Work Less, Make More. It Can Happen!
In my first six years of business I found myself knee-deep in my marketing consulting business, juggling the demands of crafting bespoke proposals for every client. My default setting was to do what my peers were doing and tailor my services to precisely what each client desired/required. I was also working 10 to 12 hours, six days a week, most of my time being spent IN my business (on client service delivery). Despite my dedication, I seemed perpetually stuck beneath that elusive $100K income ceiling. Vacation? It had become a foreign concept. I couldn't even recall when I last enjoyed one. I was a lone wolf in this venture, yearning for an assistant but convinced I couldn't afford one.
For years, my friend and fellow Dame Melodi Sheppard had been asking me the same questions: “Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?” "Where are your documented processes? How do you plan to grow and scale your business?" My response had been consistent: “I see myself celebrating the 5 or 10 year anniversary of you and others asking me that question?!” "I'm a creative soul, and my coaching approach varies with each client. It's all customized." However, the nagging doubt remained: What if I got sick or something happened to me? What would become of my business? And how much longer can I stand working these hours with no breaks?
It was during a meeting with my business mastermind group that a breakthrough occurred. I created a macro-map of my client coaching process, and the revelation was astounding. From a process standpoint, I was essentially guiding every client through a remarkably similar journey. My role involved helping them crystallize their vision, values, and mission, honing in on their primary target market, and setting achievable, vision-aligned goals, building a strategy, which I then worked with my team of subcontractors to help them carry out. Suddenly, a full-fledged process took shape before my eyes – I named it the "Marketing Catapult Coaching Process."
In 2014, a pivotal year, I made profound decisions that transformed my business. I streamlined my offerings, introducing a 12-month coaching program with structured time slots, enabling me to free up time to work on my business while serving clients. This transformation led to me shattering the six-figure barrier, achieving $150K in revenue that year, the creation of micro-maps and SOPs for every business area, reduced stress, and newfound freedom. I even enjoyed a clarity-enhancing vacation AND hired my first assistant! The most significant change was aligning with my core program, pricing services accurately, and offering a comprehensive 12-month process where I brought in subcontractors to carry out the strategy that I built, completing website copy, graphics, website redesign, and anything else necessary to establish my clients’ success. I became a true end-to-end solution provider, ensuring a predictable income stream for my business.
Once clients completed this program, they had the option to continue working with me. I assisted them in hiring their marketing assistant, who would execute the plan under my supervision and strategic guidance. Clients stuck around for the long haul, witnessing tangible results in black and white. I had evolved into the trusted authority who advised clients on what they needed and why they needed it that way. I had transformed into an expert and grown my business, AND, I was doing it all in 40-hour weeks, not 60 hour slogs!
So, I pose some introspective questions to you:
Like I once was, are you constantly customizing your services for different clients?
Do you find yourself needing more processes to avoid inefficiencies and headaches?
Are you feeling unable to hire/retain a team because of the lack of processes?
Is the prospect of scaling daunting because you're unsure how to distill your service delivery into manageable steps?
Are you telling yourself that there is no way you could possibly set your ideal schedule or work less?
Are you toiling excessively for inadequate returns due to inefficiency or undercharging?
Is your current business model genuinely the right fit for you?
What are the beliefs you currently hold about working less?
It's crucial to reflect on these questions to chart a course for your life and business that aligns with your goals and desires rather than blindly following the path set by the machine you've built. Working more is not the answer.
In our next blog, we will delve into the concept of working less from one perspective. And in the following months, we’ll look at it from other perspectives. In the meantime, I invite you to ponder the questions above. Journal on them, use them to spark conversations with your Power Partners. They may just spark the transformation you need to take your business and life to new heights.