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Wrong Question!

If I were to describe a TYPICAL first session with a solopreneur hoping to become a private client of mine, it would go something like this:

Self-bosser walks in and excitedly rattles off what they envision for themselves in their business… tells me how many people LOVE what they’re up to…. and recites compliments they’ve received about what they’re up to – name dropping when they can. =)   So far so good, right?

So then I ask, “What can I do?  Where can I add value to what you already have going on?

Finally, they’ll hit me with their “secret”… often even looking over their shoulder to make sure the office door is closed before they make the big reveal:    They’re not making any – or not making ENOUGH –  money. As they talk about all of the POTENTIAL they feel they’re swimming in,  for the life of them, they can’t seem to create a bridge to the PROFIT that should be theirs. Their question:

What am I doing WRONG?

This is the wrong question. So, I re-direct them with this:

Let’s not answer that.  Instead, let’s answer this:  What are you doing?

Yep. I’m asking what they are doing exactly… how they spend their  days.  It’s not because I think they’re lazy, or slackers, or anything of the sort.  It’s because I know that working alone …. often from home…  and even more often without a blueprint, accountability system, or detailed “game plan” …. is a challenge.  It’s because I know that our income – yours and mine –  is directly tied to how strategically we spend – and how ruthlessly we protect – our time.  Actually, I’m not sure I’ll ever recreate a more TRUE statement than that one. =)  So, I want to say it again.  TIME:   Your INCOME depends on how ruthlessly protect it… and how strategically you spend it. Period.

Most solopreneurs I meet are busy.   They feel over-worked and underpaid….  frazzled.  They’re hustling… staying up late… networking, tweeting, being “social”, blogging, sending emails, etc.  But, to no avail.

Maybe you can relate.  If so, I have a solution.  (Or, at least a HUGE step towards your solution.)  Tell me what you are doing.  Write down how you are spending your work day.  What ACTIONS are you taking?  What activities are you doing?  So, write down HOW – exactly – you’re spending your time:  a detailed TIME DIARY with your work day broken into 30-minute increments.

Then,  beside EACH activity, write down WHY you’re doing it. What specific result are you hoping that action will accomplish for you?  Next, look at your list and consider the following:

How many of your activities are centered around getting SALES?

Not getting your name “out there”…

not building connections….

not preparing for this or that…

not waiting on something…

not building a “presence”….

But – SALES.   How many opportunities do you personally extend EACH DAY -to a specific, live person- to buy from or work with you? How many sales conversations?  How many potential clients are you meeting with or speaking to?

I’m not denying the importance of that other “stuff”.  I’m  not denying that I do some of it.  But, if INCOME is an issue… then, you simply can’t ignore the fact that SELLING is the only way YOU get paid as a solopreneur.  You get paid when you sell something… and SELLING is the opposite of a passive activity.  It’s planned, active, and ongoing.

So, that’s where we start:  Re-organizing their time so that it’s focused on building their income. (i.e. Sales.)

Want another great income – boosting tip?  =)

Make a list of all of the people you’re networking with…. the ones you consider HOT prospects… the ones you’ve been taking out for coffee and buying lunch… the ones who seem super interested in working with you…. the ones you keep HOPING are going to – FINALLY – buy from you… You know who I’m talking about:  those contacts who are “MAYBEs”. =)   Make a list of them… and then tell me:

How many of them have you actually ASKED for business? I promise… a NO is much better than a MAYBE.  Because it releases us to pursue the next YES.

I’d love to hear from YOU about these two issues:  TIME and ASKING for the sale.  What say you?


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2 Responses to Wrong Question!

  • Another great blog post full of wisdom and counsel. I appreciate you and have a great sense of respect for you Michelle. I seem to remember you asking me a question via chat one day, “But what are you doing to actually MAKE MONEY today?” Spoke volumes and I think about that almost every day when I prepare for my day! Thank you for being you and using your gifts and talents to help others!

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Lea & Rolfe Carawan

Michelle has given us the much needed boost our team needed. She brought a fresh perspective that invigorated us and propelled us to profitable action. Not only is she exceptional at what she does, her practical insights are immediately applicable and her absolute commitment to our success is invaluable. Using her always unconventional – yet View Full →

- Lea & Rolfe Carawan    , www.carawanglobal.com

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- Lea & Rolfe Carawan    , www.carawanglobal.com

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Michelle has given us the much needed boost our team needed. She brought a fresh perspective that invigorated us and propelled us to profitable action. Not only is she exceptional at what she does, her practical insights are immediately applicable and her absolute commitment to our success is invaluable. Using her always unconventional – yet View Full →

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– Tory Johnson, Workplace Correspondent for Good Morning America, Founder of Women For Hire, and Best Selling Author of Will Work From Home: Earn the Cash – Without the Commute.

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In 2008, my husband and I DOUBLED our income following Michelle’s super -simple guidance and out of the box suggestions. I joined the WOW! Factor Mastermind to at least DOUBLE again in 2009. This was my first time joining a “mastermind group” of any kind. I was both excited and nervous. But, the experience of View Full →

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Life is good. I am endebted to you forever and I am so excited about all of these developments in my business I can hardly stand it! Thank you so much… where would I be without your support and guidance?

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- Steve Chandler, author of 9 Lies Holding Your Business Back

Michelle lights up the room with her energy, but she does something even more important: she directs your focus to results, performance and taking full, joyful responsibility for their success in business.

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