Like you, every year I take a good look at my business and ask myself some key questions:
How did I do this year? (I measure this financially and qualitatively.)
What clients and projects would I like to duplicate ten times over? Are there any relationships I need to shift to make them work better?
What do I want to learn during the next year and what investments am I willing to make to continue to grow?
In the course of this appraisal, I also take a close look at my revenue streams—where is my income coming from and how am I poised to keep growing?
Two years ago, I made the decision to offer “programs”—including a handful of less-expensive coaching options than my usual deep brand consulting work. The idea was to give more affordable options to a wider range of potential clients. I envisioned attracting consultants and authors new(ish) to the field, helping them up to a bigger platform/more sales and ultimately building long-term relationships. A pipeline of sorts into my more in-depth offerings.
Don’t get me wrong. I worked with a handful of people I am quite certain will be in my circle (to our mutual benefit) for years to come. We updated their websites. I encouraged them to reach for something they desperately wanted but were afraid to grasp. They are each soaring in their unique way.
But those were the exceptions. I met plenty of people who just didn’t take their work seriously enough to buckle down and do the work. Who were looking for a quick fix and afraid to spend the time and/or money to do the deep work branding, marketing and selling yourself and your work requires.
And as I looked at the time it took me to serve those clients (my most popular option came with unlimited emails), I was selling myself cheap. And worse: the brilliant success stories of my higher-end programs and consulting—my stock-in-trade—were not happening consistently.
It was time for a change. The same one I often advise my clients to take. Focus on your sweet-spot. Where you make the biggest impact in your clients’ lives and are doing the work that makes you literally sing.
Those low-end options were making me grumpy. So I’m kissing them good-bye.
Which of course frees up more time to focus on my true tribe—the people I can impact deeply and sustainably. Because the reason I started this business (vs staying in a big-firm leadership role) is that I wanted to do the hands-on work. Not for huge, soul-less corporations, but for real people running real businesses facing real challenges.
That’s what gets my motor revving.
Let me be your cautionary tale. Take a look—a good HARD look—at the work you’re preaching and what it brings to your actual and psychic bottom line. Is it feeding both? Is it sustainable?
Do the math and then trust your gut. You know what to do.
Spoiler Alert: Then My House Burned Down
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