Part 1 of The Secret to Keeping Your Client Load Full (see Part 2)
Flashback to 2004: I had my shiny new coaching certificate. I had a grand vision of the future. I had five clients and several years of experience. I had just quit my job. World domination was mine! Except — I had no idea what I had just signed myself up for, and if I had, I’m not sure I would have done it.
Learning a skill, using your expertise, and serving clients is a completely different thing from running a business. You might have gotten into business because you’re good at running a business and it doesn’t really matter what kind. Often, though, it’s the other way around; you’re really good at and interested in a particular thing and you want to bring that thing to the world. Then you realize that in order to do that, you’ll need to run a business and this is the place where you may run into trouble.
Four facets of running a business
1. The emotional piece: Today you feel amazing, tomorrow you wonder what you were thinking, the next day you think this will never work, the day after that you can’t believe how lucky you are, etc.
2. The logistical piece: How to run a successful business, manage your cash flow, then realizing how much you don’t know, thinking it would be handy to have an MBA right now, how much does bookkeeping really matter anyway, and do you need a business plan?
3. The customer piece: How to get potential clients interested, stay in touch with people, deliver a great service to your clients and sell, but not in a “what’s it going to take for you to drive this car off the lot today” kind of way.
4. The mindset piece: You are the commander of your own destiny, your own boss, el jefe. You claim your expertise and act like you know things and discover that if anything is going to happen, it’s up to you. You secretly long for the days when someone told you what to do, you wake up at 2:00 AM wondering if you’ve made the right move, and think about the security that having a jobby-job brought.
Then it all slowly turns around and you realize that you do know what you’re doing, that you know what to do and how to do it. You get help with those things you don’t do well and hone in on the parts you love. You’re grateful for the security you have, knowing that you can generate exactly what you need, and arrange your business exactly like you want it, because You’re The Boss. This is the point where you’ve turned into a business owner, not just on paper, but also in your bones.
Let’s revisit this sentence: “…I had no idea what I had just signed myself up for, and if I had, I’m not sure I would have done it.” Of course I would have, and I’d do it all over again, too. This is what I was born to do and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m officially “unemployable” and happy about that. This journey been tough more than a few times. It has taught me more than I could have ever imagined about who I am and the inherent goodness in others. Ultimately, this clarity of who I am, what I’m capable of, and what I offer clients is what brings people in the door. The secret to keeping your client load full begins with you.
See Part 2 of Keeping Your Client Load Full.