Women in Leadership

3 Tips to Put the Profit Back in Your Purpose

Elizabeth Davis asked:

Copyright (c) 2008 Elizabeth Davis

Yesterday, a client called me in a panic about the state of her finances. ‘What is causing such a talented, experienced, bright woman such money misery?’ I wondered.

As I contemplated her situation, my own history with money, and that of the hundreds of business women I’ve coached over the years, I realized that there is an inner process that must be happening simultaneously with specific, time-tested outward actions if you are going to have BOTH purpose AND profit in your business.

Here are my TOP 3 TIPS for creating more purpose AND profit in your business:

#1 Stop making ‘work’ a four-letter word.

Work gives our lives meaning. For many of us, work is one of the primary ways we express our life purpose. However, I’ve noticed something very interesting. Here’s the hypothetical scenario: “Julie” is 36 and married, with two young children. She has just started a home-based business selling nutritional products. She is having trouble juggling the schedule of her kids with her own business responsibilities.

As Julie’s coach, I suggest she hire an administrative assistant (easily done by posting an ad on Hourly rates range from $8 hr – $20 hr). She balks. “How can I afford that? I’m not making much money in my business yet.” I ask her, “How exactly do you make money in your business?” She says, “Well, staying in touch with my current customers and finding new ones.” “Right,” I say, “so where is your time best spent?” Julie responds, “Marketing to my current customers and ideal prospects.” Uh-huh. “So, how about doing that?” I say. “But it’s so much work,” she says. Uh huh.

When we do the REAL work in our businesses, which consists primarily of delegating tasks that are not our area of expertise and spending our precious time letting our prospects and customers know about what we’ve created to make their lives easier (that is the goal of EVERY authentic business – making the life of your customer EASIER with a better hand soap, a better vitamin, a better home study course, a better workshop, etc.), we begin to not only PROFIT, we feel more connected to what we are doing and why we are doing it – our PURPOSE.

Are you avoiding the real work of your business with lots of nitpicky tasks? What is this costing you? At a deeper level, what does this distraction allow you to do? That’s right, HIDE OUT. When you spend your time creating a new product, publishing a new book or improving your marketing campaign, you are definitely not hiding out. You are showing the world who you really are. And that’s what Julie is afraid of – succeeding and being seen. Which leads me to Tip #2.

#2 Determine your ‘Visibility Edge’ and stretch it

How much spotlight can you handle before you start to retreat? Is your blushing brought on by a simple compliment about your lovely blouse or is it a full-out panic attack about stepping on stage or calling the local TV station for an opportunity to appear on their morning news program? Each of us has a ‘visibility edge’ – the limit to which we will allow others to see, hear and applaud us before we stop doing the necessary ‘work’ to be seen, heard and valued by our target market. (See Tip #1.)

What is one thing you can do today to move your ‘visibility edge’ out a little bit further? (I asked my personal assistant to contact the local radio station about my appearing on Valentine’s Day to do ‘romantic compatibility’ hand analysis readings for the listeners. We’re waiting to hear back and I’m excited. If this one doesn’t pan out, there are always more. BTW – I make up these ideas and pursue them – which takes me to Tip #3.)

#3 “Ask For Forgiveness, Not Permission”

Grace Murray Hopper, a computer programmer and the inventor of the COBOL program, was quoted as saying, “It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” I interpret this to mean that, in your business, it is often easier to move forward with your visions and goals when the inspiration hits you than it is to wait around for someone to tell you, “Yes, darling, you can have what you want.”

In Julie’s situation, the nutritional company she represents won’t let her put up her own web site. So instead of asking their permission to create an informational web site on nutrition fundamentals, Julie just did it, with a link that connects people back to the nutritional company. Julie honored the policy of the company but created a solution that not only increases the company’s sales, but creates an additional profit stream for Julie in an area where her purpose as the “Family Healer in the Spotlight” can come alive.

If you are in a financial rut, these are my three challenges to you:

1. Work on the PROFIT tasks and delegate the rest. Do what makes money FIRST each day, not last.

2. Determine your ‘visibility edge’ by writing down the last time you really showed up publicly – whether on a teleclass, a radio or TV program or in print. What is ONE thing you can do before the week is out to bring you and your business some purpose-full publicity?

3. What is the BIG thing you need to give yourself permission to do? What will it take to give yourself permission NOW? What kind of person will you have to become to not wait for someone else’s approval? Set a deadline and go for it!

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