When you run your own business, you get a different sort of feedback than you do when you work for someone else. As an employee, your boss can be explicit about what’s expected of you and what’s not, and as long as you’re happy to operate within those boundaries, things are relatively smooth sailing.
As a business owner though, things are not quite as linear. Your feedback comes from your customers and clients IF you survey them regularly.
It also comes after a launch where people have either bought from you or they haven’t. You can definitely acquire some data from that experience, although how to interpret the data can be tricky.
And of course, you have indicators like how many people are subscribing and unsubscribing to your emails, or following you on socials, or visiting your website.
In between all of that is a lot of space which means there’s quite a bit of room for conjecture. If you’re not careful, and don’t have a good business coach or mastermind group to support you, you can find yourself getting very busy tweaking the wrong piece of your business model.
That’s the classic mistake I made in my own business; I’d develop a program, sell it, make some money to keep the business going for a few months, and then assume that I’d sold that program to all of the people who wanted to buy it, and so would set about developing a different offering.
Please don’t ever do this in your own business.
Assuming that just because you’ve offered something once or twice, means you’ve captured everyone in your community who’d want to buy it is simply not true. Of course you haven’t. There are so many reasons people don’t buy. They don’t have the cash at the time, it doesn’t suit their schedule, they were on holidays and didn’t see your emails, they’ve just bought three other programs, your topic isn’t their priority in that moment.
It’s entirely possible that all of these things will have changed by the time you make your offering again.
The truth was, I didn’t want to sell. I wanted the program to sell itself and I thought – erroneously – that if it was perfect enough, that’s what would happen. People would just see how amazing the offering was and there would be no need for me to sell anything.
I really wish a business angel had popped into my office after I’d sold my first program a decade ago, and said ‘Well done. Now your job is to sell it again. Don’t change anything. Just keep telling everyone about it and keep selling it.’
Lesson: Successful businesses rarely have complicated business models. They create something that works and they sell and market and sell and market and sell and market that thing.
I thought it was the product. The truth was though, all of my products have been fantastic. I don’t say that boastfully. I say that because that’s what people have told me. I have seen the very real and tangible results they get. People’s lives have been radically transformed by my classes and programs.
The product was never the problem. The problem was;
- I was unwilling to sell – in particular, to be seen to sell – and
- I was unconsciously limiting the size of my community.
I’m not one to say you need 100,000 people on your list to have a successful business. You don’t. (The first time I made $50,000 in a launch it was to a list of fewer than 400 people.)
But if you want to make life easy for yourself and you want to work less and you want to ensure that you make $50,000 or $100,000 or $1,000,000 every single launch, then you need to be bringing new people into your business every day.
That means you need to be prioritising visibility every single day.
Not having had a business angel descend upon me, I took a long time to learn these lessons. This meant that rather than focus on growing my community, I got very busy developing content that I sold to small numbers of people on a regular basis.
I was undermining my business at every turn and didn’t even realise I was doing it.
Naturally I had a whole lot of stories I was telling myself about why my ‘create loads of different programs and offerings strategy’ was the right approach;
- I wanted to take my beloved community on a journey and I wanted to be with them every step of the way. (For years it never occurred to me to partner with other people to take them on that journey. My ‘you have to work hard to earn money block’ had me thinking I had to do it all myself.)
- I didn’t want to bore my community by offering the same thing over and over again.
- I still thought that despite the results I was seeing, it was the product that was the problem and that I just hadn’t landed on that perfect product. (‘Perfect’ meaning it would sell itself.)
- I also thought that if I was regularly offering something new it seemed less salesy than if I sold the same thing over and over again.
- I wanted my community to feel that they could always rely on me to be releasing something new and interesting.
For a long time, my visibility blocks meant that I’d been unconsciously drawn to the most time consuming marketing techniques on the planet.
Because it was all so time consuming I found myself in a cycle where I’d only do half the job – the creation side but not the promotion side – and I started to feel like a victim of sorts. A victim being driven into the ground by my own business.
Honestly, who did I think was navigating my business ship? I’m not sure exactly. For a long time I just couldn’t see that it was my actions that were determining the success or failure of my business. It seemed like it was all outside of me – the ever illusive next strategy, next marketing technique, next product.
So instead of taking the time to properly promote each piece of free content, new opt in, great training I’d put together, I’d put it out there and then move quickly onto the next thing.
It was a nightmare and it was a guaranteed way to stay small and busy.
For a long time I thought I was doing the right thing because all my time was occupied. So if I was working on my business all the time then I must be making progress, right?
Because I never actually leveraged anything. I just kept producing content and half heartedly promoting it and producing more content and half heartedly promoting that.
If any of this sounds familiar, here’s the key to getting off that rat wheel; clear your visibility blocks.
Lesson: You will never ever find an effortless path to growing your business while you’ve got visibility blocks.
You’ll always be drawn to complex marketing strategies which leave you overwhelmed and frustrated. Or you’ll never really be able to back yourself and commit to doing one thing and doing it really well. So you’ll offer something over here and sell it to a small group of people and then offer something over there and sell it to another small group of people, and all of it will add up to something, just not the thing you were hoping to build.
To pile problem on top of problem, in addition to not wanting to be in the sales game, I also didn’t want more people in my community for many years because I was afraid. I was afraid I couldn’t serve them all. I was afraid I would be overwhelmed and wouldn’t have the time to connect with them all. I was afraid they’d be disappointed in me. That they wouldn’t value what I was offering and would walk away. So, it felt better – safer – to stay small with a loyal group of people I knew, than to grow larger and open myself up to failure and rejection and exposure.
It wasn’t until I realised I had visibility blocks that things started to shift. I knew something was wrong because any time more than a few people joined my list at one time, I would feel anxious. My whole body would literally freeze up. I’d think, ‘Who are these people? What do they want from me?’ (If that isn’t the craziest thing to be thinking in response to people joining your mailing list, I don’t know what is.)
Yes, I’ve always been a naturally shy and private person. Yes, I’m introverted. But after doing some block clearing I realised that this was way beyond shyness and introversion. It was straight up terror. Terror of crowds. Terror of the mob.
As a girl I was bullied by a bunch of kids, so learning to be invisible was a strategy I used early on to protect myself.
More than that, I learned that being seen to succeed would deeply trigger other people and harm me, so I had a phobia around growing my business in a way that might draw the attention of too many people.
All of this meant that every time people joined my email list, I’d be triggered.
So in addition to clearing out a whole lot of negative beliefs I had about what it means to be in business, to sell things for a living, to spend lots of time marketing to people, I also had to clear out my fear of crowds, my fear of being seen, and my fear of being seen to succeed.
Even then, that wasn’t the end of it.
After all of that, I had to see and clear out the biggest blocks of all; what I call inherited visibility blocks. Whether from past lives or something genetic that’s passed through the female gene, or both, it looked like the terror of being hunted down and burned at the stake, of being hung from my neck, of being strangled to death, of being punished for being different and not like everyone else.
No wonder I felt anxious when strangers joined my list. Exposing myself in that way literally felt like life and death.
Needless to say that clearing was very confronting and very deep. It’s certainly not for the fainthearted.
But you know what happened once it was complete?
I could see clearly. I could see all the ways I’d sabotaged myself. I could see why my business wasn’t growing in the same way that other businesses were. I could see that my visibility blocks had kept me busy but not expanding. And that each time I started to build momentum, my inner saboteurs had found a way to halt it.
Once I’d cleared those blocks I was finally able to develop a better business strategy. And joy of joys, was finally able to celebrate when new people joined my email list.
Such is the power of clearing your visibility blocks.
So often we look outside of ourselves for the answers to our problems. We do more training to fix what’s happening out there, rather than starting with the one thing that will derail all of your business building efforts; namely, what’s going on within you.
That’s what the School of Visibility classes are all about; supporting you to turn within, clear out what you uncover, so you can step forward with clarity and ease into the world without constantly tripping yourself up with unconscious saboteurs.