6 Reasons Why Your Business and You Are Still Broke
Money. Cash. Coins. Dollars. These words? They all mean the same thing. Nearly everybody is trying to get their share including me. I'm just being honest. But I'm not chasing dollars for the sake of buying nice things.
I'm chasing the dream to give my family options in how we want to live, provide financial security, and the opportunity to travel the world and immerse ourselves in different cultures.
My husband's mother is Asian and her health over the past couple of years has been failing increasingly fast. But before she leaves this earth, I want all of us to experience her culture first hand and meet the family we've only heard about in stories and seen in pictures.
But none of this can even began to brought to fruition if I don't make the money.
I can't live my life hoping the money will come in. And I can't afford to make these types of mistakes. Neither can you.
So let me help you out. Read. Take notes. Memorize it. We’ll talk more at the end.
You don't ask.
Now look, let’s be frank. We all know when starting a business, often times you’re going to give a little bit away in order to garner the attention AND trust of potential customers and clients. That’s cool. Or you even may be helping a few family members and friends. That’s cool too. But there comes in a point where you have to stop just giving and start asking. Why? Because people will start to use you. And use you well until you decide to say no. But I want you to listen and listen well. Your time, your knowledge, it's all valuable. And your passion? Priceless. When people see you as the go to person for solving their problems, the solutions should start to come with a price tag. You can’t feed your family with “thank yous” and “I appreciate your help”. That’s nice to hear but that simply won’t sustain you. Bottom line, if you don’t ask, you don’t get paid. End of story. But know your worth. Be strategic in your pricing and see reason number two.
Your fees/prices are too low or too high.
Look, I know you want to help all the clients and paying customers you can handle and of course all the money that comes with it. But pricing below or out of your target market is detrimental to your business. Why? Not only are you short changing yourself but you could actually be turning off your target market. How so? I'm so glad you asked. When someone is thinking of making a purchasing one of two thoughts will run through their head. The first one? If they feel the pricing is too cheap, they'll think the quality is not up to par so they won't purchase. On the flip side, if it's too expensive, they'll think what's so great about this particular product when there’s another that will garner virtually the same outcome so why spend the money. Let me put it to you this way. Don’t try to sell Ferragamo to someone whose budget is Forever 21. On the flip side don’t try to sell that same Forever 21 to someone who has lived their whole life purchasing Balenciaga. Your sweet spot is the consumer (a person in your target market) who sees the value in what you do and wants YOUR particular brand of solution to help them out. Of course there are exceptions to everything but that won’t be the norm. Charge what you're worth not what you think you can get.
You spend too much time on clients who leave you drained in nearly every way possible consistently.
I bet you know exactly what type of client to which I am referring. You know the type. They’re the ones who are indecisive, want to nickel and dime you on everything, act as if all your time is theirs to use. You know. THAT client. These types of clients will suck the soul out of you if you let them. If you don't stick to the parameters based on the project or service to which you agreed, they will happily use you. Learn to say no. Or drop then completely. Sometimes a little money lost is a small price to pay for your sanity, self respect and your time. Devote your time to those who are more concerned about achieving the end goal and not just purchasing help on the cheap.
People Don't Know You Exist
There was a time where people pretty much had to rely on word of mouth to get “in front of someone”. But in the modern world, that is not your only option although it still offers a pretty good return. With social platforms such as Periscope, YouTube, the book of faces (Facebook), podcasts, blogging, Instagram, Twitter and more available to you to start for free or nearly free, you have no excuses. All of these platforms allow you to reach the consumer through audio, video, the written word or a combination of some of them or all. While you may feel comfortable with a particular style, you will have to step out of your comfort zone to meet your audience where they are. You don’t have to conquer them all at once. Figure out your starters and go from there. So my question to you is, if they don't know your greatness exist, then how can they hire you?
You're Trying To Do It All
I understand that if you are a fledgling entrepreneur, with limited resources, you often have no choice but to bootstrap it as much as possible. I totally get it. I’m doing that right now. But when your business begins to grow to the point where you are missing more good opportunities to expand your reach AND add to your bank account, you need help! As grudgingly, admitted control freak, I continue to struggle with this concept but am slowly letting go of the reigns in some areas. It hasn’t been easy but I know this will allow me to focus my attention on opportunities that matter most to me. But as you and I both know, this just doesn’t apply to business. It applies to life in general. Don’t try to be superwoman and not let superman handle his fair share of the household responsibilities as well. Your business may be run by you but it's something that will one day add to or even support the family. So ladies, if help is offered, take it. If you need it, ask for it. Got it?
You're Not Being You
This one here!? I want you to pay real close attention to what I’m about to say to you. Your voice is the most valuable asset in your company. When a person truly identifies with a brand, better yet, the person behind the brand, they will seek you out. They will become loyal and be your biggest raving fans. People can read through the BS and will quickly move on at the first sight of it. You have gifts and talents that other people may possess. But you can only present them in a way that only YOU can do. Don’t deprive the world of your passion. But most importantly don’t deprive them of YOU. In everything you do, your voice should be recognizable. Don’t become part of the crowd.
Now I just gave you the good word. It may not have been something you wanted to hear, but it was something you definitely needed. This entrepreneur life is no joke and you need to be prepared as much as possible. There will be mistakes along the way. Hopefully with my help, there will be few.