Guest Post by Julie Wolk.
Imagine a tree without roots.
Doesn’t really work so well, huh.
Your business also needs roots. It needs deep, strong roots too, so that it can hold up when the winds of change blow and the doldrums of summer seem to slow things down.
The problem is that it takes focus and time to build these earthy foundations of our businesses, and so we tend to skip over them, charmed by the shiny objects of the marketing world . . .
“The one marketing system you will ever need!”
“Get everyone to say YES to you!”
“All it takes is this one simple mindset shift!”
“Make millions blogging!”
I know: I see them everyday on Facebook too. And I admit – I’m sometimes tempted too (when my eyes aren’t rolling back into my head). Could it really be that easy?
Well first, probably not.
And second, if your business doesn’t have strong roots – meaning focus and clarity around four key areas of your business – none of these shiny promises are going to help you.
The Four Roots of Your Business
If you are not strongly rooted in these areas, no trick in the business book is going to work.
Skipping the roots and going straight to designing a slick website, or doing marketing and sales, can leave you feeling confused and frustrated – and your potential clients too.
And yet so many people do it! I would like to help you avoid that pain.
So let’s walk through these four areas:
1. Your Money
The majority of entrepreneurs I meet are mostly or completely ignoring their money.
A lot of people don’t like “dealing with money” at all. Or, it might be that numbers, spreadsheets and bookkeeping programs make you glaze over. Or that tracking feels like it’s too much pressure or gets in the way of your creativity.
Not only that, we all hold deeply rooted and often invisible beliefs about money that are etched into our psyches from years of familial and cultural influence.
Here are some common beliefs about money, that when left unattended can actually block you from earning money:
- I’ll never have enough
- Having money requires working so hard I’ll burn out
- Rich people are greedy
- Money is the root of all evil
- I don’t deserve to make money
- Money is complicated or causes problems/pain
Can you see how if those were your beliefs, you might not actually be able to earn a good living?
Thing is . . . I’m pretty sure most of you need to make at least some money in your business (if you don’t then awesome, but I would argue that you still need to pay attention to your money).
When you pay attention to your money – even if you have to get over a big “ick” factor to do it – here’s what happens:
- You start to dislodge your stuck places around money by facing it and honoring it, instead of shying away from it
- You feel empowered as the true leader of your business, one who has their finger on the financial pulse
- You create an energetic container for your money to flow into, so that you earn more money. “What you appreciate, appreciates,” (says my favorite money teacher, Lynne Twist)
There are two key money practices you cannot ignore if you want to create a thriving business. One is energetic and one is very practical.
You need to explore and shift your underlying beliefs about money.
This is a long-term project. The first step is identifying what tapes play in your head about money without you even thinking about it. Then comes the work of shifting those old beliefs into life- and business- affirming beliefs about money – and constantly noticing when you slip back into your old ways so you can keep yourself on track.
You need to track your money.
Even if it’s just a simple spreadsheet (but ideally a simple bookkeeping program), please start tracking the money you earn and the money you spend in your business! Set a financial goal and track each month to see how much NET profit you earned (income minus expenses).
The coolest part is that these two practices are mutually reinforcing.
When you track and pay attention to your money, you start earning more, and your beliefs about money begin to shift. When your beliefs begin to shift, you start to earn even more money. And so on!
2. Your Purpose
Picture it: A business without purpose . . . wandering aimlessly in the sun-dried hills, wondering what to do with its life . . . Confused about what it does, who it benefits and how . . . Full of ideas and offerings, but not focused enough to make them happen. What problem do I solve? Who are my people? Where do I belong? Why am I here?!
Ok, I’m being overly dramatic, but I think you get the picture.
If you’re not clear on the purpose of your business – otherwise known as your niche – you can bet that others are confused too. This is not good for business.
And, when you’re not clear on what you do, it leads to all sorts of other frustrating questions like:
- How do I talk to people about what I do?
- What do I put on my website?
- How do I market and get clients when I can’t clearly explain what’s going on?
Your business’ purpose, or niche, is perhaps the most fundamental building block of your business.
When you skip this part, it makes everything so much harder.
But when you take the time to hone in on your niche:
- It will help you clarify what is totally unique about your business so you stand out from the crowd
- It will allow you to speak confidently about your work, know exactly what to put on your website, and market with more authenticity and ease
- It will help your perfect people find and hire you
I like this ecological definition of niche: “The role and position of a species in its ecosystem.”
What is your role in your ecosystem? How do you use your natural gifts to solve a problem for people? And who are those people specifically?
And how do you position yourself? How and why do you uniquely do your work?
Woven together, these threads are your business’ purpose. And knowing this, and honoring its organic growth and change over time, is an essential root of growing a successful business that feels natural to you.
3. Your Process
So you want to sign clients up to work with you for a six-month commitment because you’re sick of doing these one-off sessions and not having consistent work.
Or, you want to teach a yearlong group course so you can leverage your time.
Or, you’re still trying to find the words that show people how what you do is different from all other practitioners out there in your field and how you actually will help them get what they want.
All wonderful ideas!
But for people to make a big investment in your work, they really need to understand how exactly you’re going to help them. It’s not enough to tell them you’re an acupuncturist and you’re going to also do some moxibustion and cupping to help them feel better.
You need a process: A system that walks your clients down a pathway to the results that they’ve hired you for.
Here are some of the vast benefits to clarifying your process:
- Potential clients are more likely to work with you when they are clear and confident about how you will help them get results and see you as having credibility
- You feel more confident in your own work because you can actually see everything that goes into you creating results for your clients
- You get to create an incredible, unique system that is truly your methodology, based on your experience, skills, and philosophy
- This roadmap can be the outline for all of your business’s offerings, enabling you to design different programs and packages for different stages of the journey that all flow together and help you leverage your income
Your process does not have to be complicated. It just needs to be clear. Although it might be hard at first, try to define the steps you take people through as you work with them. What results do they tend to get each step of the way?
4. Your Time
My clients regularly ask me how they can better manage their time. Translated, this may mean:
“I am totally distracted by Facebook,”
“I have been putting off X project for six months now,” or
“I feel scattered and disorganized and don’t know what to do first.”
You might also have some resistance to structures and systems like calendars and goals. You are not alone in this.
The dance here is finding the balance between structure and flow. Structures truly do create freedom, and yet we don’t want to be overly rigid with ourselves, or beat ourselves up when we don’t hit our goals (no self-flagellation, please!).
That said, here’s what a little structure can offer us:
- Less overwhelm, more organization, and more confidence in getting things done in your business
- Clarity about what needs to happen next in your business and when you actually need to do it by
- A strategic and focused way of approaching your work instead of a hodge-podge of random activities
- Meaningful vision and goals that actually inspire you to get things done
But how do we get there?
The truth is that to really improve our “time management” and “productivity” (the outward desires of most entrepreneurs) we need to get at the heart of how we use our time.
At the core, our ability to manage our time well relies on things much deeper than simple productivity tips:
- How aligned are you with your work? Do you feel on purpose?
- What do you want to create? What are your goals?
- What’s your strategic priority? What’s most important to do first?
- Are you taking care of yourself? Are you giving yourself ample rest and refuel time so you can actually get this stuff done?
What these questions all point to is the need to take a step back from our busy work lives to slow down and figure this all out!
It takes some trust to know that time taken to create a plan and vision and set goals and priorities will actually help you feel less scattered and more focused on a day-to-day basis. But I invite you to take a risk and try it!
Our Root Systems Always Grow and Change
As trees grow, their roots grow . . . The taller the tree, the more robust the root system.
Over time, as you and your business evolve, you will need to return to further clarify and deepen your roots. This isn’t just for beginners.
Every time you want to change or up-level your business, it’s an opportunity to return to your roots and clarify. Whether you want to increase your client base, take your business online, teach groups, or hire staff, as you grow, your roots need to grow with you.
Julie Wolk is a business coach committed to helping purposeful entrepreneurs slow down and tune into nature and themselves to find the clarity, strategy and systems to grow profitable businesses they truly love and enjoy! For 15 years she’s guided talented visionaries to manifest the success and impact they desire. People love her down-to-earth approach and that she takes into account the uniqueness of each person she works with.
If you want support to work on the Roots of YOUR Business, join Tad as he interviews Julie about her new course that covers all this good stuff at 2PM MT (local time in Alberta, Canada) on August 2nd: HERE