I started my bookkeeping business in 2010 and it did ok for a few years, I could see the numbers rising so I was encouraged, I started it with a redundancy payment (the 2nd [it wasn’t very big] and I’d quit or been fired from enough jobs to make the job search a kind of a game so it was kinda OK up until then. Long story short, the world changed in 2013 for me. It stopped being fairly easy to make enough money to support myself. I stopped making a decent living and leads dried up. Are you doing the figures…that was 4 years ago. Let’s skip to now.
The Dream Most of us start small, on our way to Being in Business for ourselves. You know how it starts – variations of “I’m sick of this and I’m not going to take it anymore”. Most startups (people) start doing a bit of this a bit of that, a bit of employee work, a bit of selling online, all pieced together to be convenient and you trundle along at a fair pace to remain in the game, you know, keep the dream alive. I thought I was doing ok as long as I didn’t take on another full-time job – THAT would be admitting defeat. I knew that if I worked full time again, that will be that. There’d be no more time to develop my dream; it was the definition of giving up, failure. You fight ”the machine” in every way you can, at least, that’s how I did it, how I got to where I’m at now earning $8k a month which is the equivalent of $100k a year. I’ve earned more in the last 3 months than I did in the whole of last year so I have some knowledge about how to survive, how to learn and over stagnation and grow.
Sell or Die Making sales is at the heart of staying in business. It sounds so simple but as an ex-employee who had never sold anything, ever – it wasn’t a strength of mine and I didn’t realize I actually had to do it [believe it or not]. Getting a Lead System into place goes to the heart of bringing sales in the door. Some of us use Upwork or one of the others, I use a Quoting type of system where vendors are competing on price. I figure that’s where I sit in the scheme of things at the moment, in my rebuilding phase. In the next article in this series of Do Better Business, I’ll show you how to set your prices low, at their lowest so you can compete on price and still cover Cost+A Living Wage.
A bit about me: I’m a pretty highly skilled accountant with my fingers in a lot of pies – Photoshop, cloud-apps, accounting systems (I teach as well), website design, I know a bit of HTML and CSS, marketing and I design Xero system templates for a worldwide market. Whether you have a background or foreground like me or not isn’t really relevant. What is relevant is whether you want to learn how to get and nurture leads. Does passion matter? Well, yes, without it, you won’t have that belief in yourself, to keep pushing forward. Ever heard the expression, “if you can’t walk away from your business and have it function by itself you don’t have a business, you have a job”? It may be true but it’s ok to start with just providing yourself a job – you weren’t born and raised for this, you were taught to be an employee, not a business owner. They don’t prepare you for this type of journey in school, so don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re working up to it, right?! You bet we are!
The Lead Nurturing Process Leads must be nurtured. Nurtured, like cradled? Yes. Show you care. Go the extra mile to secure the sale. It starts by simply talking to people; being authentic. On liners, bloggers and all of those big money earners talk about nurturing those on their List using email but they are still doing live talks and events, even talking on the phone to prospects, just like us off liners or semi on liners which I probably am. I don’t do talks to groups of people because that’s not how I roll, but I could because I talk to as many leads as I can. I’m getting better at speaking, the more I do it so my advice is, speak as much as you can.
Find the Value you provide and make yourself heard Giving value to your buyer is more imperative now in 2017 than ever as the competition is no longer big companies its people like you who were once employees. Get better at making myself valuable and making yourself heard. Content like this that you’re reading now is important in the quest to make yourself heard. I’m happy to give advice away for free as long as I’m being paid for it too. This is the essence of online coaching and teaching too, have you noticed? Lead Magnets come in all shapes and forms, my lead magnet is my time on the phone to the people whom I think will come on board as a client, possibly long term. My lead system has made a big difference to my income since I invested in it in late December 2016. I probably only spend 5-10 hours a week calling and nurturing with a lot of payoffs being reasonably small to medium but the odd one… the odd one will make a $10k month a reality! Don’t assume that everyone is doing what you’ve just thought of; that it can’t be that easy. Please don’t think that everyone’s NOT doing it for a REASON. You can’t beat the personal touch. I’ll leave you with this, name one book on Sales that you’ve read lately…. anything…crickets?. Books are golden. Read the Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes and see if it doesn’t give you some insights into how to Do Better Business.