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What to Do Now to Grow Your Business in 2023
Episode 13322nd November 2022 • The Driven Woman Entrepreneur • Diann Wingert
00:00:00 00:29:23

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It's mid-November and the holidays are right around the corner. As a solopreneur, you can go all-in on a Black Friday Sale, take time off or just hunker down and wait out the rest of the year because "nobody buys coaching or consulting services in Q4."

Well, I don't believe that, for the record, and I will still be selling in December, along with enjoying friends and family time. But, there's one more thing I am doing to insure I start 2023 strong, and prepared for growth. In fact, I'm doing it right now, so I decided to record this episode and share it with you.

I am referring to my business audit, or "clean sweep." In episode #131 I talked about the need to manage our boundaries with time, energy, effort, money, and relationships. Here's the handy checklist in case you missed it https://bit.ly/5typeschecklist. The business audit shows you how to free up money, time, and energy in a very practical way that will start to release stress and overwhelm you so you have more energy and enthusiasm for growth in the new year.

There are 3 phases of the audit:

  • List: identify where you are spending money and time
  • Leverage: assess the ROI and ROE (energy)
  • Let Go: cancel, delete, put on hold to create space

You may feel some emotions as you go through this process, I did, but once they had passed I felt lighter and more optimistic about the future and I believe you will too if you try this strategy. If you think this is going to challenge you, do the 3 steps on different days and do it with a biz bestie for accountability. If you complete this process, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know how much money & time you saved yourself each month by DM'ing me @coachdiannwingert on IG or Linked In.

Spending time and money on things that are not serving you and your business is one of the most common ways female solopreneurs slow their growth, but there are several behaviors that also hold us back. I created a quiz with 6 different behaviors I often see in female solopreneurs that slow their success. Here’s your invitation to take the quiz, and get specific feedback, guidance, and practical advice about your particular challenge and more importantly, steps you can take to fix it.

Click on this link to take the quiz: What’s Holding You Back? https://bit.ly/obstaclesquiz

Hate quizzes? No problem! Let’s connect on Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/coachdiannwingert/ or

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/diannwingertcoaching/

That’s all for now, Driven Woman! Please join us next week for another amazing guest interview!

Until then, stay driven!

Transcripts

Well, hey there, driven woman entrepreneur, this is your host, Diann Wingert, and today is another no BS straight shooting solo episode. Our topic for today is what you can do right now, right now, this very month as we're winding up the year to prepare your business for growth in the coming year. You know, so many people tell me they're either scrambling to put together some kind of offer for Black Friday because, well, they just think that's what you have to do, or they're hunkering down and telling themselves nobody buys in fourth quarter, nobody invests in their business. Nobody enrolls in coaching programs or masterminds. Nobody spending money on anything business related right now. So I'm just gonna hunker down, wait out the rest of the year, spend some time with friends and family, and then I'm gonna hit it hard in January only. What tends to happen is we kind of get out of the it's not that we shouldn't take time off, and it's not that we shouldn't enjoy friends and family, we absolutely should, and I know I will. But in my experience with so many of us, if we dial it all the way down for a few weeks or even months at a time, we're making it that much harder for ourselves to get back on the horse and to get back to where we were, not to mention creating growth in the coming year.

ending a chunk of my November:

Now, what tends to happen over time is that you will discover you are s described to a whole lot of emails. You are subscribed to a whole lot of blogs. You are following a whole bunch of podcasts. You are probably also enrolled in quite a number of memberships, group coaching programs, masterminds, Facebook groups, you get the picture right now. I don't know about you, I'm just gonna speak for myself, but what I find is, The way those relationships tend to go is that I either sign up for something because I'm absolutely convinced I need it at the time, or I just heard about it and I might not need it right now, but I don't wanna forget so I go ahead and sign up because I don't wanna forget about it later when the right time comes. I know that I signed up for quite a few memberships during the Covid quarantine because I was locked up in my house along with everyone else. I felt quite isolated, and as an extrovert, I was more than a little bit lonely so those memberships really provided me with a place to feel connected to other people who were doing the same kind of things I'm doing. And it provided guidance, support, accountability, resources, and a buffer from loneliness, and that value was absolutely tremendous.

I have signed up for all kinds of no cost, low cost, and even high cost courses, programs, memberships, masterminds, pretty much all of the above and what I realized is that over time I started feeling stressed out because I wasn't able to maintain an active involvement in the majority of them. I mean, if you think about it, the average person is probably a member of, I don't know, 20 Facebook groups. But in order to really get a genuine benefit from Facebook groups, you need to be there often enough, regularly enough, and participate in a meaningful way, often enough for the people in that group to know who you are, for you to feel that you actually belong in that group and for you to be able to contribute to other people and receive from other people. If you are like many people who kind of lurk in a group until they need something, you shouldn't be surprised when you post that request if you get crickets because nobody knows you. And when nobody knows you, they're probably not going to feel very compelled to help you.

So that example of the Facebook groups, if you signed up for every Facebook group on the planet that's related to your niche or related to your target market or related to the stage of business growth you're in. Or for example, let's say you are a podcaster, right so maybe you sign up for the group of the software hosting program. Maybe you also sign up for another Facebook group for new podcasters. Maybe you sign up for the Facebook group for the recording software that you use and maybe the manufacturer of the microphone that you use, and so on and so on and so on. Well, it doesn't take any time at all before you are a member of dozens and dozens of Facebook groups. Now, unless you have figured out how to clone yourself or go without sleep, there's absolutely no way for you to be a consistent, regular contributor who is known to other people in the group and whose presence would actually be missed if you dropped out but in reality, if you can't show up in a group in that way, why are you there?

Now, if this seems a harsh question to ask, I have been asking myself this very same question, Diann, why are you a member of all these groups? Do you actually have the time, energy, bandwidth to participate in a way that's meaningful and sustainable? I don't wanna be spammy. I don't wanna be a lurker. I don't wanna be a drive-by where I only raise my hand when I need something, and yet, because I overcommitted to too many groups. That is exactly who I was in the majority of them. Same thing with signing up for people's email list, maybe you just want the free, you want that one opt-in offer, you need to hand over your email to get it and once you've got it, do you want to continue hearing from that person every week or month? In many cases, the answer is no. But if you think just getting the freebie and then immediately unsubscribing makes you a jerk, think again. Anybody who's in the online business space knows that they should be building an email list. I know it. You know it.

Now, if people are not opening our emails, if they are not engaging with our emails and if they are not benefiting from our emails, the way most email service providers operate is they're actually hurting us because having people on your list who do not open your emails, do not engage with your emails and are never going to be anything more than an email subscriber, you would actually be better off not having them on your list. And I know that this is a mindset issue to address too, because nobody wants to see their list shrink. We get really excited when we see more subscribers. We get really happy when we see more podcast downloads. We get really fired up and charged up when more people are asking to join our Facebook group are downloading our podcast or swelling the numbers of followers on our Instagram or LinkedIn accounts, but in reality, you are in business to provide a service to exchange value and to make a profit, and most of us did not really start our business with that much clarity.

So it's so, so, so easy to get caught up, to get swept up, and to get carried away with what I think are very rightly called vanity metrics. How many download, how many email subscribers, how many followers, but if those individuals, subscribers, followers, listeners, are not some percentage of them converting to customers, clients, patrons, whatever your business model is, you are not on your way towards a profitable business. This is an uncomfortable truth that I feel compelled to share because I see so many female solopreneurs who are truly brilliant, who are working so hard and are really, really struggling to make money. Last week on this very podcast, my interview with Tara Newman if you heard it, you will remember her quote that 88% of female owned businesses are not grossing a hundred thousand dollars a year. They're grossing less than that, and yet why are so many so-called business coaches talking about six weeks to six figures, or even increasingly seven and eight figures. This is a gross distortion of the reality for what's happening for most of us, and frankly, most of us do not need or have any idea what seven or eight figures actually requires.

So what I'm doing this month, a several stage system that I put together. I'm sure other people have created something similar. And actually, by the way, if you hear of a similar system and you think, Hmm, this is like what Diann was talking about on the podcast, but even better, I would love if you would let me know you can DM me @coachdiannwingert on LinkedIn or Instagram or email me, diann@diannwingertcoaching.com. I would be delighted because it's always a good idea to see what other people are doing, and if they're doing something similar and better, then I can improve what I'm doing in my business and what I'm sharing with all of you. So are you ready to hear the system, okay gimme two seconds to share this message with you and then I'll be right back.

y for growth in first quarter:

No shame, no blame, no guilt, just you're just looking at the numbers and then I want you to total how many of them are there, and for the ones that you're paying for on a monthly basis, I want you to total them up. What is the monthly expense of participating in these things and in many cases, you're not participating when we're being really honest. I know I haven't. I'm signed up, I'm paying, but I'm not really participating. Now, there's all kinds of reasons why we do this sometimes we sign up for things because of fomo. Sometimes we sign up for things because it's a good deal. Sometimes we sign up for something we don't even know if we need or want, but we hear that the price is about to go up and that makes us buy now. Sometimes it was a really, really good fit for us at an earlier stage in our business, and we have simply stuck around because it's become a comfortable habit because we feel kind of attached to it because maybe even if it's not meeting business growth needs anymore, it's meeting a social need.

Now I'm the last one to tell you what to do in your business, but what I am telling you is there's very strong likelihood that all kinds of money is going out of your business every single month that you are completely unaware of because that has been the case with mine and I'm also telling you that when you are signed up for all kinds of things that you're not actually using, even though it can be hard to end something because then you're kind of admitting to yourself that I'm actually not participating, I'm actually not benefiting, I'm actually not contributing. You have to get really honest with yourself, and sometimes you might be concerned about hurting someone's feelings or impacting someone else's finances, especially in the case of a membership, but you are obligated to be profitable in your business, and it is not your responsibility to worry about the profitability of someone else's, even someone you like.

So when you take a look at those numbers, how many of them, the cost of them, and really start to think, how much time am I actually spending with each of these compared to maybe what I thought I would, or if the reason that you signed up for something was because it offered so many different things that were appealing to you, that seemed really valuable to you. Like maybe there's a weekly coaching call and maybe there's a weekly mastermind and maybe there's a weekly hot seat and maybe there's a weekly “ask me anything”, and maybe there's group brainstorming and maybe there's body double sessions or accountability sessions and all of that seems like, wow, I get all of that, awesome for $59 a month, here's my credit card. But in reality, even if you only have one membership like that, and I'm very sure that the majority of you have several, if not many, there's no way that you can benefit from everything even a single membership offers you and that's where we really start to feel bad.

Because on the one hand it offers you so much, but on the other hand, you are really not able to take advantage of all that but a very small amount of what is offered now. Right after college, I worked for a very brief time in the fitness industry while I was figuring out my next steps. And one of the things that I remember when I was selling memberships to a very nice fitness center in Brentwood, California was we sold assets and availability. We sold the fact that we had so many different options that they could take advantage of and that our studio was open many, many hours. So we had lots of different options and they could have access whenever it was convenient for them. But in reality, the fitness business is profitable when the majority of people do not use their membership because people sign up for a fitness membership because they believe they will be the person who will make use of it.

And yet, when life gets busy, and I don't know anybody busier than solopreneurs, especially female solopreneurs, because we tend to wear so many hats in addition to our business, we actually start to feel guilty that what seemed like a good decision to buy into a membership, to take advantage of all of the options and opportunities that that membership affords us we actually start to feel guilty. We start to feel shame and we think less of ourselves as entrepreneurs because we are not participating, benefiting, and contributing at the level we thought we would and the level we think we should and that my friends is an energetic drain. Every time we invest in something, enroll in something, purchase something, buy into something we are doing so on the basis of our ideal self, aren't we? Our ideal self exercises for an hour every day, I know my ideal self does. My ideal self also meditates every day and journals every day, and spends quality time with my romantic partner every day.

But we know that real life typically doesn't look that way for 99% of us and so we feel guilt and shame. We feel inadequate. We compare ourselves to others, and we have a hard time believing that our business can grow because we're not fully showing up at the level it is now. And this is why I do the audit in November because the holidays can make you feel a little sluggish. I mean, there's the partying and the drinking and the eating, and most of us are less physically active. We're spending time in the car or on airplanes. We're sitting around on couches in living rooms and around dining tables, so a lot of us are feeling pretty sluggish, although loved up and satiated by the beginning of January, but none of that is ideal for going forward with our business and especially our business growth. So I love creating space in my business so that I can get through the holidays without a lot of clutter, with a realistic idea of what my actual financial obligations and commitments are. And with an honest look at what is working for me, what was working for me, but no longer is what I've outgrown and what I simply need to let go of in order to create space for what comes next.

Some of the things that I look at as well are not just ROI, like, I'm spending this much on this thing every month or every year, and how many clients have I gotten from it, or how many referrals have I gotten from it. How many discovery calls, strategy calls, free consults, how many podcast guests, you know, we need some kind of metric to measure. It can't just be, Oh, I really felt great about my business this year. Okay feeling good is nice certainly better than not feeling good, but what about the numbers? We can't ignore the numbers, otherwise we have a hobby, not a business, or perhaps a business, but not a profitable business, and it's awfully hard to grow a business that isn't yet profitable. Because the things that we're doing, the habits, the patterns, the blind spots that are keeping our business at the level it is are going to come with us when we grow. So we really do want to eliminate all of the unnecessary obligations and commitments so that we have more space, more time, more energy, and more spaciousness in our mind for what comes next.

So after making my list, after evaluating and looking at the numbers, number of groups, number of subscriptions, dollars spent on a monthly basis, I look at what software programs I use to run my business and then I have my assistant look to see if there are any improvements on the market where I might be able to save money or maybe consolidate and get a software that does two things or three things instead of having two or three separate subscriptions. I'm looking at some of those things now, I've recently made some change some of the softwares that I use to run my business every month in order to streamline, simplify, and reduce overhead. But in addition to looking at ROI, I'm also looking at ROE. This is a term that I borrowed from Tara Newman because she says, in addition to looking at the return on investment, the dollars, we should also look at the return on the energy we spend going to meetings, going to Zoom calls, going to master classes, going to mastermind sessions that is not directly impacting our business and our bottom line that's an opportunity cost.

That is energy that is not available for us to invest in something that actually would help our business be more profitable and or so ROI and ROE. Last thing I wanna say is many of us find it very, very difficult to end, really anything we've been doing for a while, we feel obligated. We don't wanna let people down. We don't like saying goodbye. We're worried that it'll hurt someone's feelings, and if you recognize that you are involved in something out of habit or obligation, how does it feel to you to make the conscious decision to continue? It's one thing when we don't really know, we don't really realize because we're not really thinking about it, that we're simply doing something because we're in the habit of doing. And I've been very guilty of that, or we're doing something because we feel obligated to do it. But once you've had that difficult conversation with yourself, once you have brought that to your own attention, how do you feel about making a conscious, intentional decision to continue knowing that the reason you're there is habit or obligation?

Now I do realize these are challenging questions to answer and I do realize that this kind of audit may be something that sounds extremely unappealing to you. So I will end this no BS straight shooting solo episode with two questions for you because I think timing is really important right. If you are frustrated with how many hours you are working for the amount of money you're earning, and the thought of spending another year on this same plateau is really challenging for you to accept, you owe it to yourself to do this. You really do because nothing changes on its own and because you are the boss, you need to be the change agent in your business. And the other question is this, you don't need to hire me to help you do this, although you could, doing a deep dive audit of my client's businesses hat's working, what isn't working, where are they spending their money, their energy, their time, and which, which of those decisions should be changed is one of the things I do in the Boss Up Breakthrough Program.

But you can do this on your own and if you know you should, but don't think you will, and you're not in a position to hire me right now, then get an accountability partner and do it with them. Two biz besties doing a deep dive into their own business and holding each other accountable, sounds like the best holiday present you could possibly give your business and yourself. So if you take action on this, I would love, love, love to hear how it works out. Again, you can connect with me through my website, Diann Wingert Coaching, and there's lots of other opportunities on social media. You can also send me an email, diann@diannwingertcoaching.com. Okay, that's all for now. Join us again next week for the Driven Woman Entrepreneur Podcast when I will bring you another fabulous guest and in the meantime, stay driven.