Are you suffering from your own success as a self-employed person? Typically what this looks like is: you have been successful at building some type of a practice – as a massage therapist, a bookkeeper, a therapist, a health and wellness coach, a clairvoyant or an astrologer – you get the idea. Your days are full working with clients, and your income is pretty good and fairly steady.
But then you a hit a limit – in your time and your income potential. Then you feel stuck. Now for some people with full practices they don’t feel stuck – they feel happy and grateful, but they acknowledge they are experiencing a limit. And for those of you still building your business providing your service, you long for the day with this type of trouble. 😉
This is the danger of the success of self-employment. You’ve created a job for yourself. Instead of being employed by someone else to provide your service, you employ yourself. But you still have a job – meaning that you have to show up and provide that service yourself.
PLUS you have to do all the business aspects, too, like finding and enrolling the clients, keeping the books, staffing your office, buying your own equipment, paying for your own continuing education – and so on!
This is a terrific way to start and build your business. It creates cash flow, it gives you experience doing your work, you are helping people with your service, and you can feel a high level of satisfaction. Most people who are service providers do their work because they love working with and helping people. They wouldn’t want to not do that.
But over time, having a lot of clients can become a burden. Part of it just has to do with energy output. I know practitioners—acupuncturists, therapists, body workers, etc.—who see 5-20 clients per day, several days per week. That’s a lot of people, a lot of healing and transforming, and a lot of energy for the practitioner.
You can create a strong income this way, but you’ve also created a machine that requires you to work hard day after day after day. And if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. And you can start to feel like a slave to what you’ve created!
The other thing is that with this business model, you are still vulnerable to significant ups and downs in income. Now don’t get me wrong—ups and downs in business and income do happen regardless, but there are ways to mediate this with your business model so that you are more stable and not so vulnerable.
Let me point out two typical scenarios that I’ve seen—and experienced myself—that perhaps you can relate to. One is that when the economy changes, or summer comes, or holidays come, that “all of a sudden” your client load diminishes significantly, and along with it your income. I have clients who had busy practices for years that dropped when the economy shifted, and they were left confused and in financial trouble.
The other is that if you are really busy, you can also get burned out. So I’ve seen and had clients who, either consciously or unconsciously, started pushing their clients away at a certain point so that they could get a rest. What this means is that their income dips or even disappears, and unless they’ve planned for it, they are in serious deficit and trouble.
I know some of you reading this are saying to yourself: I WISH I had that problem (of too many clients for too long)!! And in many ways it’s a good problem to have because it means you’ve successfully promoted and kept your business going for awhile—bravo!
Ironically, I’ve seen even the fear—conscious or unconscious—of having this problem keep the budding practitioner from building a thriving practice. I know that may sound odd, but I have heard it over and over again in my conversations with clients and prospective clients: the worry that they will become overwhelmed with the responsibility and energy load if they become successful. So they actually create a wall between themselves and what they say they want.
Can you relate?
With the right business model, you don’t have to experience any of this. Of course you still need to focus, be committed, and do the actions everyday that make a business thrive. But they are somewhat different actions, with different offerings, with different outcomes and results.
You can be in command of your business, instead of a slave to your practice. When you learn to leverage your expertise, charge for the life-changing experience someone has working with you rather than for the hours you spend, and bring your wisdom out of your head into the world, you create freedom like you’ve never experienced before.
Next week I’ll go over a few of the key elements of a FREEDOM-based business model that allows you to do the work you love, and not get trapped as a slave to your own success. So stay tuned!