We are in a very different landscape right now. Many businesses are struggling, some can’t DO business right now, others are watching their revenues decline. Let’ talk about the art of the pivot and how you can make changes to get your revenue and business back on track.
Networking events can be fabulous for your business, or a complete waste of time. And if you are an introvert, they can be torture. How to make it worth your while? Have a plan and a few tools under your belt.
Need some additional help? Download the Level Up Networking Guide here
Let’s just say it: Most women entrepreneurs struggle with pricing. We adore helping others, but when it comes to asking for compensation for that help? We fumble.
Sometimes we charge too little out of fear, sometimes we position ourselves in a way that doesn’t show our true value, and sometimes we accidentally trap ourselves in a not-so-profitable business model.
Does this sound familiar? Most of the women I’ve worked with over the years are undercharging when we first start working together. I’ve found that we as women tend to default to being the helper and the nurturer. We undervalue ourselves and this leads to under charging. Let’s work on that!
Here are 3 mindset solutions that will give you the tools to start charging what you are worth:
#1: Watch your language.
Women entrepreneurs are just as susceptible as their clients when it comes to those persistent yet subtle mindset issues and traps. Time to do some house-cleaning and find the thoughts that are holding you back.
First of all, make sure you own a growth mindset rather than one that is fixed and set. Be aware of the possibility for growth in every area – especially those you consider yourself already an expert in, as well as the areas where you’re sure you will never be able to grow.
Dr. Carol Dweck talks about the importance of having a growth mindset in her powerful, ten-minute TED talk, “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve”.
She is applying it to the area of teaching children, but her observations and examples of the effect of changing negative messages with the two little words, “not yet,” is a potent reminder of the power of words.
You can apply a similar strategy to banish stubborn thoughts that keep you stuck by reframing negative self-talk that begins with statements like “I can never,” “I can’t,” “I’m no good at, etcetera, to: “How can I do this?”
In fact, you may have even given your own clients similar exercises! Now it’s time to sit down and do those exercises for yourself.
A growth mindset sees problems as challenges, where a fixed mindset sees them as the end of the road. Failure.
- Where in your own thinking, have you sabotaged yourself with fixed-mindset thinking?
- What fixed thoughts do you need to change back to a growth model?
- What do you find yourself still saying, “I can’t” to?
- Your answers will act as indicators to tell you where you need to do mindset work next.
#2: Own your expertise.
Imposter Syndrome (feeling like a fraud) is common for everyone once they step outside of their comfort zone. If you feel like a fraud, how can you even begin to charge higher prices?
If you find yourself regularly comparing yourself to others in your field, and coming up short, then the odds are good that you are letting Imposter Syndrome run your self-image. No wonder you are under charging!
Tackle this problem by becoming aware of self-talk that sneaks in to tell you that you are “less than” those around you. When you notice those thoughts, replace them with positive and true statements about your unique strengths. You know why you got into this business, so take time every day to remind yourself of those qualities.
#3: Shed your embarrassment about earning good money.
Somewhere along the line, we may have gotten the message that nice people don’t earn money. Or, are not rich. Or, should not ask to be paid. It’s usually one of those issues that you may have picked up in childhood which can be difficult to drop.
Some of us go so far as to impose our own money anxiety on our clients.
For example, you may be assuming that your prospect can’t possibly afford to pay the fees you would like to be charging. So you don’t charge that much in hopes of getting a “yes.” But really, you’re not a mind reader. You can’t possibly know what your prospect can afford, or is willing to pay, for your services. Don’t assume.
In fact, what your client can or can’t afford, is really none of your business. If you are providing value for your services, then price them accordingly. The right clients will say yes. The ones who don’t see and respect your value, won’t. It’s really that simple.
Visibility means having your entrepreneurial business be visible to the audience you want to serve. This means being in front of them in any number of ways and creating a strategy for promoting brand awareness that is custom-made for the stage of development your business is in.
This week, I will walk you through two main aspects of visibility strategy: Scaling visibility efforts to match your stage of growth and how to make the most of your networking efforts.
Stage Appropriate Visibility Efforts.
Your strategy for creating brand visibility needs to be tailored to the stage of development your business is currently in, with an eye towards future growth.
Startup Mode: Your focus should be on awareness and feedback from customers so that you can craft your brand and offer to what your audience wants. Visibility should be one of your top priorities during this stage. After all, no one can work with you if they don’t know you are there!
Validation Mode: (The first active 1-2 years in biz) Your focus should be on positioning and developing expertise to cement who you are and what value you bring to your customers.
Scale Mode: (2+ years in biz). Now you are in a period of growth. You want to be seen as a thought leader to create more demand on a larger scale.
Multiply Mode: When you are ready to max out your growth and reach. You should be looking for ways to elevate your personal brand.
Here are a 5 ways to create visibility that are sure wins, especially in those first few years.
1. Network strategically.
We have all been to networking events that were a waste of time. The attendees were not your target audience, the event was poorly planned, or everyone was just handing out business cards. Not a good use of your time!
Do some research in advance of signing up to attend. Go online to their website and Facebook page, check them out on LinkedIn, find a few members and connect with them directly to get a feel for past events and the overall climate of the organization. Then decide if you want to attend.
To maintain momentum with your networking, shoot for 1-3 events per month to keep yourself in circulation. But not just any event – make it count!
2. Pick an organization to join and go all in.
Sign up and show up! It’s tempting to join several organizations that look promising and then attend meetings and events only sporadically. That does you no good for your visibility; in fact it may even be harmful.
Pick ONE group that you are going to commit to. Organizations like NAWBO, E Women Network, Women’s Networking Alliance all have local chapters. There are also many industry-specific organizations that might be a better fit for your business.
Choose just one to start and make a commitment to get the most value out of your membership by attending events on a regular basis, connecting with other members, and offering to speak or sponsor events to provide value to the group as a whole. The deeper personal connections you will make by investing in quality relationships have much more value in the long run.
3. Be seen consistently.
Choose your medium wisely. You may want to create a podcast, a newsletter, or YouTube videos, but the real value will be in creating content on a consistent and predictable schedule.
You are establishing your brand and consistency sends a message that you are serious about your business, are trustworthy, and can be relied upon.
If you can’t maintain a weekly schedule than appear monthly or bi-monthly. Whatever you choose, stick to your own schedule and you will build a loyal following. It will be small to start but will grow over time.
4. Be of service – Don’t just show up, engage! Connect with the intention of assisting others, not just asking for something. Actions will speak louder than words. You will add to your visibility by being seen as a connector and someone who provides ongoing value, rather than a taker.
5. Advertising? Be careful! This is probably the first thing that we all think of for creating visibility. But no matter what platform you are considering, this will be expensive. Wait until you know what you can afford to pay per lead and make sure your business can truly afford an advertising budget.
Don’t be shy!
The most important thing in business is being visible to your perfect audience. Develop strategies that are appropriate for the stage of growth your business is in. Reach out and develop quality relationships built on adding value for those you come into contact with. Take your time to identify the right organizations to join, and commit to being an active member of that community
I used to dread the thought of selling. It didn’t fit my personality; I hated feeling spammy or pushy. I just dreaded the whole process. But business doesn’t happen, and revenue doesn’t come in, without the selling.
The game changer for me was moving from selling to inviting. It’s an offer, not a push. Need a visual? Picture an open hand and an inviting gesture, not a grabbing motion followed by a clenching, yanking movement. To comfortably offer an invitation you have to have confidence in the value of your offer and of yourself. You have to believe that you can help a potential customer in some way. Help them solve a problem, or grow, or get healthy. You have to really know in your heart-of-hearts that you have a product or service that you know can help your prospect.
You have to be so confident in your value that there is no NEED to push.
What would you do with a friend? Invite, don’t push.
There are so many points in the sales process where, if you shift your thinking to offering an invitation, you are far more likely to get to the next stage.
Invite someone to connect on the phone for a Discovery Call. Or an initial conversation. Whatever you want to call it.
While on the call, once you have assessed their needs and if they are a fit for what you have to offer, invite them to hear about your services.
Invite them to choose among the 2 or 3 options you have presented. (That might sound like this: “Of the 3 packages we discussed, which one feels like the right fit for you at this time)? No pushing required!
Invite them to get started with you by scheduling your first appointment, even before you have collected any money.
If they can’t decide or are on the fence, or have to check with someone (and this is a show stopper for many!) that’s OK! Ask them how long they might need for the decision-making, and invite them for a “circle back” call to decide if and when you will be working together. Schedule that call right then and there.
Both of you want to know if you should continue the conversation or not. If they ultimately don’t want to move forward, or if they don’t show up for the call, that’s fine. They were not the right client for you!
None of these steps are pushy. None of these steps have to feel uncomfortable, awkward, or invasive. Invitations are polite and respectful of you, your product/service, AND your prospect.
Sales can be a comfortable and authentic process that feels easy and natural, just like any conversation with someone new. If you walk away without closing, guess what? You now have a new network contact that you can tap in the future because you chose to invite, not push, your offerings.
Speaking of Discovery Sessions, I’d like to invite you to join me to explore your business and how we can work together. Click here to schedule a 30-minute call. I’d love to connect with you to help you grow your business!