Recently I was working with a client who had begun to experience more success than she had anticipated.
Of course, she was delighted. But she was surprised. She’d have to make major changes in order to continue moving forward on this path.
I’ve also been surprised as my business has grown. Here are three lessons I’ve learned over the years.
(1) Everything takes more time.
Before I got into WordPress, I worked with a terrific designer named Michelle. I found her on Fiverr and she began working directly for me. She did excellent work and I knew I was lucky to catch her at this stage of her business.
After we worked together awhile, I asked Michelle if she could redesign my business card.
“Sure,” she said, “I can do this. Give me a day or two.”
Days passed. No card.
Michelle was no longer an unknown newbie. She was getting more queries from prospective clients and colleagues. She was getting invited to participate in bigger projects. Now she has to allow more time for everything…and her prices have to reflect the new reality.
(2) You get trapped by your old story.
I was chatting with another business owner at a networking event. Casually, I asked him, “What did you do this weekend?”
He shrugged and answered, “I painted my garage door,” he said. “And I mowed the lawn.”
I asked him, “Why don’t you hire a lawn service and a handyman?”
He said, “I feel like it’s something I should be doing.”
That was his story. It had served him well at an earlier stage of his career. He needed to evaluate his “should” statements.
His new story might be, “I could easily hire someone to paint my garage door. But I really enjoy doing something with my hands instead of working with my brain all day.”
One sign of growth – both business and personal – involves the replacement of “should” stories with “enjoy” stories.
(3) You learn to love people who did their homework.
One day last year I got a call from someone whose name I’ve mercifully forgotten. She seemed to be extremely successful…until she got on the phone with me.
She was going to be in Philadelphia and wanted to set up a coffee meeting so we could “get to know each other.”
Then she asked me, “Just what do you do, exactly?”
With that question, I could feel her credibility draining away. A busy business owner begins with a purpose. Was she looking for JV partners? Speakers for an event? Affiliate partners? Investors?
Once she had her objective, a quick look at my website or LinkedIn profile would have told her whether I was a likely prospect for her business. In fact, I’d expect her to ask an assistant to provide background information on every person she called. Who has time to call people they don’t know?
As I’ve gotten busier, I’ve learned to ask potential clients, “What’s your budget and time frame?” Business owners who have done their homework anticipate those questions. Some have a number and a date. Some say, “I need help making those decisions.”
And that’s helped me become more conscientious about doing my own homework before I reach out to anyone for anything. Being prepared is a way of saying, “I play by the rules.”
As you grow to a bigger stage, you find you need more ways to increase your income without adding more clients. Creating courses is one of the best ways to do this. My courses keep earning revenue for me, long after they’re created, promoted, and posted.
Check it out: My course on course creation can be found here.