4 Keys To Building a Sustainable Business That Loves You Back
My client, Kathy, came to me feeling defeated about her business. When she had her baby a few years ago, she quit a high-paying corporate job to start a health coaching practice. A couple of years in, she was overwhelmed by everything in her business that seems to need her attention “right here, right now”. Her confidence also took a hit because she was not seeing results from her hard work.
In the beginning, almost every session began with her complaining about how much work she didn’t get done and how frustrating that was for her.
She was not having fun. She felt guilty about not contributing to her family financially, about thinking about work as she was spending time with her daughter, and again when she cut down the time she spent with her daughter so she could work on her business.
As mompreneurs we juggle a lot of things. Maintaining a “balance” can be easier said than done.
So, instead of trying to fit everything in, work on seeing things from a new perspective. Ask yourself, “What do I want my business to do FOR me?”
Gaining this clarity will save you a lot of time, money, and effort so you can work less and see better results. By getting clear on what you truly want, you can start to create strategies to bring you closer to your goals. You can select the tactics that will actually move the needle in the right direction, rather than doing busy work that does not contribute to your ultimate vision.
Aside from ‘big picture clarity’, here are the 4 things Kathy and I worked on to create a business that she loves and that loves her back. Practice them in your own life and business to find your ideal balance.
1. Design Offerings that Truly Excite You
Kathy’s coach training program had urged her to offer a 6-month program to her clients. However, that structure simply did not resonate with her personality or her vision. Deep down, she did not feel comfortable with the more conventional 6-month coaching model. This misalignment, and the fact that she was not fully on board with the idea, sent mixed energetic messages to potential clients and subsequently sabotaged her marketing efforts. She had one foot on the gas and one foot on the break.
The biggest breakthrough happened when we got her to decide that she didn’t have to be a coach after all. Her education did not have to define what or who she was or how she delivered her services to clients. She could give herself whatever title she wanted, and still deliver her services in a way that best utilized her unique superpowers.
After admitting that she didn’t have to be a traditional coach in order to help people in the way she envisioned, Kathy got unstuck and moved on to designing a signature system and offerings that were a full expression of herself, her personality, and her talents. A suite of offerings that she was excited to promote and proud to share with others.
Another client, Kari, came to me in hopes of trying to do something with her health coaching education. She had been sitting on her certification for a couple of years and hadn’t done much about it. Holding onto that certification was saddling her with the limiting idea that she had to do something with it. That dissonance- the fact that her “should’s” and “what she wants” were not aligned- led her to endure a 3-year bout of dabbling and stagnation.
On top of that, she, too, had been taught to deliver a 6-month coaching program, but her energy was that of a “teacher/sage”. This advice did not align with her persona. Despite being a loving person and caring for her tribe, her strengths did not lie in the “week-in-week-out” model of a traditional coaching relationship.
Through our work together, we also discovered that she had a long, painful experience with co-dependency and the idea of a 6-month coaching relationship was too close to home, and had potential to drag up too much unwelcome baggage that would ultimately not bring her joy.
Once she realized that she could apply what she had learned from her training in her own way, adding her own voice, and doing so in a format that suited her strengths and personality, she was able to take action to realize her dream in helping women live their full potential through her new carefully catered workshops and retreats.
2. Set Realistic Expectations and Create Your Own Standards
With a Type A personality and a sales background, Kathy is a go-getter who wants to see results yesterday. That worked just fine when she was working 40+ hours a week, but as priorities shifted and she had only 2 days a week to focus on her business, things started to change.
She set a very high standard for herself by expecting to get 5 days worth of work done in 2 days, all with very little help. No wonder when she looked at what she managed to achieve, she felt defeated.
For most business owners, it’s not about comparing what you can get done with others– and maybe not even with yourself before you became a mom. For some, working 80 hours a week to build a 7-figure business is a high priority. For you, it may look different. Maybe it’s working 20 hours a week so you can spend more time with your kids. It’s not fair to yourself or others to expect your progress to look the same as someone who works 4 times as much as you do.
We realigned Kathy’s priorities based on the time she had available for her business and set realistic expectations. So instead of always feeling that she was’t good enough, she was able to wrap up her workday feeling productive and on track.
Having a sense of fulfillment on your terms is critical to growing a sustainable business that truly fuels you.
Another client, Lara, was feeling stuck in her own coaching business for a long time. She was conducting workshops here and there, but she consistently resisted having a plan that would allow her to grow strategically.
As a result, she felt paralyzed. She had a preconception that her goals should look a certain way, such as getting 30 new coaching clients, having a full practice, launching a blockbuster program, or earning $50,000. But because they were pulled out of thin air, whenever she thought about them or how she was going to go about achieving them, she froze.
So I asked her, “what would you like to see happen in YOU being in your business in the next 6 months?”
She told me that, right now, she wanted to get a better sense of her ideal clients and the market. She wanted to gain more confidence by testing out her unique process on her newfound niche and clarity. BINGO! That’s what SHE wants!
We created a plan to help her gain a solid footing by addressing her desire to become more familiar with her market and by refining her offerings which, in turn, helped her generate more income through the launch of a pilot program.
3. Find Your Focus, Instead of Chasing After Bright Shiny Objects
The more Kathy and I worked together, the more we discovered what she truly enjoyed was working with clients in a very hands-on manner, and that her passion was truly in improving the nutrition offerings in her daughter’s school system. A complete shift from what she thought she should be doing.
This led us to develop a more localized approach. Instead of reaching out to a global audience and spending a lot of time casting a wide net, we worked on positioning her as a local health and nutrition expert, providing content and services that were specific to her geographic area. We also looked at opportunities for her to work with the school system, turning her day-to-day interactions with teachers and parents into growth opportunities for her business. She now spends her time doing what she wants, how she wants, and is much happier for it.
Instead of chasing after bright shiny objects, and doing what everyone else says you “should” be doing, be selective. Find your passion and skill-set, then be ok with letting go of the activities that don’t contribute to succeeding on your own terms.
4. Know Your Money Personality
Kathy took a money personality assessment. Her results showed that she needed to strike a balance between having the money to feel safe and being able to spend the money to go big.
Before cultivating that awareness, she often felt conflicted. Sometimes she would invest in her business only to beat herself up about it later. Other times, she held off from spending money, only to feel like she had missed an opportunity a week later.
We went through a few exercises to make sure that every part of her money personality was being acknowledged so when she takes on a new project, she is fully on board to supercharge the results. All without the mental struggles and self-sabotaging actions that she once dealt with.
She came to the realization that she would not feel comfortable without a consistent income, so she took on some contract work with her old boss as she grew her business on the side. The Accumulator in her feels safe, while the Maverick feels great, because she now has the resources available to invest and experiment in her own way.
Less mental dissonance affords you more brainpower and energy to focus on what really matters for your growth.
Following these four pointers will provide you with the confidence and tools you need to create a business you love, and one that loves you right back.
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