HELP! I’m not making much (or any) money… I don’t know what to do.
I hear your cries for help and I want you to know I’m here and I understand this panicky feeling.
You started this work because you love it. You not only love it, but you’re really good at it! You’re looking for that awesome freedom everyone talks about — maybe yours looks like chillin’ by a pool basking in the sunshine, or renting that awesome apartment with all the windows so you have light streaming in from everywhere! Or maybe it’s buying a house for your family or retiring your husband/partner from their jobs?
No matter how it looks to you, you want it. SO bad. And you made the leap! You started a business! But none of the moola is raking in yet.
And you're probably asking yourself...
What am I doing wrong??
I’ve got five different principles I want to break down for you, and make it as simple as possible. Because I promise you, you can and will make money if you know the answers to these questions. BUT — you must be willing to put in the work.
It does take work to build a business. That doesn’t mean the freedom isn’t still there, but you’re not going to be able to just sit on your laurels and watch your success play out before you...no my friend, you’ll have to put some elbow grease (figuratively or literally, depending on what you do). ;)
QUESTION #1: Is Your Product/Service Solving a Problem?
You might be surprised how often this is overlooked. Watch even just one episode of Shark Tank and you’ll see people who’ve poured thousands of dollars into something that doesn’t solve any real problem and thus...their business goes under.
Don’t let this be you. Make sure you’re in the business of solving problems.
So, what problem does your product/service solve?
If you sell a luxury item, like for instance you make beautiful one of a kind pillows, you might be thinking that you don’t solve problems.
But it’s not true — you solve the problem for the person who wants a beautiful home with only one of a kind, quality pieces in it. You solve the problem for that person to feel special and unique because they’re the only ones who can find that one specific item. The solution you provide is boosting their ego a bit, making them feel special. Perhaps buying that pillow is their version of freedom!
The point is luxury items still solve problems, don’t discount them. ;)
Finish the sentence:
- The problem I solve is…
- The solution I provide is…
If you can’t come up with a problem or solution, seek either outside help to give you perspective (a friend, a coach, your mastermind, etc…) or consider the fact that this may not be the right avenue for you.
It doesn’t mean you have to give up! Perhaps it just needs a little re-tweaking, which brings me to Principle #2.
QUESTION #2: Do you know what your people want?
If you struggled to find a solution, perhaps you’re simply unclear as to what your people truly want.
You might even be in the boat of trying to figure out what it is that you offer (being a brand new business, or wanting to start one).
You could even already have a business, but be hitting some kind of a standstill…and you’re not sure why.
Discovering what your people want is the quickest way to making a profit.
Want the simplest way to find out?
No seriously, ask them. Hold interviews with ideal clients/customers, have coffee chats with your people, send out surveys…
But most importantly — LISTEN.
Everyone readily gives their opinion, especially if it helps us in the long run. We will gladly tell you exactly what we want if you’re willing to listen to us.
You will find that online you have multiple opportunities to tune in and “listen” to conversations in Facebook Groups, questions being asked, or frustrations being voiced.
Tune your ears to always pick up the frequency of others frustration, because that means there’s a problem...and you never know, but what if YOU are the one to solve it for them??
Now, I say all this with an air of caution.
The truth is, yes, most people will tell you what they want — but they don’t always know what they need. This is where your creative problem solving skills come into play. Be prepared to fill in the gaps for people.
(You’d be surprised how many of my clients come to work with me thinking they want strategy and business advice, when in reality what they need is a mindset makeover — which is what I work with people most on because it is the true need that will move them forward. But I still also give them what they want as well… it’s an important balance.)
Fill in the sentence:
- What my people want is…
- The greatest frustration(s) I hear my people say is…
QUESTION #3: Do you know your numbers?
Shark Tank reference again… but I’m not actually talking about as many numbers as they always want. I just want to make sure you know your cost vs. your expenses = what you actually make.
- What are your offerings? List them all out.
- What are the price points of those offerings?
- How many people do you serve/sell to?
- What are your expenses? (Include everything it takes to make/provide your offering)
- What’s your final total (what you actually make)?
You should always know your numbers so you can always know what you’re aiming toward.
For instance, if you wanted to make $30,000 a year (in revenue, before expenses) you would need to host at least 36 classes to make $8,820 for the year and 24 catering events to make $21,600 = $30,420
Obviously prices can vary from event to event (like in this catering example), but this is why you always need to know your numbers especially if you want to become profitable.
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
Even if you feel like you’re “bad” with numbers...you’re not. This is easier to do than you think it is and it gives a perspective that is essential to your profitability.
QUESTION #4: Do you really love what you’re doing?
Becoming an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. You will experience rejection, burn out, down months, up months, trials and frustrations like you’ve never known before… (My Mama’s out there are thinking, “oh, so this is like having a kid!” — you got it sister.)
Because of all these ups and downs, ins and outs, excitements and frustrations — it’s important to LOVE what you’re doing.
- Do you love what you’re doing so much you would do it for free?
- Does this kind of work light you up in a way that energizes your whole being?
- Do you feel fulfilled on a soul level when you do this work?
It’s important to check yourself that you’re not just “in this for the money." I say this because if you’re chasing money as your be all end all, you will surely be disappointed.
Make sure you love what you’re doing.
Finish the following sentence:
- I love what I’m doing because…
QUESTION #5: Do you put yourself out there?
Do you go for the ask?
Do you advertise what you do?
Do you tell everyone you know and their Grandma?
(Grandma’s are an excellent example of getting the word out...more often than not you’ll hear them bragging about their Grandkids in some way or another. Take a page from an amazing Grandma — like mine — and tell every single person possible about what you do and why you love it).
“Tap into your inner Grandma and get the word out about what you do!”
What excuses come up for you when it comes to advertising what you do?
Examples I hear often are:
- I’m afraid I’ll annoy people… (no one is paying as close of attention to you as you)
- I don’t know enough yet… (but how will you learn if you don’t start?)
- I don’t have a website yet… (you don’t need one to tell people what you do)
- I’m not ready… (you will never feel “ready” — you have to just start!)
- I don’t want to be too “salesy” (who says you will be? Define what salesy means to you)
No one can know what you do, pay you money, or even help spread the word for you if they don’t know what you do. So you have to put yourself out there (constantly — like WAY more than you think you should).
Here’s the deal, no one is paying as much attention to you as you are, no one is hanging on every word, and no one is following every step you make — and if by some chance someone is?? Well, that clearly means they’re interested and WANT to be hearing from you constantly (so that would be awesome)!
What you need to do is take action. Start talking about it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have your story perfectly down. You don’t have to know that you’ve got everything figured out.
"The answer to how? Is Yes."
- Pete Block
Go for it.
To help you work through your self sabotages — answer this question:
While putting myself out there, where will my self sabotages most likely pop up?
These are the things you need to become profitable (and you can do them!).
Want the corresponding worksheet to help you work through these 5 principles?
Let me know your thoughts — comment below: which one of these principles feels like the hardest for you?