In the early years of my coaching and consulting practice, I was doing everything I had been taught in coaching school and by my mentor coaches to get clients and fill my practice. I had a nearly full client load but I was really feeling bored and blah. My time was maxed out, my enthusiasm for my work was at an all-time low and my income was capped unless I made some changes. But what?
I spent money on branding experts, business coaches, marketing training and copywriting help trying to find my way out of the stuckness. And yet, it was clear that my business just wasn’t working the way I knew it could, or should. It felt hard. I was drained and discouraged. I even told my husband I wanted to go back to work in Corporate America. Thank goodness he talked some sense into me! Yet, I knew something needed to change, but I just couldn’t figure out for the life of me what it was. I thought I had tried everything.
It wasn’t until I leaned into my old ‘corporate consultant’ expertise to look under the hood of my own business that I was able to figure out what was going on. Finally it dawned on me that the business I had built wasn’t designed to showcase my best skills, didn’t tap into the work that kept me engaged, and was never going to get me the financial rewards I needed and wanted. I had built my business on other people’s ideas and models, but that wasn’t a fit for me. It was time for a Business Model Makeover.
If you’ve had thoughts of throwing in the towel, re-branding, or found yourself wondering “how the heck am I still stuck on this?” you may need a Business Model Makeover too! In the years since my own makeover, I’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs better understand their ideal business model through the Trailblazer Quotient (TQ) tool I developed. In the Trailblazer Quotient there are four primary categories of business models –Intimacy, Inspiration, Information and Innovation. Most entrepreneurs are a mix of two or possibly three types, and those types help define how to approach your business model. But when something is out of balance, I’ve noticed 7 common red flags that signal it’s time to look at the overall design of your business in order to break through.
1. Feeling Bored.
Boredom signals that you are not working at your highest capacity or strength. Many smart, creative entrepreneurs end up serving markets or clients that don’t make the most of their smarts and strengths.
2. Feeling Burned out.
Burnout often suggests that you are overusing your highest strengths. So for example if you score high on “Intimacy” on the TQ , burnout could come from overdoing it on the intimacy side and underusing the types.
3. Stuck in the muck.
If you’re stuck (as in, no matter what you try you can’t get going on it) trying to write your book, create a product, fill a high end group, or any other project you’ve taken on in your business, it’s likely that you’re trying to work outside your TQ type. Stuckness, procrastination and indecision or inaction stem from being out of alignment with your unique business model combination.
Being overwhelmed often results from taking on too many things at once. But it also signals that you may be playing in too many sandboxes at the same time. What do I mean? If you are trying to create a business that has one foot in Intimacy, one foot in Inspiration, one foot in Information and one foot in Innovation, you’ll feel pulled in too many directions.
5. Feeling Drained and Depleted.
If you feel drained and depleted it’s highly likely that you have a business model that’s not aligned to your highest strengths and desires. This often happens when you build your business based on a model you’ve learned but isn’t a fit for you. It doesn’t work for you because it’s “out of type” for who you are and what you really want to be doing.
6. Frustration and Doubt.
Frustration stems from feeling like you’re not where you expected to be. If you aren’t making your goals, seeing the growth you wanted to see or having the success you desire, it’s frustrating. But this often stems from having unrealistic timelines or from comparing yourself to others who are building something different and/or who are at a different stage of business. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with mentors and colleagues who have a similar business model and can help you know what is a reasonable growth trajectory or timeline.
7. Selling Feels Hard.
The way you market and sell needs to be aligned with the overall experience customers can expect from doing business with you. If you are high in intimacy, your marketing must be intimate in some way. If you are high in innovation, your marketing ought to be a little different and original, for example. I’ve seen clients struggle to fill a program or sell their services until we align their marketing and selling approach to their primary type. Then programs fill, services sell out and it feels easy again.
If you’re experiencing any of these 7 Red Flags, I recommend taking (or retaking) the Trailblazer Quotient (at www.DiscoverYourTQ.com) as a first step. Then based on what’s going on for you, begin to make the adjustments needed to give your business model a makeover. It doesn’t need to be a total re-do in order to work magic on your results.
I’d love to hear from you. What red flags are resonating with you? Post your comments and thoughts below.