When a client tells me she’s bored or dissatisfied with her work, I usually invite her to play an ‘if… what’ game. It goes like this:
If you could build a highly successful business around any one offering, what would it be?
Simple enough question right? On the surface, my clients usually know exactly what they’d love to do:
- One has built her business around 1:1 consults, when she’d really love to be teaching group workshops.
- Another would love to drop the web design side of her business and concentrate solely on visual branding.
- A third is sick of managing the implementation side of client projects – she’d rather outsource that nitty-gritty work and channel her expertise into high level business strategy and consulting.
Each of these women has the skills and the knowledge to offer this service and each paints a compelling vision of how much joy and satisfaction she would get from doing this work.
If you visit their websites, you would struggle to find a single crumb about workshops, visual branding or business strategy.
For some reason, these three talented entrepreneurs are not inviting their clients to hire them for the work they’d really love to do. Heck, they are not even telling their clients that they offer these services.
In other words, there is a ginormous gap between what they say they want to do and the message they are sending to the world.
Something was holding these women back from creating the business of her dreams, whether it was the worry that no one would buy, a nagging feeling of not being qualified enough (despite years of relevant experience), or a reluctance to say farewell to a steady and reliable source of income – however much it was stifling her creative soul.
Fear was causing these amazing women to confine their desires to a ‘someday’ dream, a fantasy of sorts. They’d resigned themselves to the daily drudge, believing they’d “never get enough clients”, people “wouldn’t pay enough”, or “no one would hire me for that.”
To which I always respond, “How do you know?”
How do you know what people would pay for, or what they’d hire you to do, if you’re not even telling them it’s an option?
If you want to shift direction, or you’re feeling dissatisfied with the balance of work coming through the door, take a look at the words you’re putting out into the world. Here’s a few questions get you started
- What are you saying about your work and your expertise? What does your website say, what are you sharing on social media and what do you say when you introduce yourself?
I’m not just talking about qualifications and letters after your name – I want to know about your story, about the life experiences that make you the perfect person to help me out. I want to know what kind of problems you’ve helped solve for your clients and the skills you’ve developed along the way. These factors help your ideal clients understand what you can do for them.
- How are you inviting people to work with you? Is your ideal offering listed as an option on your website? Are you giving your clients a clear path to work with you in the way you truly desire? Are you giving yourself the chance to create success in the work you’d love to do?
- If not, why not? If you’re not providing a clear path to work with you in this way, what’s holding you back from offering this product or service?
This is a great question for your morning journal (cos you are journalling daily, right?) It might turn out that you don’t want to offer this service after all, which would be an important realisation in itself.
- Get a second opinion – If you’re not sure how your work is perceived, ask a friend to look at your site and tell you what they think you do. Ideally, this person should not be overly familiar with your work, but would share many of your ideal client’s characteristics. The goal is to get an idea of how a potential client coming to your site cold would perceive your work. Do they see you and your work, the way you see yourself? Do they understand that you can help them with this problem?
- Put the offer out there – If you do want to offer this product or service, it’s time to take action. What changes can you make to your business, to start offering this new dream product or service?
For example, my clients could schedule a trial workshop, offer a visual branding or business strategy consulting service, talk to some colleagues about outsourcing the nit-picky work. It’s okay to start small but just make sure you start. Bit by bit, you can move the balance of your work closer to what you want to do.
Your clients are not mind readers. You’ve got to make it simple and easy for them to hire you – and that means understanding the real value you deliver, explaining what you do in words that resonate and providing a clear path to work with you.
I know that can be easier said than done. That’s why I’ve created my Write to the Heart of Your Message Workbook – 12 Essential Questions to Refine Your Core Message, so you can write for your business with clarity, focus and passion. Request your copy here.
Now I’d love to hear from you. Is there a product or service you’d love to offer, but something is holding you back? Share your ideas in the comments below.