It was a story I’d heard so many times before. In fact, I’d had three similar calls about this very topic, that week.
For the woman I was speaking to, the first year of her business had been great. As soon as she announced she was starting her own thing, she got her first clients easily. She quickly found herself busy, and making almost as much as she had in her corporate job.
Now, a year later, she still has clients, and the money is OK, but there’s one thing she doesn’t have. And it’s the one thing she really wanted when she started her business:
She’s so busy, she doesn’t have time. Not for herself, for her kids, or to do the things she really wants to do, like travel with her family.
Instead, she’s spending all her time on client work. Doing the work, sure. But also client phone calls and emails. Responding to requests, knowing that it’s scope creep, but not knowing how to stop it.
It’s not what she envisioned when she started her own thing. And more, she’s smart enough to know that if she’s maxed out on time right now, that if she keeps working the way she has been, then she’s also maxed out on her earning potential.
It’s not what she envisioned when she started her own business.
That’s because she doesn’t have a business. She has a job.
Sure, she has her own logo, and company name, and she sends emails from her business email address. But she still has a job. Why?
Because a JOB is where someone else dictates your time, you’re paid in direct exchange for your time or work, and you don’t have as much space as you want for the things that are important to you.
A BUSINESS is where YOU dictate your time, you’re paid handsomely for your expertise, and you have as much space as you want for the things that are important to you.
Like Betsy, who just came back from a two-week trip where she didn’t check email at all.
She came back to a paid invoice from a retainer client, two Yes proposals in her inbox, one potential client that’s close to saying yes, three follow-ups for clients in her sales pipeline, and a new lead who booked a discovery call.
Or Stacey, who, instead of charging $120/hour, a scenario that literally leads to over-work, she signed a $30k project upfront, for actually less work and no on-site visits to her client. Imagine how much space that opens up in her life.
If you’re reading this and feeling a sinking feeling that you have JOB rather than a BUSINESS, don’t worry. You can absolutely turn things around by focusing on three things:
- Build a healthy pipeline so you can choose the clients you want, and you don’t have to take just any client (especially the ones who push back on your prices).
- Structure your pricing around VALUE so that it’s not based on time, a block of hours, or deliverables. Hint: if you have a “flat rate” that’s loosely based on a block of hours, then you’re still doing hourly work.
- Set healthy boundaries with clients. Boundaries aren’t just about boundaries alone – you start setting healthy boundaries from the very first interaction, throughout the sales process, through your pricing, and into your working relationship. Make sure you’re teaching your clients how to treat you.
Now I want to hear from you: which of the three things listed above will make the biggest impact in your business? Write back and let me know!