profit from serving others? Would it be okay with you if people saw your business thriving? Or do you cling to the money story that somehow starvation is a more artistic or enlightened path? Heaven forfend that your clients or customers would think you are in business for the money!
Of course you aren’t in business for the money, any more than a healthy adult lives to eat. Yet, you need to make a profit. Your business needs money just as certainly as you need food, and the more up front, clear, and effective you are about that, the healthier your business and your relationships with your customers will be.
Sounds good in principle, but how do you sell effectively without pressuring your customers and alienating your audience? Keep reading.
Selling to serve
Your customers and clients–like you–have a lot more on their minds than whether or not your work can help them. They could be crying out for what you offer, but distracted by slings and arrows of everyday fortune: leaky plumbing, aging parents, boomerang kids–the list goes on and on.
In order to help them and keep the flow of money going, you’ll need to open your mind to selling. But how do you keep selling from co-opting your values and your vision? The answer is to build service into sales and vice versa.
I’ll give you the keys to doing that after this brief interlude.
So tell me…how are you and money getting along these days?
I know. It’s an awfully personal question. And I don’t ask it to be nosy.
I ask because I’ve had a stormy relationship with money for most of my life, Sometimes we’d get along okay, other times we were barely on speaking terms.
If you have money issues and get rich quick schemes don’t appeal, I invite you to consider the Authentic Wealth virtual retreat. Previous participants say it’s the best money program they’ve ever taken. (Yup. That blew me away.)
For more information and to register, click here.
By the way, you’ll save 1/3 if you sign up before the end of the day on March 30th.
Back to the main event
The first key to selling that serves: Begin with the end in mind
Begin with the end in mind. Stephen Covey had this one exactly right. (If you haven’t read his classic 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it’s well worth your time.) Before you sell anything to anyone, remember why you are going to do it.
How you intend to serve them.
This first key is the most important. If it is missing, you will run out of steam before you even begin the sales process.
So why does anyone ever skip it?
Because when money is in the closet, everything related to selling is in there, too. You need to take money out of the closet so you can look clearly at all of your motives for selling.
Remember the archetype of the white-shoed car salesman*? It runs deep, and unless you consciously establish the service foundation for selling every time you write copy or tell someone about your work, you risk getting blind-sided by shame. And guess what? As soon as shame starts to burble up in you, your customers pick up on it. Yuck!
Give people what they need to buy
Walk a mile in their shoes. What do your just-right clients need to know in order to make a decision? What could get in the way? What are the stakes if they fail to act?
How many couples would not be together today if one partner hadn’t been willing to hang in there when the other hesitated? If the course of true love doesn’t run smooth, why would the course of deciding to buy something that’s a good fit?
When you stand in your just-right customer’s shoes for a while, you’ll see what steppingstones they might need in order to buy something that will truly serve them.
Are those steppingstones for everyone? Of course not. Is that a problem? No, and to find out why not, keep reading.
Dance with no as well as yes
When you are clear about who you are serving and how, open your heart even wider so that people who don’t need what you offer, or who are not ready to buy, are free to decline. Rather than arming yourself against someone’s decision not to buy, open yourself to it.
Imagine a prospective client or customer considering and then deciding against your offer. Watch them closely in your mind’s eye without pretending to know what they are thinking. Just watch.
When you let go of what you think that they think about you, what do you see? Do you notice that they are simply taking care of themselves as best they know how? Good. Now notice how your heart eases as you unhook your self-esteem from their choices.
This heart’s ease completes the circuit from intention to serve to decision to sell to blessing all of your prospects whether or not they decide to buy. Selling becomes a conversation in which you advocate for those folks who want and can benefit from your work so that they can notice, consider, and decide.
When you bring money motives out of the closet, everyone wins
A healthy business needs to make a profit to be healthy just as your body needs food. Not only is there no shame in wanting to nourish your business or yourself, doing so is a prerequisite for helping others.
So bring those money motives out of the closet. It will be good for everyone.
*By the way, I love my car salesman, DJ Dougherty, from Peninsula Subaru here on the Kitsap Peninsula. Why? Because he served me in every step of the sales process. Nearly six years after buying “Blanche” from him, I still tell everyone I know about DJ. How would it be if your customers told their friends about you because they loved the way you sold to them?
As I interview applicants for profit alchemy, one question comes up again and again: How do I know if I am cut out for self-employment?
In the course of working with thousands of self-employed artists and professionals, I’ve come to see a fundamental difference between those who create a thriving livelihood and those who do not.
Under-earning or thriving is all in the pattern
The difference between under-earning and a thriving livelihood comes down to two structures or patterns. Under-earning is a pattern that oscillates between getting a bit ahead and falling behind. Thriving is an advancing pattern that, on the whole, moves toward an ample livelihood.
Under-earning begins with a problem focus
The pattern of under-earning begins with focusing on the problem of making enough money. You know what you don’t want. You don’t want to get a day job. You don’t want to give up the flexibility and autonomy of self-employment. You don’t want people to say you couldn’t hack it.
The focus on what you don’t want, on the problem of making a living, generates anxiety, which is sometimes mistaken for motivation.
Anxiety is motivating only insofar as it motivates you to get rid of the discomfort. You react by doing something to feel better about your situation. Maybe you revive your blog. You might ask a few clients for referrals.
Whatever you do to reduce anxiety lasts until your anxiety abates. When things get better, you relax. You tell yourself you it’s time to enjoy your work. To trust in the process.
What you don’t realize is that the process you are trusting is an oscillating pattern of starting and stopping to grow your livelihood. You oscillate between scarcity and sufficiency. Between worrying or not worrying about making a living.
Thriving begins with a creative focus
The pattern of thriving begins with focusing on what you want to create. In this pattern, you envision a specific outcome, including a financial result. This focus generates enthusiasm, which is motivating in the truest sense.
When you are enthusiastic, it is natural to be intentional and deliberate about creating what you want. Add focus to enthusiasm, and you generate baby steps that take you nearer and nearer to the outcome you want. And the closer you get, the more enthusiasm you have.
Unlike focusing on what you don’t want, focusing on what you do want draws you forward. The closer you get to your goal, the more committed you are to your path.
The creative, advancing pattern still takes work
Focusing on what you want to create doesn’t magically produce abundance, despite what you may have heard. You need to be willing to do what it takes to create what you want.
When it comes to self-employment, that means learning how to market and sell and then doing that consistently. It means choosing to be an authentic and effective advocate for your work in the world.
Sometimes it means doing things that aren’t comfortable. But you’re willing to do them for the sake of what you are creating.
Sh*t still happens
The creative, advancing pattern isn’t all sweetness and light. Sh*t still happens. You have bad days. Your best efforts fail to produce results. But because you are focused on what you are creating, you regroup and learn from experience. Frustration is short-lived as you orient yourself to what you can do to get from where you are to where you want to be.
Is self-employment right for you?
Choosing self-employment and choosing to work for someone else are both creative choices. One is not inherently superior to the other.
What’s important is that you choose the one that is right for you.
Here are some questions that can help you make that choice.
Choose to create
Whatever your choice, make it a choice to create a wonderful life. A life full of possibility and well being. Go inside and find out what that life looks like for you. Take a good look at where you are now. And confidently take the first steps toward creating it.
PS: The missing link
If you do choose self-employment, your next task is to organize your approach. How will you create your livelihood?
The missing link for a lot of people is a realistic and grounded system for making a profit from heart-centered work. That’s what you’ll get in the Profit Alchemy program.
There are still a few places, though registration closes for good on January 31, and the sooner you join the more momentum you will have. If you’re feeling the call to create a thriving livelihood and are ready to commit to the creative path, click here to learn more and apply by clicking here.
Photo credit by: Abraxas3d via Flickr