Lots of my clients talk to me about something I know all too well first hand as an entrepreneur. They fear that they do not have enough money, it’s not coming in fast enough and it’s not something they can rely upon. Feast and famine, not enough money seems to go with the territory we have chosen for ourselves, that of being self-employed.
Don’t panic. You’re alright. I know it feels like **** right now, and scary, but there’s really no need to panic. Panic only makes it worse. What we need to do is re-group. We need to take stock. And despite the panic, we need to stop playing the short game.
The short game is one which perpetuates feast and famine in that it might enable us to access the nearest money and feast now, but the famine will just keep on coming back around unless we address the core issue and get that reliable money nailed down. Please promise me that this is the last time you will go for the nearest money, the easy money, the last time you’ll play the short game.
If you are a creative type, it’s likely you keep on inventing new things before you have established a solid core income from The One Thing You Want to Get Known For. I know, because I’ve done that. We have to stop being so slippery and morphing and changing all the time into something else before our broad client base has got a handle on who we are. That takes them more time than you can possibly conceive. We are early adopters, we see things and notice new stuff fast and we are all over it like a rash. The rest of the world isn’t like that. They are cautious. They like to watch first before they spend any money with you and they want to see the results that others are achieving. They want to see you walk your talk.
If you are still in famine, your desperation leaks most unattractively and no-one is going to buy anything from anyone leaking that vibe. It’s also likely you will want to create and launch something before you have an audience, a list or a tribe to offer it to. Wrong! All that time creating is wasted in the short game. Bring your creativity to growing and consolidating your tribe instead, pace yourself however anxious you feel.
How will you do that? Lots of different ways. Reach out online and off, via networking, podcasting, public speaking, webinars, newsletters and social media, or writing a book, or doing free and paid intro consultations. Give people a taste of what’s on offer. Ask for the business. Learn about marketing and sales. Apply your learning consistently. Bring your creativity to that and grow that list and keep them warm. Then you can offer them your One Thing and they’ll buy it, not all at once, but they will buy and the rest will follow in the medium term and, if you play your cards right, forever.
Just accept that making enough money reliably is going to take longer than you’ve got. You will run out and you won’t die. But if you play the short game over and over, you will exhaust yourself and you are never addressing the real problem. If you recognise yourself in what I’m saying and you’ve been self-employed for years, you’ve been playing the short game and/or shifting your offer in a way which satisfies your needs but meets no-one else’s. And in a way which has created these financial circumstances of lack.
Get something solid on offer to a warm tribe who love you for everything you do to help them and sell enough of your One Thing consistently so that you can pay your bills every month without fail. That’s what I call Base Camp. Get there first. Rest and recuperate there. Allow 2-3 years for this first phase. It isn’t boring. You can use all your creativity in persuading clients to pay you for this and you can love being with them and helping them. You don’t need to keep inventing and re-inventing your offering. If it’s good and solid, they will come.
Only once that One Thing is paying the bills reliably medium term can you think of offering version 2.0. Don’t go there now please. That’s another story for another day.
If you are in panic mode, strip back your offerings. Get known for one thing solidly for a couple of years. Give and receive, give service to your clients by doing it and receive their admiration and loyalty and referrals and cash in return. This is the medium game which leads on to long term next but most people I know have never got out of short term thinking and lack, because they insist on breathlessly creating the new every day. There’s no financial stability in that. My job is to keep bringing those people back to centre, to solid reliable dependable income every month until the fears of lack ebb away and are no more.
Then you can 100% trust yourself and your income.
Then you can relax and have a life.
Then you can expand, but only if you really feel you must!