When an entrepreneur isn’t making much money, it’s usually a mixture of lack of business skills and a mindset about money that needs to change. In this article, Sue tells a story about one entrepreneur who is going broke, and what that entrepreneur really needs to change if she wants to make money.
By Sue Painter
Here’s a quick test for you…let’s say I hand you a C-note. Close your eyes and feel that hundred dollar bill in your hand. Now, watch your thoughts and see where you mind goes. Just watch, until you get a thought that comes up about this money in your hands. What is the thought?
* A good number of people will have a thought something like “I better put this away, I don’t want to lose this money.”
* Fewer people will get a thought that goes “this is a gift, truly found money. How should I use this, what can I do?”
If your thought was about keeping the money safe, I’ll wager that you think of money as potential loss rather than potential gain. And that mindset isn’t going to help you create a business where money automatically comes in and goes out, just like the tide. You can’t stop the tide. If you constantly try, you still get the inevitable but you are much more miserable over it than if you just let that tide go out and enjoy watching it as it goes. Same with money!
The other day I had someone contact me who was interested, she said, in coaching for her small business. Actually, she had two businesses, had them both for several years. The very first statement out of her mouth was not about her businesses but about her money. “I make less than $100 a month with these businesses,” she said. She didn’t tell me about her businesses, ask me how I might help her, or what she hoped to gain in working with me. Instead, she came at me from a place of lack, focusing on what she doesn’t have. That lack is fear-based, contracted energy. Behind it is a poor-me mentality. That creates a constant story of lack, a negative energy. It literally “pulls” others toward that lack. While we didn’t get far in talking about working together, she right away let me know she had little money and probably could not afford to work with me. Underneath that statement was a subtle pull on me, to join her in her financial lack by cutting a deal to work with her for less money, or to sit there and spend an hour of my time for free while she talked about her financial lack rather than asking me how I could help her go where she wanted to go. Then, we both could lack and she would have a “community of lack” going. Do you see? Very subtle, but very powerful. Watch for that from others, and don’t let that energy go to work on you.
Let’s think about this solopreneur who has two businesses that are both several years old and who makes about $100 a month from both of them together. Does she need to be more profitable? Obviously, yes. She probably needs to focus down on one of the businesses, build that to an ongoing profit, and then bring the second business on-line. She may need to ditch one — I don’t know her well enough to say. I do know, though, that it doesn’t work to approach me about working with you and ask me first thing what I charge. The money isn’t the issue. The issue is what would this $100 a month entrepreneur GAIN in working with me (or someone else) rather than what she would LOSE. If I can’t get her to focus on the gain, she won’t engage in what I suggest to her. She’ll be thinking about that money she’s losing by paying me (or someone else) rather than what she is GETTING in the process.
There are a lot of reasons why many solopreneurs and small business owners are not profitable. Many lack knowledge about the basic tools of business. These things are skills that one can easily get through classes, reading, having a mentor or a coach, or going to workshops. The bigger barrier to making money is your own mind set about money. If you focus on how little you have it will absolutely never grow. If, instead, you focus on what you can gain with the money you have (no matter how little or large that amount) you will be OK.
Here’s what I wrote to this woman. “You know, it’s never about the money, it’s about what will happen if you do NOT change and learn to invest in building your business. When people e-mail me and ask only what it costs to hire me, I know they are trying to decide only on cost. The wiser decision is based on value or what it will cost them if they keep on the road they are on. See, it would benefit you to know more about what we might do for those three months, but instead of asking me that, or asking when we might talk about it, I see that you are asking only what it will cost you, not what you will gain. So there you have a little bit of coaching for free. If you change to put your attention on gain rather than loss, you will begin to shift your thinking and your business from cost to benefit, both for yourself and for those you wish to serve.”
If you are not profitable through lack of focus, bad planning, or lack of business skills you can fix it. It takes risk, self-honesty, willingness to feel a little uncomfortable as you learn new skills and behaviors. It takes faith! But the biggest thing it takes is shifting your mind set from lack to gain. Or, from a poverty mentality to an abundant mentality. Or, from fear to love. Not only will you benefit, but those you serve will benefit.
This week, practice not leading with money questions. Practice focusing on what you gain rather than what you lose. It will shift your mind set, and in time it will shift your bank account, too!
Sue Painter is a marketing therapist whose expertise is finding the dark and murky under-places that keep your business from succeeding. She develops business plans that work, and strategic marketing plans that take dead aim at your target market. You can subscribe to her Marketing Tips e-zine at http://www.confidentmarketer.com .