Tag Archives: process

Top That!

Top That!

Day 5 of 30 Days of Imperfection – Wait, it’s only day 5?!?

So yesterday, it felt risky to write my last post on Business Plans. But I’ve received good response (thanks!) and feel good about what I wrote.

Today, I don’t what the heck to write about. I feel kinda like a novelist who’s finally finished the 600 pager, but has been asked to write a sequel. Or worse yet, an entire series. With the same leading heroine. Ugh.

So what will the heroine do next? Whom will she champion? What new risk will she take?

What does the heroine do when she gets writer’s block in the middle of a 30-Day writing challenge? And really, this isn’t the middle, it’s the beginning.

Hum.

Yes. That’s it. This is about fear, too. (Jeez, what isn’t?) Can I write something good enough? Or am I doomed to write only 1 post a month, or a quarter that’s any good?

What if I can’t top that last post? What if I fall flat?

(OK I almost just deleted all of that. But, that would be *perfectionist* of me, wouldn’t it?)

What would the heroine do? Thinking of all my favorite fantasy adventure novels, the heroes and heroines tend to reach a point in the story where they get stuck. When all seems lost. Sometimes it happens more than once.

In Joseph Campbell’s writings about The Hero’s Journey, he talks about Crossing A Threshold — an adventure cannot happen until this is done…to pass beyond the known into the unknown.

This process of writing these posts every day, letting go of my judgments and just putting my words and my Self out into the world, a little each day, is my journey into the unknown, away from what has felt familiar and safe, even if painful.

So, I’ve crossed a threshold by writing these posts. What happens next?

Your guess is as good as mine. Stay tuned, as they say…

 

 

Business Plan Hooey

Business Plan Hooey

Day 4 of 30 Days of Imperfection. I’m going out on a limb with this one – YIKES!

I’ve been on so many “Boost Your Business” calls since I started my business. So many “6 Steps to 6 Figures” – type webinars. Countless workshops on Marketing and Sales. Books and books about Business Plans.

It’s overwhelming! And personally, I’ve thought pretty much all of it was hooey. (As well as being certain I was doing something “wrong” because even when I followed their advice, I wasn’t getting the number of clients or the income I needed to sustain my business!)

Credit: http://mobile-cuisine.com

Recently it has occurred to me that none of those classes, webinars or workshops worked for me because what I lacked was a deep understanding of my value.

How have I come to know my value? I practiced. I got clients. I lost clients. I got people to come to my classes and workshops. And sometimes I didn’t.

And through it all, I’ve learned my value. I’ve learned what I needed to know about what’s working in my business and what isn’t. (OK, it’s an ongoing process…)

As a Creative I needed to FIRST understand and truly KNOW that my work – what I have to offer the world – has value.

Creativity in our society is so often de-valued; creatives are used to feeling like what they express is misunderstood and not perceived as “worth” anything. The perception that what we do as Creatives is not as “important” as some other professions [read: Doctor, Lawyer, Software Developer, VP of Sales or whatever*] abounds and is pervasive.

So when trying to write a business plan, it becomes excruciatingly difficult for a Creative person to know what value their work has. It’s not in the mainstream, so mainstream rules of business don’t seem to apply.

That’s why I say: know your value FIRST.

What I mean is: sell a piece of work. Sell a session of your service. Find someone (ANYONE) who will buy it. Don ‘t wait to have the business plan in place; don’t (at this point) worry about what others are selling their work for. Get money for what you do.

It’s practice, this selling. How many of your friends/family/co-workers can you entice to buy your jewelry, your short story, your CD, your sketch? (And I mean REALLY BUY IT, not barter for it, or get it as a lovely gift from you.)

It’s practice. Just like you’ve practiced your skills in your art form. Try it: ask the next person you know who expresses an interest in your work what they would pay for it. Then say, “it’s yours, if you want it! I’ll take a check, cash, heck you can pay me via PayPal!” They may laugh at the funny joke you’re making, or they may say, “really? You mean it? I can have this gorgeous piece of work you made?!?”

What would it feel like to sell that work? What would it feel like to know that your piece has found a home with someone who loves it?

Try it out. One person at a time. Two, three, five, eight. At each opportunity, see how you feel. Has it begun to feel more natural and relaxed? Are you getting a clearer understanding of what people are willing to pay for your work? What happens when you ask for more?

When I started my coaching practice, I was hesitant to write the dreaded Business Plan and participate in Marketing my business. It was only after I had coached for a while (friends, friends of friends, other coaches I knew) that I truly began to understand the value of what I have to offer. What makes my coaching style and approach different. Then, and only then, was I able to begin to understand what I needed in order to actually build my business. Only now do I see the importance of a Business Plan. Only now am I able to speak confidently about what I do and how I help the people I serve.

Practice selling. Get a grasp of what your work can garner monetarily. Trying to figure out how to run a financially sustainable business with your Creativity without first having practiced your value will end you up feeling frustrated and confused. Know your value. Know what your work is worth. Know, truly know that people want what you create – want it enough to pay you something for it.

What you have to offer is entirely unique because it comes from you. It has intrinsic value because it comes from you. Your clients and customers know this, even when you don’t. Trust their wisdom and practice receiving your worth.

 

*A generalization, of course. People in these roles are creative in their own way, too. It’s just more generally acceptable to be a Software Developer than, say, a bass player.