It’s tempting to get “goo goo gaa gaa” over creating new goals at the beginning of the year.
- The sales teasing you to buy new planners
- The webinars inviting you to set powerful intentions
- The books, blogs, the articles that beckon you to live your life fully
- The feeling of being left out if you don’t make big goals
I love all of it.
But please don’t buy into the hype this year. Don’t get stuck planning. Get started on DOING. Because I want to see you smile when the clock strikes December 2017.
Stop stressing on the possibilities. Yes, those are wonderful. But what matters is:
Take an honest look at your numbers.
I know. This isn’t the “whoo hooo we are goal setting ” moment that you wanted. No planners. No cool strategy maps. No vision boards or business plans.
Instead, it’s a quiet moment of reflection for some. Or a “Let’s come to the altar and pray ” moment for others.
All you need to do is ask yourself two questions:
- How much did I make?
- How much did I spend?
Do not JUDGE your wins or “fails”
If you are anything like the Type As I often work with, you’ll feel like a failure. It’s easy when you start thinking about your plans for the year. The comparisons with other businesses. And what you know in your heart your business can earn.
Instead consider yourself a researcher. Someone gathering data. Numbers that don’t mean anything. No stories.
I’m still in shock. The New York City Council recently passed the nation’s first bill that protects freelancers who are not paid on time.
Yesssss!! This is a game changer.
The bill will protect New York City based freelancers who are not paid by their clients. Highlights include:
- Freelancers can require payment within 30 days
- If they are not paid, they can make a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs
- If they win the complaint, they can sue for damages plus the original fee
The bill still needs to be signed by Mayor DeBlasio. But all signs look good.
In the interim, check out City Council member, Brad Lander’s website. As well, you can google, Freelance Isn’t Free, for more deets.
(And for those of you outside of NYC, stop sulking. Start talking to your local politicians about the importance. And check out FreelancersUnion.com. They are pushing for nationwide acceptance).
This is a game changer. But consider if your business is ready to take advantage of this major opportunity. Here are a few thoughts to get you started:
If you are trying to juggle the “crazy” of finding new clients while managing your existing clients, I salute you.
And if you are a perfectionist who only submits flawless work, I challenge you. Stop worrying about it being perfect when it comes to YOUR marketing. Just get it done. Get more out there. Stop stressing that it can only be perfect before you publish it.
What does “obsessing over the details” look like?
- Writing, rewriting and rewriting a blog post. But never hitting publish
- Spending hours designing pretty pictures in Canva. But never hitting publish
- Scribbling down the best ideas you heard at a fancy event about networking. But never implementing them
Perfection doesn’t pay the bills.
You are missing out on people who WANT to work with you. But they have to hear from you on a regular basis.
Short answer: You look professional and it’s a tax write off. But you might want to dig deeper.
How does this decision affect your business model, your brand, and your leadership style?
I know you are probably thinking: “Malla, I’m just getting a phone. It’s not that deep”.
Yeaahhhhh. It is. Adding an additional expense has a direct impact on your business. You want to consider a few things.
- Extra time – Someone has to answer it
- Extra money – There is a new bill
- Extra time – It can be a distraction
So how do you decide?
Before you jump into the final decision, consider creating a decision matrix. While it takes time to develop, it will save you in the long term. It’s pretty likely that you’ll make future business purchases. With the decision matrix in place, you’ll make them based on strategy AND your gut intuition. So consider these ideas:
Over the years, I’ve encountered many people who want to start a service business. Rather than working any longer for “The Man”, they opt to hang up their own shingle. No more office politics. No unfair promotions. Just the projects that they are enjoy. And checks that they don’t have to share! Yessssssssssss!!!
Most working professionals do their research. So they start out like this:
- Legal registration
- Print business cards
- Get a website
- Start social media accounts
- Locate office space
- Wait for clients to show up
And for many, the client “wait” isn’t long. Friends and family are happy to oblige during the first few months. They are celebrating and happy to get quality services at a rock bottom rate.
But after a few months, the love of friends and family is gone. The list is tapped out. And there are no new recommendations. So the marketing marathon begins:
- Networking events
- Online groups
- Social Media
- Paid ads
But the results are ……crickets. Alot of proposals. Alot of “that’s too expensive”. Alot of “If I had money”.
Because the biggest thing that many service professionals miss is:
But why is it so FREAKING hard to find these people on a regular basis????
You get all dressed up for a networking event. Pass out a ton of business cards. Schedule follow up via phone and email. Spend hours on social media posting, liking, and following. (Well, maybe it was only 20 min. ‘Fess up. I was there too laughing at jokes on #BlackTwitter! lol)
You’ve even tried paid ads and special incentives. The online marketing gurus constantly talk how this stuff works and suggest ads.
But…nothing. Crickets. Silence. You’d have an easier time finding an empty register at a Back to School penny sale.
So, here is an idea to ponder.
I waited patiently. I knew the question would come up. It always does when I talk to someone who recently got the entrepreneurial “spark”. You know that moment when you realize that your passion is something you can get paid for.
So I can just put up a website and people will buy my service?
There is whole lot between “build it and they will come” and your idea. You’ve got to invest in the marketing, planning, and host of “oh my goodness this is tough” moments.
Yes, you need a website. But before you spend a DIME, consider these three ideas FIRST:
Customers want something new.
You might have heard that Wal-Mart is closing stores in several small and rural communities. It’s a tough blow for many of those communities. Because their small businesses were hit hard when Wal-Mart came to town. And now that they are leaving, customers are stuck with few options.
My friends, that spells opportunity for you!
No, I don’t mean that you should open a retail store.
But pay attention to the trend. When the world’s biggest store starts closing stores, something is shifting. Even if it’s only a fraction of their stores.
It means something is not working.
And that my friends… Is a great thing for entrepreneurs.
A few months ago, I was speaking to a group about social media strategies for small businesses. One of the participants asked several questions about how to increase her already sizable number of Facebook and Instagram followers.
We started talking offline. And something came up during our discussion. While she had a sizable following, she hadn’t sold anything to her audience. None of her ebooks. No affiliate ads. No online programs. Nada.