Feast and Famine

How do you deal with feast and famine in your business?
All businesses have feast and famine periods, some months where you are making loads of money, and some where you make none. Maybe you do a big launch so you get everyone paying up front, but then you have to deliver the course. Or you have the summer holidays off, or your business is seasonal.
Often costs are much more consistent, as your website etc are charged monthly. Do you know how to plan for this fluctuation in revenue in your business? Or does the yoyo income make you feel ill with worry? And then do you think you might not be able to pay the bills?
You need to have a plan in your business for the times when there isn't work. It is a fact in a freelance business, there is no getting away from it. Some months are just leaner than others. But you need to make sure this isn't a surprise to you and that you can manage to cover your costs.
So get clear on what your outgoings in your business are,...
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How to earn more in your small business

2021 has started off being a tough year. We thought we'd left behind some of the woes of 2020, but unfortunately, that's not the case. And lots of small businesses are struggling.

If you are struggling with managing homeschooling, your business and all the other demands at home, you are not alone. The uncertainty can make it very difficult to plan anything and balancing your energy can be really important.

Also, if you are just working all the time (maybe you don't have kids but are stuck on your own at home), there is a temptation to just work all the time, and never have a break.

Look at what brings in the most money with the most ease in your business. If you offer a 1:1 service, could you do more, rather than sell something like a course, which won't get you much, but a 1:1 would net you more.

Do short term things if you need the money right now. Go out to your "hot" leads - these are mostly existing or previous clients or ex-colleagues. Ask them if they know anyone who needs...

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5 ways to stop discounting your services

So today I want to talk to you about five ways to avoid discounting when talking to a client. 

Picture the scenario, you send a proposal to a client and the client says they can't afford that. And the And you immediately offer to discount with no reason to do so.  Instead, take a deep breath and do one of the following 5 things:

  1. Ask the client what the most critical thing that they need doing is.  If they are a new client, it might be that they haven't seen what you can do yet, they might be worried that they're spending money they won't get back. And so ask them what their most critical items are, and which ones you can start with. You could also start with what the budget is, and this would guide you as to what to start with and how they can get a result with a smaller budget.
  2. Packaging your services.  I believe this gives people more options, plus makes it clearer.  It avoids awkward pricing conversations before they even start, so having conversations...
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Should you run Black Friday discounts?

Black Friday sales have been around since the 1960s. But it wasn’t until Amazon bought it to the UK in 2010, that it really took off. Although Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) sales do lead to an upsurge in sales, many online business owners are asking if they should run Black Friday discounts too.

Because a lot of smaller businesses tend to only take part in Black Friday, through a fear of missing out.

And personally, I don’t think you should run Black Friday discounts.

As a business owner, you’re not going to lose out on anything, by not having a Black Friday discount. And let’s face it, there’s no need to discount for the sake of it. 

Know when Black Friday discounts work for your business

Black Friday discounts can work if you have something specific to promote. Your customers are primed to go shopping during Black Friday, and many will hold off until this day, to ensure they get the best deal.

And this is good news for you if you want to...

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Which part of your business makes the most money?

Which of your products and services make the most money? Is it the one you love to sell? Or is it the one that is really low priced but you sell loads of?

In a business where you offer several different streams of income, you need to know which ones make you money. The ones that take a lot of effort might be making you no money and you need to think about how to generate more money from those that are bestsellers.

To do this, you need to know your cost per product or service.

Service businesses 

In your business, you maybe offer a course, 1:1 coaching, workshops and an ebook as an example. There will be some direct costs (you only incur if you do the work), such as the hire of a venue, or paying a speaker, plus affiliates and associates.

Then there are the indirect costs (overheads). These include, your website charges, social media, VA and so on plus paying yourself. This is everything else, basically, in your business. You need to work out how much this is per hour by taking...

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Being a sole trader

There is often a lot of talk about whether you should be a sole trader or a limited company.  There are circumstances when being a limited company is a really good idea, such as having people on the payroll or being in business with someone else.  The main reason for most service businesses is that they want to save tax.  Once you take home more than £30,000 from your business (sales less costs), it is worth considering.  But it isn’t always the right thing to do and you should consult an accountant first.  More information is here
You must make sure you have sufficient insurance in place.  When you are a sole trader, liability if a client sues you is unlimited (hence Limited company) and you need to have solid insurance in place to ensure they can’t take your house.
Being a sole trader, if you have been in business for more than a couple of years, has also been much easier to claim from the government in recent...
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6 Figure Myth

In this week's blog, I want to talk about all the stuff I see online about "6 figure businesses". I think it can make small business owners feel that they are not getting it right if they are not doing this.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they are making 6 figures in their business but this is only talking about the sales they make. This isn't to be dismissed, but the bit they don't tell you is how much their business is costing to run and how much money they are taking out of the business for themselves. It may even cost them 6 figures to run their business!
It's expensive to run a 6 figure business, often with employees and freelancers working for the business, plus all the costs of various events they run and the software that is used.
I think it can be aspirational to hear about people doing well in their business, but it can also leave you feeling inadequate, especially if your business is just you.
Don't feel bad if you are not making 6 figures, focus...
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Financial Goal Setting

Do you set goals? Any goals will do, but do you set them?
I set mine monthly at the moment, with everything going on, but usually every 90 days. I write one revenue goal, one systems or process goal, one launch goal and one social media/email list goal. That's it. I don't write 50 goals as I can't achieve them, plus it keeps me focussed. I put them on my computer lock screen so I am reminded of them every morning when I log in.
It is so important to set goals in your business. Time easily slips away and you find you are no further forward than you were 6 months ago. But making sure they are things you are going to work on and can aim for are critical.
When you set a revenue goal, do you just pluck a number out of the air, or take last month's number, or do you look at how that number will be made up? How much time will you be working over the period, what work are you going to do? Breaking down your goals into manageable steps is key to making sure you will...
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Passive Income

Do you have a passive income product? Do you even know what that is?
I didn't know anything about passive income until around 18 months ago and since then I've been hooked! It is anything that you can sell in your sleep, from ebooks to masterclasses to online courses. They are usually lower price points as they don't involve interaction from you.
The idea that it is "passive" is a bit of a misnomer though, as it takes a lot of work up front to create a course, ebook or masterclass. But once you have done it once, you can sell it over and over again, so that becomes passive.
I think every small business should have something passive to offer as, over time, it will give an underlying source of income in your business. If you've always wanted to write a book, or create something more accessible for your clients, this is a great way to do it.
Be careful of creating a lot of content before you have sold places though. Lots of people create a huge course of...
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This is NOT a hobby

When was the last time you paid yourself from your business?  Think about it for a minute or look it up.  Do you pay yourself regularly?  And if you do, is that a proper salary or just a bare minimum to get by?
Hard as it is to hear, if you are not paying yourself, your business is just a very expensive hobby.  And if it’s a hobby, you aren’t making the money you need to live the life you want.  And you feel like you are working really hard, doing all the things, and not getting anywhere.  I think other people close to you can play into it as well, not taking it seriously as a business and expecting you to take on more at home or be the one to take time off when the kids are sick.
Sit down and work out what you need to take out of your business on a monthly basis.  What is the minimum and what is the nice to have.  What bills do you need to pay? 
Then look at what your business is doing each...
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