I can still remember the exact moment I decided to start a coaching business. It was 2008 and, like many creative businesses, my talent management agency Plum Creative was hit hard by the recession. Barring a miraculous economic turnaround, my days were numbered. It was a pretty crappy feeling!
Thankfully, I was a part of a wonderful accountability group (which included a book keeper, an IT specialist, and a magazine sales person; no creatives) and it was during one of our meetings that my game-changer emerged. The business coaching idea was far from fully formed; it felt wildly preposterous, but it felt right.
Fast-forward 7 years and one of the things I love to do most is help people realize and execute their business game-changers.
So, if you’re ready to feel more aligned with your unique gift, find more meaning in your work, and make more money doing what you love, read on for 3 ways to find YOUR business game-changer.
1) What do you most love to do?
Being a freelancer or business owner means you have to wear lots of hats, right? While that’s always going to be true, the earlier you figure out when you’re operating in your zone of genius (what you love to do most), and when you’re wasting precious time and energy, the sooner you can figure out what to outsource and how. Not sure what your zone of genius is? That’s OK.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- When am I most in my flow? This is when you lose track of time and would do it all day for free, you love it so much. Figuring out how to make money from being in your flow is the definition of success, so dig deep!
- What activities allow me to make money, easily and quickly? Have you ever been paid for something and thought, “Well that came pretty easily”, while other jobs feel like a labor of love? Dig deep into your memories and I guarantee you’ll start to see patterns emerging. Write them down in two columns and look for the common thread in those easy wins. What were you doing? For whom? Where could you find more of those people and jobs?
- What do people come to you for? Before I became a coach, people always came to me for advice. I couldn’t see a direct path to a career at that time (except perhaps a therapist or agony aunt!), but a way emerged as my career in creative services progressed. Don’t worry if it’s not linear. Just ask yourself what people always come to you for and write that down.
2) Who do you want to work with?
One of the biggest disservices we do to ourselves as independent creatives and business owners is taking whatever client and project comes along. If you want to be more discerning about who you work with, do this simple exercise:
Review past clients and grade them. Take a piece of paper and list every client and job you’ve ever had and grade them. A+ being the best and F being you’d never work with them again. Now look for the traits the A and B client had. Perhaps they were similar types of projects, or a certain niche. Or maybe it was the way they briefed and worked with you. Perhaps it was a personality type you did particularly well with. Write down any thoughts or words that come to mind (free associating is a great way to get around the rational mind). Now create a profile of your ideal client. Having and holding a clear picture in your mind of who you want to work with has an almost-magical effect. Suddenly more of those people and opportunities start coming to you, and less of the F clients even approach you. Try it!
3) What are your offerings?
OK, you now know (or are closer to knowing) what you’re doing when you’re operating in your zone of genius. You also know (or have an inkling) who you love to work with. Now, the question is, what do you want to do for them? Most of us offer WAAAAYY too many services because we can do them. Repeat after me “just because I can, doesn’t mean I should”.
Limit yourself to a few services that you can present (and even package) in a compelling and cohesive way. The outcome is that you will be more focused and effective, and your ideal clients will know exactly how they can work with you and what they need to do to hire you. Magic!
Now, I realize it all sounds easy when I put it like this. I also know it’s a process that involves reflection, realizations that might feel confronting, and comfort-zone challenging actions. Which is why I’m here to help! Let’s chat to discuss how I can help you transform the way you position, market, and talk about your creative talent. Click here now to get started.