Lately I've had some deep, thought-provoking conversations with other successful self-employed business owners about why it is that about 1 in 10 of us truly makes the money it takes to support ourselves, and has the freedom to work when and where we want to. I love hearing people talk about what they do and how they do it, but I don't love it when I hear them talk in ways that I know are sabotaging their success. With thanks to Carolyn Herfuerth (The Biz Truth), James Roche (Roche Marketing), Michael Port (MichaelPort.com) and a few others for their contributions and ideas, I want to share 4 things we all see as common issues for those who are self-employed but not yet making it.
- Resistance to narrowing your niche. When I interview potential clients for The Confident Marketer, I often hear “my niche is women.” Or “my niche is every man who needs to find a job.” Flat out, you will not find success unless you focus your time and energy on a more specific niche. While, in your opinion, every woman might need what you offer, not every woman will want you offer. Resistance to narrowing your niche comes from a deep-seated belief that it's hard to sell what you offer and money is scarce. This mindset keeps one from being able to see what can be created. It keeps one in a mental box.
- Failure to assess the readiness of people who ask about your services (or product). About 75% of the people who ask you about your service are not ready to commit. They are asking because their own mindset is changing, and in time they will be to the point of both thinking they need a solution to their problem and being committed to carrying out the solution. But first, they will spend a ton of time just thinking about it. Witness the millions of people who talk about losing weight but are not committed to losing weight. Witness the hundreds of thousands of people who pay for gym membership but never go (I've done that over the past year, myself.) Witness the hundreds of thousands of people who buy a piece of exercise equipment and then relegate it to the storage room. Witness the thousands of self-employed entrepreneurs who buy programs to help build their businesses but never actually open the program and use it. You get the point! If you sell to people who need your solution but are not committed to your solution nothing will come of it. In fact, a portion of these folks will turn around and blame you that they still have the problem. In turn, you might end up feeling bad because your solution didn't work. My grandfather used to say, “Don't throw your pearls before swine.” I say don't offer your solution unless a person both needs the solution and is committed to seeing it through.
I'll blog about the other 2 issues next week. Meanwhile, think carefully about who you serve and whether it is possible to narrow your niche, allowing yourself to use language and energy that calls to the people or businesses you most want to serve.