Recently, I was interviewed by Dr. Tera Maxwell on her ‘Tera Awards for the Top 20 Conscious Entrepreneurs’ (Tera, in fact, honoured me with the award as one of her ‘top 20’). On that call, Tera asked me the question, ‘What was the “tipping point” in your business?’ I told her that it was the moment I decided to build a team, rather than continuously try to do everything myself. From that point, my business took off, and I went from being a whopping £40,000+ in DEBT to being debt-free and financially ‘relaxed’. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not what I would call ‘rich’ by any means. But what I do have is a sense of flow and ease in my business – and my life.
But arriving at this tipping point required that I go through some significant inner changes. I started out in what I would call a ‘Scarcity’ mind-set. My relationship with money was strained at best. I saw money as a ‘necessary evil’ and resented the fact that it always seemed to have a stranglehold over me. For decades I had bounced in and out of debt – in much the same way as my weight had gone up and down from yo-yo dieting (I mention this because I’ve come to believe that the two are definitely related, at least in my own life).
Both my dysfunctional relationship with money and my Scarcity mind-set were holding me back – not only in my business, but in my overall life. But the ‘inner changes’ really began to unfold as I started to discover and understand ‘The 7 Graces of Marketing’ back in 2009. Today, I’d like to share some of the story of my own ‘tipping point’, and how it came about as I moved from a mind-set of ‘Scarcity’ to one of ‘Abundance’, and how I redefined my relationship with money.
Making the Shift from Technician to Entrepreneur
To understand this story, you’ll need a little bit of context. I started designing and delivering book launches for clients in 2009. During the first year, I would train my clients, their webmasters and their admin assistants how to do all the ‘legwork’ for the launches. After doing a few launches like this, I realised that, in training my clients’ teams, I was spending an excessive amount of time saying the same thing over and over again to people who had no vested interest in my business, and with whom I would be unlikely to work again. Furthermore, I continuously found myself having to justify my strategies to people who were not marketers, and who were not ultimately answerable to me, as they were being paid by my clients. Invariably, I ended up having to fix a lot of errors and tie up a lot of loose ends.
Then I realised that – in the words of Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth Revisited -I was thinking like a ‘technician’ instead of an entrepreneur. I viewed myself as the ‘coach’ that was being hired by my clients to train, teach, fix and do – instead of manage and deliver. Because of this, I was not only running myself ragged, but I was never able to standardise the quality of my launches, because I was always working with novice teams who did not know (and often didn’t really care) about the technical and strategic architecture of a successful book launch.
Finally, in October 2010, I woke up one day and vowed I would NEVER train anyone else’s hired-help again, and that I would assemble my own team of skilled and motivated people instead. And that was the moment when I shifted mentally from being a ‘technician’ to being an ‘entrepreneur’.
The Entrepreneur’s To-Do List
But while my brain had made the shift, the actual restructuring within my business didn’t happen overnight. There were many things on my entrepreneurial ‘to-do list’ that had to be addressed before this change could take place:
- First, I had to break down the job roles. What were the roles I no longer wished to perform myself? What jobs had I been training others to do? What type of people did I need for these jobs? Who did I know already who could do these jobs with little or no training from me? What jobs would I continue to do myself?
- Next, I had to define the systems. How did I want each member of my team to do their job? What templates would we need to create so we could guarantee consistent delivery on every project?
- Then, I needed to look at my business structure. How much would I pay for each of the jobs? Would the people I hired be employees or contractors? How could I protect myself against the inevitability of people coming and going? Practically speaking, how many launches could we offer each year, and how far apart would they need to be to ensure we could deliver them effectively (and without going insane)?
- And lastly, I had to ask the all-important questions about the product offer itself. How much would I need to charge the client for these services, so I could actually PAY my team – and myself? How would I justify this cost to the client, and ensure a return on their investment? What exactly would that return ‘look like’ for them? How would I ensure my clients felt they’d got their money’s worth?
Just four steps might seem easy enough. And it actually IS easy when you are in the right mind-set. But in my experience, many independent business owners stay stuck in the ‘technician’ phase of their business way too long because they cannot make the leap into the headspace of being an entrepreneur for one simple reason:
They have a Scarcity mind-set instead of an Abundance mind-set.
Scarcity vs. Abundance – Two Ways of Seeing the World
One of the biggest factors that holds business owners back is their own belief in scarcity. For example, I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard business owners say, ‘Yeah, I wish I could hire someone to help me, but I can’t afford it.’ This kind of thinking can keep a business stuck for years, as the business owner continues to do all the legwork of the ‘technician’ instead of rising to the position of being the person who is going to cultivate and develop the business itself.
Another common type of scarcity thinking comes in at Step 4 of the ‘to-do list’: setting the price points for our services. Many independent business owners (especially those who are one-person operations) get totally freaked out by the task of setting their prices. They worry they are charging too much, so tend to charge too little. And while I’m not suggesting we over charge for our products and services, what is absolutely essential is that we price them according to the level of service and value they offer our customers and clients.
For example, when I walk my clients through the benefits of doing a book launch, I make sure they see it within the context of their whole business, rather than simply looking at the potential monetary return on book sales. The truth is very few of our clients will sell enough books to pay for their marketing campaign; however, if we build their strategy around their whole business, they will definitely see a financial return from their work with us. As an ethical business owner and ethical marketer, it is 100% MY responsibility to be able to demonstrate the value that working with us will bring (or won’t bring!) to the client, and to only recommend products and services that fit within the context of their business. It is MY responsibility to create a variety of offerings that can address a range of needs and budgets, so that what the client receives is ‘fit for purpose’ AND my team are paid appropriately for the level of skill and the time they bring to the project.
Thus, setting the prices for our offers is not really about money – it’s about FLOW. It’s about making sure everyone feels served, respected and appreciated. If we get stuck with the questions, ‘How much should I charge?’ or ‘would people really pay me that much?’ it means we’re getting snagged by our own Scarcity mind-set.
A New Set of Questions to Ask Ourselves
Scarcity is stuckness; Abundance is movement. If we want to create a tipping point in our business – to see it grow and blossom – we need to step out of our Scarcity thinking and look at money with different eyes. Instead of allowing Scarcity to keep us stuck by saying, ‘I can’t afford to pay a team’ or ‘I can’t possibly charge that much for my services’, we need to open ourselves up by asking ‘abundant’ questions:
- How many people can I make happy by hiring them to work for my company?
- How much happier will my clients be with a whole team of skilled and motivated people to support them?
- How much happier will I be with others to help me (instead of being a slave-master to myself)?
- How much better can I deliver these services to my clients with the help of a team?
- How many more clients can I serve because there are more people working for them?
Abundance is Naturally Expansive
In my book The 7 Graces of Marketing, ‘Scarcity’ is one of the ‘7 Deadly Sins’ of marketing, because scarcity marketing has contributed significantly to over-production, over-spending, waste and debt on a global level. The ‘antidote’ to the Deadly Sin of Scarcity is the ‘Grace of Abundance’, which I define as ‘the fundamental belief that there is enough for all in this world when we live in harmony and rhythm with the natural pace of the Planet.’ In the book, I also discuss ‘the 7 Key Relationships’ that affect the way we do business and marketing. One of these relationships is ‘Our Relationship with Money’. The more I have come to understand the Scarcity/Abundance axis, as well as the subtleties of my own relationship with money, the more successful I have been in both my business and my life.
Living in a state of Abundance has nothing to do with how much you own; it has to do with how much energy you are distributing. For example, I LOVE it when I pay members of my team. I love creating new products and figuring how the money flowing in will then flow out to different people. But if we think we are keeping ourselves ‘safe’ by holding tightly onto our money instead of seeing how it can work for us, we will only end up limiting our businesses. When we think expansively, doors start to open for us. When we think restrictively, doors shut in our face. Spending recklessly is not a sign of an abundant mind-set; but being afraid to give – to pay forward – is often a sign that Scarcity thinking has a stranglehold over us. And when this happens, it becomes very difficult to move beyond our feelings of helplessness and impoverishment.
True wealth – inner and outer -comes gracefully to us when we boldly step into a mode of giving, generosity and personal responsibility.
I hope my ‘tipping point’ story has given you some food for thought this weekend. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this important topic, so do be sure to leave a comment before you go.
AND…if you’d like to hear the interview I did with Tera Maxwell on this subject, along with interviews from 19 other conscious entrepreneurs (for free), just register for the ‘Tera Awards for the Top 20 Conscious Entrepreneurs’ at http://www.teramaxwell.com/top-20-tera-award-featuring-lynn-serafinn/?ap_id=lserafinn
Thanks for reading!
28th February 2014
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.
Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)