Susan is a life coach. She’s been working with clients ever since she received her certification. First with a few friends and later with the referrals her friends sent her. Of course one of those referrals taught her about marketing and helped her get a website up. Everything seemed to be going great.
Now, three years later, she’s struggling to get enough clients. She seems to get just enough clients to keep afloat. However she’s not fully replaced what she made at her day job.
Yet, she’s self-employed. She runs her own business. Or does she?
That’s the question I asked Susan when she called me last week. She told me she wasn’t getting any new clients and that her leads have pretty much dried up. She’s committed to her business, but not sure how much longer she can run in the red since she’s financing her business with her credit cards.
I asked Susan, “So, if you had to think about it this way – are you employed or unemployed? In other words, are you working or not?”
At first she insisted that she was employed – self-employed at that. She has some clients. She just doesn’t have enough and she doesn’t know what to do.
So when I asked her why she wasn’t getting more leads she gave me the same tired answer that the media is banging away on – it must be the economy. She felt that “the economy was keeping people from contacting her and taking her programs.”
Of course the economy is adjusting itself from the overblown, over indulgent corporate abuses. That’s why we keep hearing about layoffs and buyouts. But in truth the economy isn’t affecting us small business owners too much, really. But that’s another story.
So I asked Susan to consider, just for a moment, what she might be doing differently if she was unemployed rather than self employed. Without even a breath she said, “Well, I’d be out there looking for a job.”
Getting out there to look for a job is exactly what she – or any of us – would do. We’d be reading ads, searching the web, making calls, scheduling meetings and following up appointments. But wait a minute…isn’t that what we would be doing with our business as well?
Another way to put it – isn’t that the same process we would go through in marketing out business? We’d promote our offer, generate new leads, schedule appointments, and followup with prospects. In other words – we’d be actively engaged in marketing and selling our products and services.
In short order, Susan got it. She remembers the days of looking for work. And she could see, almost immediately, that in having a business she always had to be looking for work. She always had to be generating new leads and working those leads into hiring her.
And that’s the truth with running a small business – you’re always looking for work. Remember, you’re only self-employed if you’re actually employed by your business.
Did you ever think the secret to succeeding in your business would be act as though your unemployed?
If so, what tactics are you finding the most successful in finding more clients? And if not, how do you think your business could improve – even grow – if you treated yourself as being unemployed?