At some point, every business owner will find herself in a troubling situation. Revenue is down. New clients are scarce. Profits are falling, and a peek at the financials is enough to bring on a full-fledged anxiety attack.
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, chances are you’ve experienced that sinking feeling of a business that’s trending downward, too. But how you handle it can mean the difference between continued success and business-killing burnout.
Here’s where a lot of entrepreneurs get it wrong. They start to worry about money, and that worry leads to poor decisions that ultimately have a negative impact not just on finances, but—maybe more importantly—on morale, too. Maybe you know what I’m talking about.
You Take On The Wrong Clients
When business is down, it can be tough to keep your ideal client avatar in mind. Instead, you jump at the chance to work with anyone who comes along. The trouble with this scenario is you can find yourself with a roster full of clients who:
- Aren’t willing or able to do the work required
- Spend all their time telling you why your ideas and advice won’t work
- Drain your energy and make you dread your office
You Stop Creating
And who can blame you? With profits down, you have to pull back. You can’t afford to spend time and money creating new programs, so you recycle the ones you’ve already produced.
Now, this would be ideal if you were repurposing with positive intent. Turning your ebook into a group coaching course? Perfect! But that’s not what your fearful brain is telling you.
Your fearful self is saying, “Just re-release this same product again, so I don’t have to have new sales copy written or record new videos.”
And while this might help bring in a bit of cash short-term, it won’t do anything for your reputation or your self-esteem.
That’s no way to operate a business, but that’s just what a fear-based mindset can do to you. Better (much better) to hold out for that perfect client. And while you’re waiting, take what you’ve learned from your drop in sales and create the killer program or product your audience is clamoring for!
Ask nearly anyone who runs an online business what their biggest struggle is, and chances are they’ll say “more traffic.”
You need traffic to build an email list.
You need traffic to make sales.
You need traffic to fill your coaching programs.
So the big question is, where do you get all that traffic?
Sure, you could buy ads, but if you aren’t careful, you might just fill your list with less-than-ideal audience members and that will do nothing for your sales. You could focus your time and energy on search engine optimization but unless you have years to build your business (and who does?) then SEO should not be your top choice.
Good thing you have other options.
Be a Guest
Everyone needs content. It’s the one thing that remains consistent among all content creators—there is never enough. That’s where you can help.
By guest posting on other blogs, you can “borrow” some of their traffic.
You can’t simply regurgitate old content and send it out in a dozen directions though. To get the best results, you’ll want to:
- Create custom content designed with your host’s unique audience in mind.
- Provide stellar value with actionable ideas and strategies not found everywhere else.
- Inject your personality so those new to you will instantly connect with you.
- Offer a compelling reason to click through to your website or blog for more information.
No list? Here’s a quick way to “borrow” someone else’s list to kickstart your own: Schedule a free event with a partner.
Here’s how it works.
- You (as the one with the small list) create a compelling, free training which leads naturally to a low-cost, no-brainer product.
- Install an affiliate tracking system such as a Member, Infusionsoft or 1Shopping Cart.
- Offer your best affiliates a higher percentage of profits in exchange for co-hosting your webinar and bringing their traffic along for the ride.
This is a win/win for both of you, as you gain the traffic while your affiliate gets a bigger payday. Just be sure you have a good funnel in place so that your new list members can benefit from all that you have to offer.
Want to really show off your expert status and bring traffic back to your site, too? The easiest way is to get on the interview circuit. Just like authors with new books and actors with new movies, coaches and service providers can get in front of new audiences simply by answering questions about what they know.
Of course, you’re probably not going to appear on the Today Show or Oprah (although that’s not impossible), but there are still plenty of opportunities out there for coaches and consultants in every niche.
Look for interview and speaking opportunities on:
- Other blogs
- Periscope and Blab
- Local events
- Industry conferences
Start by reaching out to your colleagues and to podcast and blog hosts you most admire. Get the word out with your friends and your list that you’re looking for opportunities.
Even if you don’t yet have a list of your own, it’s easy (and fun) to kickstart your audience growth simply by making yourself available for these and other opportunities. Each guest post, podcast interview and webinar is another chance to get in front of a whole new market, so take advantage of it!
What do super-successful coaches and small business owners all have in common?
It’s not experience.
It’s not extraordinary skills.
It’s not even a powerful drive.
Although all of these things can definitely help your business grow, they’re not a prerequisite for success. After all, no one is born with experience or skills, and plenty of successful people lack drive.
The one thing that does make a difference, though, is your “why.”
Why did you decide to become a coach?
Why do you spend too many hours in front of your computer every week?
Why do you stay up too late and get up too early, just so you can work on growing your business?
The “why” is what ultimately drives us to success, but here’s the thing: it’s different for everyone. Your why is not my why, and my why is not her why. It’s a deeply personal choice that can have great meaning…or not.
For example, a survivor of domestic abuse might happily spend 60 or 70 hours each and every week mentoring other victims of abuse, or counseling couples on how to break the cycle. Her big why is a strong desire to prevent other women from suffering in the same way she did.
A mother of small children may be saddened at the thought of sending her kids to daycare just so she can go to work to (barely) pay for it. Her big why is a drive to spend as much time with her kids as she can, while still supporting her family.
A young, fresh out of school entrepreneur might resist taking the same path her parents took, working for a corporation for 40 years, only to retire and find themselves with barely enough to live on. Instead, she dreams of having the income (and the time) to see the world while she’s still young enough to enjoy it.
So what’s your big “why”? It might be the freedom to travel, the option to spend time with your family, the ability to take weeks off at a time to care for a sick family member, or even to earn enough money to support a charity that’s close to your heart.
Whatever it is, your “why” is the driving force behind every action you take. When you’re deciding whether or not to take on a new client, ask yourself if it’s aligned with your “why.” When you’re setting goals for the year, ask yourself if those goals are moving you closer or further from your big why. Thinking of branching out into a new business venture? Make sure it’s in alignment with your big why, and success is suddenly much more attainable.