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We often talk about leaving people behind as you grow. This can be acquaintances all the way through close friends or even family. But it’s real.
For me, one of the biggest catalysts was when I realized I just couldn’t spend time with people that requested it.
The days of ‘grabbing a coffee’ or ‘getting on a quick 15 minute call’ were gone and with it was the version of me that could support doing so.
Honestly, it was harder leaving the old version of me behind than those that took issue with me not being available to them.
Old me had these thoughts: - I’ll never be so self-absorbed that I can’t give someone 15 minutes - I’m not some guru who charges for everything - I won’t be ‘that guy’ who pitches himself every chance he can
New me has these thoughts: - I am humbled by those that have paid for my time and energy that I can’t divert my attention for 15 minute calls with others often - The products and communities I have available are very valuable and I owe it to someone who’s struggling to offer them an opportunity to join - 'That guy’ helps a lot of people
When you’re starting out, free time with others is essential. But as time goes on and people see the value in your product or service, you owe it to those that have invested to dedicate more of your time to them.
This doesn’t AT ALL mean that someone has purchased rights to my time - they’ve purchased the rights to my offer and I dedicate the time needed to ensure that offer is fulfilled.
Whether you’re running a community, a course, a landscaping business - it’s all the same.
But let’s acknowledge that free time is a piece of starting.
Here’s the time allocation you should expect when you’re getting your brand or business off the ground:
Out of the gate, most of your time will be simply networking. This is where you learn needs, how you can support or help people, how you can design your offering and determine your customer avatar. All those marketing-type phrases!
When you identify a slim margin of people that fit your avatar, you allocate some time to prospecting and you may have a paying client or two who you spend time with, but most of your efforts are not compensated.
Over time, this triangle flips:
With a defined customer avatar and product market fit, your prospects come to you vs. having some revealed to you through tons of free networking and coffee meetings.
Also with growth comes the ability to offload prospecting and sales to others - leaving you mostly focused on your paying customers.
A sliver of time - as little as zero - is given to others.
This is an essential model to understand as you start growing your side-hustle or business. You will need to say no much more often - even if you LOVE networking!
The key to adding value is to focus on adding value. The key to feeling like a snake oil salesman is to focus on making money. It may feel like what I said above is contrary to this, but it couldn’t be more aligned.
When you are coming from a good place, then you attract others that want and need your help. As a single human with 24 hours in a day, you can’t be all things to everyone.
Therefore, understand that your time is valuable and those that paid for your service believe in you - make sure you do too. And then read #2…
#2: Skin In The Game
In lieu of 15 minute phone calls, I answer DM’s in IG or FB often with voice texts and engage in brief conversations. Almost all of those conversations are people looking for a cheat code. And the more time I give, the more they’ll willingly take.
At some point, I have to ensure my focus is on my paying customers. I have to understand that this isn’t prospecting, it’s philanthropy that I don’t have time for.
There are plenty of tire kickers out there - me included in certain situations! I just don’t ask for more than is offered for free while many do. They want a connection with someone in my network, they want advice, they want direction - which I can’t afford to give them. I have expenses, kids, a business to run. You’ll face the same thing at some point and realize how valuable it is to work with people with skin in the game!
#3: How Do You Want to Pay For It?
There’s a story I love telling: A man opens a zoo and charges $20 to come - no one pays. He lowers it to $10 - no one pays. Then he goes to $5 - still no one pays. Finally he opens the gates for free and the zoo is FLOODED with people.
While they are inside, the zookeeper locks the gates and lets the lions out. He then charges $500 to leave … and everyone in the zoo paid!
When you’re dealing with clients that want you for free or a discount, they fail to see your value. They know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. My question to those types of clients is ‘how do you want to pay for it?’
If $500 or $5000 is too much to invest for you, I respect that. But if someone can afford your service but doesn’t see the value, you may need to become a better salesperson - but also, it’s important for them to understand the true cost.
Ever do a home improvement project because you were offended by the quote given .. only to screw it up and have to pay the professional anyway? You want to be clear with your clients that their money invested with you is going to avoid time, money or other cost in the future. Those that understand that are your ideal client!
This video is 80 seconds long and will provide you with perspective that will change your day - especially if you’re feeling challenged right now. Caleb is a friend and fellow ex-pat here in the DR giving me this tour - conclusion? We’re all blessed!