Let’s get into it folks. I’m talking about money, and when to reinvest in your business. It’s February, which means you should have received all of your 1099s and W-2s at this point. We’re getting ready to file taxes. If your business is responsible for quarterly returns, you’ve got about 30 days left to really get your act together and file those returns.
Now don’t get scared. I’m not going to spend an entire article talked about filing taxes. I’m sure there’s a CPA, or an accountant, or a tax attorney who is reading. They would be happy to write that guest post. Instead, what I want to get into is the mindset around what you can afford as a new business owner.
Sure you can’t afford to reinvest in your business?
It’s funny to think about the struggle if we’re starting out in a new business. I do have a tickle when listening to friends talk about their new business venture and suddenly gratuitous brunch outings are not a thing. #Entrepreneurlife can mean freedom and oftentimes we also associate it with living very lean, (a.k.a. broke). I am a huge advocate for the lean startup model and building efficiencies into your business early. You want to work smarter and longer with the resources available. However, I adamantly resist the idea that as a small business you don’t have funds to reinvest in your business. I’m talking about professional development here, folks.
Especially as a solopreneur-run business, one where your services are literally the ideas and knowledge that reside in your head. It becomes imperative that you continue to refresh that knowledge and stay current and relevant as time goes on. Your ongoing learning is what’s fueling the business’s growth and its unique selling proposition. This means you have to stay fresh in your mind, and in your skills. It’s one of the reasons why you’re able to write off so many things as business expenses. Think about the time that you spent going to professional conferences, or subscribing to professional journals, or literature. Anytime you’ve hired expert consultants to help you beef up one of your skill sets or to help you grow an aspect of your own operations. All of these things are helping you grow and develop, and are reinvestments in your business.
Reinvest in your Business so you can Stay Relevant
As a small business consultant and a coach myself, I fully endorse you to reinvest in your business. Next to my salary, my next largest expense line in my operating budget every year is going to be training and development. I splurge when it comes to hiring other coaches, therapists, consultants, attending networking events or professional conferences, association affiliations. All of those things are needed in my growth and development, keeping my mind fresh and my ideas current so that I can bring more to my clients. This is necessary. Not just because I want to stay relevant in the marketplace, but also because stagnating is the exact reason why I left Corporate America.
I knew it was time to branch out on my own when all the prospects above me on the corporate ladder were no longer appealing. I had outgrown my role as a Director of Training at a large charter school. And they honestly had nothing else to offer me by way of challenge. If I wanted to keep growing my skills, and stretching my potential, I knew I was going to have to look elsewhere. So now that I have my own business it would make absolutely no sense for me to get comfortable in the current knowledge, skills, or operations that I’m running. And the big difference now is that seeking out and creating those learning opportunities is completely dependent upon me. No one else is curating.
What’s the Price Tag for Solving your Pain?
So how does this relate to what you can afford? I recently had a conversation in a Facebook group about whether or not to put pricing on your website. Now, I’ve approached pricing both ways. I’ve listed pricing for my lower tier products. I have also removed pricing for higher tier products when promoting them to the public.
Here’s what I’ve learned. When you have something of tremendous value to offer people that gets them excited, writing great copy that describes their pain and problem, and a unique solution that resonates with your audience it’s something to be excited about. Potential clients who are looking to have a problem solved can easily be excited by what you have to offer. Especially if you position it in a way that speaks to them. And when they see a large investment oftentimes, that’s what gives people pause. Now notice that they were all excited about getting a problem solved until you ask them to commit to something. As a business owner, this is where we get to dig into our own mindset around money.
How valuable is your Time and Money?
If you know that what you have to offer – the solution you provide – is compelling, unique and valuable, there should be no issue charging for what it’s worth because it is unique, special and valuable. If you’re going to bring that much value to people, it behooves you to ask them to commit something as well. Now we do live in a capitalist society and so money tends to often represent commitment, but don’t confuse the symbol for the thing.
If I’m going to bust my ass to help someone get results in their small business or entrepreneur transition or as they’re striving to grow themselves and magnify their voice into a larger leadership position at work, I want to make sure that they’re coming to the table ready to put in the work. My clients are making an investment in time and in money, as well as some emotional capital in return for mindset transformation. It’s a lot of work. And I don’t show up to work in collaboration with my client unless they’re going to show up too.
Coaching is a team sport. As a solopreneur you’re always playing team.
In this dialogue I had around pricing and whether or not it should be front-facing or not, I reached the point that it’s a shame that people disqualify themselves from getting the support they need because they use money as an excuse or a barrier to entry.
Essentially when someone is saying that they cannot afford something what they’re really saying is that it’s not valuable enough to them. There’s a lack of commitment. It’s not about a lack of money.
I am a staunch proponent and believer that talented people can always create more money. If you have skills to bear and a world that is looking for your brand of expertise, you can always generate more revenue. What you can’t generate from thin air is commitment.
What are you willing to Commit to?
Commitment comes from a direct connection to what you value and what you see as important in the world. That’s what people are willing to put money down for. That’s what people are willing to commit to. If a service provider is offering you a solution that directly aligns with you achieving your highest commitment and expressing your highest values in the world, then generating the money is really a logistical speed bump, not a roadblock to success.
Years ago, before I had my own business, I used to love watching Suze Orman on TV. If you’re not familiar with Suze, she’s a former investment banker who published a bunch of books about money management for the average person, and she had a TV show for some time with a segment called, “Can I afford it?” Unsuspecting viewers would write to her telling her a little bit about their current financial situation and then also expressing how much they wanted to purchase a large or high-ticket item. These episodes were hilarious. You have people calling in talking about being in a $100,000 worth of student loan debt, having a car payment, a lot of credit cards, and then asking Suze if they could buy a new motorcycle, and of course in that situation, the response is going to be “No, you cannot afford it.”
Because “Affording” goes right back to Commitment. Suze’s premise for the show is that people are committed to being financially free. That means lowering debt and increasing income in pursuit of generating wealth. And if you keep digging yourself into a hole, that is you sacrificing your commitment. With every purchase we show the world what we value and what we are committed to.
Can you afford not to Commit to your own Success?
In the same way if I’m on the phone with a potential client and they tell me they can’t afford it right now, the undertone of that conversation, the real words behind what they’re saying, is that investing in themselves isn’t what they’re committed to at this time. That whatever it is they value in that moment in time and space in their life is not worth investing in, or committing to. It’s not that my price is too high, its that the commitment to what I provide is too low. It’s not in alignment with their values.
So, how does this relate to your business? Anytime you’re thinking about whether to reinvest in your business, additional services, learning and development for yourself and you’re hit with that large price tag – maybe a mastermind group that you’ve been dying to join, or hiring a premier coach to help you get to the next level –
Instead of asking yourself, “Can I afford it?” Why not start asking yourself, “Is it in line with my commitment?”
When you’re on the discovery call with a potential consultant or a coach, they’ll be prepared to coach you through “What is your highest commitment?”, “What do you value?” and “How important is it for that problem to be solved?” If you’re honest about those things then whether or not to move forward with a particular service offering or investment in your business will be easy. But if you keep lying to yourself, then you’re going to be constantly coming against “I can’t afford it.”
Can you afford to keep doing what you’re doing without getting results?
And can you afford to not meet your full potential?
Can you afford to not stay relevant in your industry?
It’s not about the money. It’s about your commitment and what you value.
Have you applied to Side Hustle Intensive yet?
If you are committed to growing your business and making a huge impact in the world this year, then I highly encourage you to apply for the Side Hustle Intensive. We still have one more day of taking applications for the February 2020 cohort and no, the price is not going to be found on the information page. Get clear on what you’re committed to. And if it sounds like this program is the place for you to make good on your word, submit an application, and we’ll talk through what that could look like.
It’s simple. Can you afford to stay in the same place that you’ve been standing for the next 6 months to a year in your business? If not, then it’s time to grow.