Monetizing your genius goes beyond just packaging your skills.
Shala Graham founded co-working space Creative Colony to provide a supportive environment and resource hub where independent creatives could nurture and develop their latest ideas. It’s since exceeded expectations, becoming a thriving, indispensable community that some members refer to as their “happy place.”
Here, Shala shares how she leverages her personality and 12 years’ experience as a brand strategist to keep Creative Colony growing and consistently evolving to match the needs of her community.
When a market is crowded with experts tackling the same topic, having a distinctive voice and approach is what helps you stand out.
That's how Emilie Aries has differentiated her women's empowerment brand, Bossed Up, and built a unique culture within the professional training space. Here, Emilie shares about the personal journey that shaped the mission of Bossed Up and has helped hundreds navigate career transition.
Building trust and rapport with clients is essential, both in getting the best results from your work and maintaining a strong, mutually beneficial relationship.
Danielle Tirserio of EVOKE Boudoir shares how crafting a luxury, intimate experience around her services has set her apart in her industry. She also discusses the principles that helped her grow a loyal client base and sky-rocket her photography business in just three years.
As a full-time self-employed person, I'm sure you feel lucky just to earn a living without punching someone's clock everyday. That's an accomplishment most entrepreneurs are still striving for. However scrappy your hustle, you're actually getting by with it; and you don't want to do anything that will upset the delicate balance of your financial success.
I get it.
Buuut… you and I both know that “getting by” isn't enough for you. You know you could be working smarter. Earning better. Living more.
And deep down you have this sinking feeling it will all come crashing down if you can't create that reality for yourself—soon.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
How often does it happen that you say yes to a new project or service engagement, even though it’s not something you actually want to do, then spend the next several weeks drudging through and kicking yourself for it?
This kind of situation is all too common among service-based business owners, who aren’t consistently landing the clients and opportunities they want and, instead, end up settling for what they can get.
This article was previously published on LinkedIn.
Few things are more nerve-wracking than running a project-based business.
Sure, the rush of new clients (and payments!) is exciting at first. But it quickly wears off when you realize your next paycheck might be your last for a while.
Even if your business is bustling, when your income is inconsistent you never have the sense of ease and flow you need to be able to relax a bit. Instead, you find yourself in constant hustle-mode, bouncing from one gig to the next, and hanging on by a thread.
As a solopreneur, I bet there are certain projects you take on for clients because they’re nice people and the work is within your wheelhouse. But you don’t enjoy it. No matter how “good” you are at this work, it always takes too much time; you find yourself drudging through and feel used up and empty by the time it’s finally, finally done. Once you hit send on your wrap-up email and collect your final payment, you’re so exhausted that you can’t even feel good about the awesome job you did or the money you earned.
You believe you have to work hard to earn well, so you continue taking on these projects. You’re frustrated, but there’s more to it than that. Here’s the thing you might not realize: while you’re all wrapped up in this busy work, you’re leaving easy money on the table.
When you choose to hyper-focus your expertise, it might seem harder to find ideal clients (because you’re inherently “narrowing” your options). Networking can feel like a fruitless endeavor. But if you know where to show up, the right folks will find you and know right away that you’ve got what they want.
Here are four places—some online, some offline—where you’ll be sure to find and have an instant spark with your ideal people:
The number one priority of every business owner is to stay in business. When you’re just starting out, the pressure to avoid returning to the cubicle farm can be so overwhelming that you put your passion and ideals on the backburner in favor of survival.
In most cases, that means taking on projects you’re not very interested in so you can pay your rent for the next several months. Or it could mean working on retainer with a client you aren’t the least bit excited about, because it’s an easier win than trying to land the kind of client you really want (or maybe you’re not even sure who that would be yet).
It feels like you’re selling-out, because this isn’t the inspired, creative and soul-stirring work-life experience you envisioned you would have as an entrepreneur. But you allow yourself to settle (for now), hoping it will buy you some time to figure out how to make your dream work.
However (and rather unfortunately), most folks never get to that point. More than a few years go by and you discover that things, though not ideal, aren’t so bad. You have a consistent flow of income. You’re no longer hustling for clients. There’s plenty of work to keep you busy and constructive. And, bonus, you’re still your own boss. You’re proud of yourself, of course, but you’re not really satisfied because this not-so-bad reality doesn’t feel like the kind of success you imagined. Instead, it feels like another damn job, meaning:
You’re not so naive that you think your business needs to be “perfect”, but you know where you are now is not where you want to be. So how did you get here? And, more importantly, what’s it going to take for you to get on the right track?
Does it ever feel like your prospective clients are all talk and no action? You’ve revamped your messaging, content and copy to resonate with the right folks. You’ve validated that what you have to offer is both needed and super valuable. But you’re still struggling to get potential clients to commit to your higher-investment service.
Because you know your work is worth the amount you want to charge for it, you'll be damned if you adjust down the price by even one cent. Still, after hearing “I can't afford this” time after time after time, you're starting to wonder what in the actual hell could still be missing.
When folks get excited about working with you, but then balk at the price, it means what you're offering isn't aligned with their current priorities. That makes it hard for them to justify the investment.
In other words, they may value what you do and be dying to work with you. But they won't commit, because you haven’t addressed what they need the most right now. To be fair, this isn't always an easy thing to figure out. People know what they want, but they don’t always realize what they need (so good luck getting them to articulate it to you).
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