THE ENTREPRENEUR’S PARADOX: When You Are Too Successful to Quit, But Not Successful Enough to Keep Going

DSC_0867Here’s a stage of business no one tells you about when you embark on an entrepreneurial journey: You’ve identified a need in the marketplace, analyzed the competition, identified your differentiator, and created powerful branding and messaging, and you even have clients — but still you just don’t have enough revenue for it to make sense to keep going.

That’s where I was for about 3 years in my business – I had clients! I had revenue! I even had fans! I was too successful to quit, but not successful enough to be able to pay all of my bills or ever take a vacation.

I thought the solution was to grow my list, or to do more joint ventures, but what I discovered was that you have to BE the person your clients would hire BEFORE they hire you.

My ideal client is a life coach who is generating some money from coaching or speaking or consulting, but she doesn’t have it all together. She doesn’t know exactly how much she is making and she thinks the solution to “making more” is to create more products or programs. Her deepest desire is to teach self-love to women in transition and doing anything out of alignment makes her shut down. She spent 2 or 3 or 4 decades doing things that other people wanted her to do and that part of her life is over. She doesn’t want a blueprint from some slick marketing person because even if it did work financially, she’d rather be broke than manipulate people into giving her money. She wants clients who see her value and beg her to offer more programs just so they can pay her to get the transformation working with her brings them.

A lot of business mentors will teach you about client avatars like this – but they skip this critical next step.

You must take this to the next level and ask yourself, who would this ideal client hire? What I thought would happen was that my clients would hire me and THEN over time I would change, but of course it doesn’t work that way. Your ideal client CAN’T hire you, until you are their ideal service provider!

Your ideal client will make the decision of who to hire based in part on your words (written and spoken) and perhaps even on testimonials; but their primary motivator will be their belief or their feeling about how likely you are to get them the result they want.

Buyers don’t make decisions based on words, they make decisions based on feelings.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you worked for a large, multi-national firm and you needed to do a TV commercial. You would probably put bids out to agencies who have done other commercials for similar companies. You wouldn’t be searching for people who could do TV commercials but also had a bunch of other businesses they were running in hopes something might work.

Our buyers are the same way.

My ideal client would not only be working with someone whose attention wasn’t split between a corporate job and her business. She would be working with someone who KNEW her business was going to work. She would be working with someone who was so confident she would get them results that she wasn’t hedging her bets. My client would be working with someone who holds retreats in England and Italy and has done it many times before. She’d want to know other people have gotten the results she wants before she makes the investment.

It wasn’t the tools or strategies that needed to change. It was me. I had to become the person my prospects would hire. The good news is, my ideal client was looking for someone who believed in themselves so much they would invest a year’s worth of profit in growing their business.

My ideal client was looking for leadership, not better production value, in my videos.

As I began to change and become someone who makes big investments in myself to get results, I attracted people who did the same. Just like when I was fired, within 3 months of making that investment, I quadrupled my business and by December 2014, I was consistently generating $100,000 in booked revenue every month.

Very often we think what’s holding us back is outside of us. We look for better marketing copy. We create new programs. We seek out partnerships to help us get leads. But what we miss is that it’s how we show up in the world that’s much more important. In order to get people to beg to give you their money, you have to BE someone worthy of being begged.

Who would your ideal client hire? Go be her.

If you aren’t making the money you want to be making, I’m pretty sure that’s the shift you haven’t made.