Many service based business owners look in the mirror and feel like they’re not enough.
You know what I’m talking about…
It feels like you’re still playing “pretend business” and you’re wondering if you’re even smart enough to figure this all out like it seems like everyone else has.
This convinces you that the only way to get clients is to do what works for everyone else - posting 3x a day on Instagram, blogging “value add” content, showing up in Facebook groups where you *think* your client might be and so on…
You’re listening to countless other business owners tell you that doing all that ^ is what’s going to work for you...so why isn’t it?
Here’s the truth: it’s not you. It is the strategies you’re using. They aren’t right for YOUR business.
And when you rely on strategies that weren’t built for your business, you are tricked into thinking that you are inadequate.
You start using these tactics as your guiding light; judging yourself on how well you’re implementing them or getting results from them...even when they aren’t working for you.
The Big Mistake: You’re Missing The Real Problem
The reason you and SO many talented service-providers fall into this try-all-the-tactics trap, is that you need clients.
Every new tactic that pops up in front of you seems like something that could work to get that next client in the door, to get you paid, to make it so you can actually make your business work.
So the REAL problem at the foundation of everything is this: You don’t have a predictable and proven way to get clients.
And when you’re constantly concerned about where your next client is going to come from, it’s nearly impossible to grow your business with abundance.
Scarcity takes over…
...and that’s when you make the crucial, but oh-so-common mistake: you continue to add on layers and layers of “shiny objects” to your business (think about when you’ve added on a digital product, started talking to a larger audience, decided you suddenly need to start a membership…). These decisions cost you money and are absolutely putting the potential of your business at risk.
Your drive is there, but your clarity is missing.
Your focus is in the wrong place.
You’re trying to make tactics work, rather than just going back to the foundation and simplifying: first get clients, get booked out, THEN work on growth from there.
You just need a system that focuses on getting that foundation strong.
One that’s actually designed for how your service based business operates.
Without it, you will continue to feel like you aren’t cut out for this.
We were there and we were sick of it.
That’s when we clearly saw that to create a sustainable service we had to focus on getting consistent clients. Period.
No more chasing down “everyone else is doing this” tactics. No more distractions that look good from the outside but don’t fill up a client roster.
Because there are countless service based business who are just getting started or are trying to get more clients that fall victim to this lack of focus. Let me show you.
Lesson 1 - The Tale of the Two Businesses
Especially when it comes to the creative service based industry many business owners come online (hello, you’re here) to learn how they should go about growing their business.
You’re promised “freedom”. And endless clients. And the ability to “make six figures without ever leaving your house”.
You’re inundated with strategies to help you… grow online.
“Get 10,000 blog readers in 30 days!”
“Get your first 1k Instagram followers!”
“Design your opt-in to get your next 100 subscribers!”
The problem is, those strategies aren’t designed for your business. They were designed for businesses that don’t have a 1:1 client model. Ones that NEED high numbers of blog readers, Instagram followers, and subscribers. Think about online education companies, like ours.
Remember, we don’t have 1:1 clients.
So our tactic to fill our courses and podcast listenership is going to look SO different from how we’re showing you to book out your service-based business.
But that distinction is SO easy to forget in today’s shiny online world!
So here’s what happens: You spend your nights and weekends totally crushing it learning strategies for a business you’re not running.
And so weeks and months and *gasp* years go by and when you’re still struggling to build your client base. You’re left wondering what’s wrong with you.
Because you did everything right. Truly.
You were simply deploying the wrong strategies for your business.
Those strategies, in and of themselves, aren’t wrong. We love them.
But they’re Long Term Strategies. With a capital L.
And you’re expecting them (heck, needing them) to work right now.
If you continue down the path of learning these sexy and fun strategies you will probably get some clients. I can’t say that you won’t.
However, what I can say is that it will feel like you’re constantly hustling for that next client. That you’re always having to refine who you’re talking to, how you’re getting content out, and who you’re getting in front of. It’ll be extremely difficult to track exactly what’s working (aka landing you clients).
You will feel like you have your mind in 17 different places. Your brain will never shut off.
You’ll begin to lack confidence that what you offer is any good and that maybe you aren’t cut out for this.
Are you beginning to feel any of that coming?
Compare all that ick to the small business owner that no longer thinks about where her next client is coming from (or if they’re the right fit, or if they’ll pay). When that business owner goes about her work she’s literally freed up an entire part of her brain that no longer has to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from.
She gets to think about fun things like…
“What can I add to this experience to make my client happier?”
“What can I improve in my process to speed up the project?”
“What do I want to watch on Netflix tonight?”
When that brain space is freed up you get to work on your business instead of just in it. And that’s the secret sauce, my friend.
The advantages of ignoring online (for a while) and focusing on perfecting your client acquisition process first is crucial for the success and sustainability of your entire business. But how do you do that when you don’t have any more time in your day?
Lesson 2 - Identify Your Tasks
Right now it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ve monopolized your time with tasks that aren’t actually revenue generating. You’ve convinced yourself that they’re worth it for the growth of your business, but your business needs money to grow, not an audience.
Before we can teach you strategies to land clients quickly you’ve got to clear up your schedule first. Here’s what I want you to do…
I want you to look back at your last week or so of work and right down the tasks you did. For every single day. If you’re memory won’t go that far back (#guilty) then just start today. From the time you stepped into your office to the time you stopped work, what were you doing?
Once you have all of those items listed I want you to run them through an evaluation filter. Ask yourself these three questions: (Put a check mark next to each task for every time you answer “yes”.)
“Do I enjoy this task?”
“Am I efficient at this task?”
“Is this task effective in landing me (or keeping my) clients?” i.e. there is a direct return (yes, $$) OR it is required/vital/necessary to keep your business running
Now we’re going to categorize these tasks so you know what to do with them.
2 CHECK MARKS OR MORE
For everything that got 2 check marks or more I want you to make a decision:
You either need to:
There are some things that you won’t be able to delegate (just yet), but I bet there’s more than you think.
BTW: When we talk about delegating here we’re not always talking about hiring it out to a VA or a contractor. There are plenty of systems and tools you can utilize to take something off your plate (like invoicing, email reminders, project management tools, etc).
1 OR 2 CHECK MARKS
For any tasks that only got one checkmark you need to make a decision:
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the majority of those tasks just need to be deleted. Without pause.
However, there are going to be some that your business might still need to have done to function (like bookkeeping). That’s one that you can easily delegate to a person or a software or just work on getting more efficient at.
Spend some time really evaluating each individual task. Repeat this process for every task you run into in an average week.
By the end of this exercise I want you to have taken tasks off of your plate so you can create time to focus.
This exercise will be tough. You’ll need to be able to defend everything that’s on your plate, especially if you just “enjoy it”. Trust me, I get it.
You might even trick yourself into thinking all those tasks are effective in landing you clients. When that happens, you need to find the receipts. I want you to trace back where your last few inquiries and clients came from. If they DM’d you on Instagram, how did they originally find you? If they filled out the form on your website, how did they originally find you?
Take it back to the source so you can begin to work with true data instead of what you think is happening. This is where the magic and ease happens.
You are going to be shocked at how FEW activities you actually need to be doing to actually get clients.
When you have this new focus and you are spending your time on fewer things the more effective you become.
What Life Looks Like Now
Once you’ve gone through this process, you should have a good idea of exactly what’s working to get clients and you can seriously focus on those areas.
A word of warning: it's going to seem too easy. In a word that’s telling you to do all. the. things. to market your business online, I want you to resist the temptation to keep adding tactics back in. Remember, the goal is to create a process personalized to YOUR business so YOU can rock it.
And to FOCUS on what will actually get you clients and get you paid.
We’d love to have you share what you’re deleting off your plate. We want to cheer you on as you work through this exercise and begin to shift your mindset on how you get clients.
We’re happy to welcome you to our exclusive Facebook community, The Booked Out Creative. You can apply to join by hitting the button below.