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Is This Common Mistake In Your Consulting Or Coaching Business Costing You?

Written by: Kathy Grassett, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


When you transition from working for someone else to starting your own service business, you bring with you all the skills, beliefs, and habits you’ve cultivated in your past professional life. Ideally, you’ll have several transferable skills to give yourself an advantage in building your business such as marketing, customer service, or budgeting. Inevitably, though, you will carry forward many programmed thoughts and habits that don’t lend themselves well to your new business venture. I share examples in my article 3 Ways Your Corporate Experience Is Sabotaging Your Entrepreneurial Success.

One of the pitfalls of coming from a corporate background is that you’ve been steeped in a culture where you are pressured to deliver more and more value while the resources to do your job become less and less. Budgets get reduced or cut altogether. Teams get scaled back. Training gets eliminated. You were expected to complete the same amount of work, or more, without what you needed to complete it. As a result, you were programmed to deliver more for less. And when ‘do more for less’ is wired into your subconscious, the habit you carry forward as a service entrepreneur is one of over-delivering and under-charging. And it’s one of the biggest and most common mistakes business owners make, costing them time, energy, and money.

Running your own business is very different than working for a company. Even if what you did for your employer involved creating, marketing, and selling their products or services, doing it for yourself is not the same. And many consultants and coaches quickly realize that they are completely lost when it comes to figuring out how to package up their expertise, put a price tag on it, and sell it to the world. So, in the absence of the necessary knowledge needed to do these things, their subconscious provides direction. And their subconscious is programmed to over-deliver and under-charge.

So, what does that look like? The first thing that happens is that you cram as much as possible into your signature system and package offerings to somehow justify charging people any amount of money for them. When you’re the face of your business and the direct recipient of a client’s money, it can cause new business owners a lot of discomfort. They feel guilty charging the price they want to charge for their services and are compelled to give them more ‘stuff’ to justify the cost.

The problem with over-delivering, though, is twofold. One, by loading up on services or program elements, you risk completely overwhelming your clients. Your clients want a simple, straightforward path to their goals. Imparting all the statistics, supporting scientific facts, and nuggets of wisdom you have on a subject is information overload and jeopardizes your clients’ success.

If you overwhelm your clients, they may not finish your program or service. If they don’t finish, they don’t get results, nor do they refer you. Worse yet, they share negative information about you, and you lose out on countless financial opportunities from re-enrollments and referral clients.

Two, you run the risk of burning out. If you’re providing weekly calls, weekly live training, direct message access, and unlimited email access in the hopes of making your offer more appealing because it has more components, you create a lot of extra work for yourself keeping up across multiple platforms. Plus, you enable your clients’ dependency on you because you’re always available with an answer, which perpetuates their need for access to you. It’s exhausting.

Actionable Takeaway

Commit to a less-is-more approach to your signature system and service offerings. Include only the steps and supporting information that is necessary to achieve the transformation promised. Your clients want speed, ease, and results. Give them the most direct path and help them become resourceful. Strip away anything that doesn’t directly lead to the desired outcome. You can consider these elements as bonuses that enhance their experience. You will increase the likelihood of your clients’ success and prevent yourself from working crazy hours.

The second thing that happens when you have a ‘do more for less’ mentality is you don’t charge what your services are worth. You may charge by the hour instead of based on the outcome you help your clients achieve. You might offer ridiculous discounts or lower your prices when someone says they can’t afford you. Sometimes, you may give your work away for free. You are programmed to be a bargain commodity to appease more people (keeping costs low) while providing a high level of service.

The obvious problem with under-charging is that you’re not bringing in enough money to compensate for all the work you’re doing. So, now you’re overworked and overwhelmed with nothing to show for it.

There are also more subtle, but equally detrimental, side effects of selling your services for a price much lower than they’re worth. One, your clients may not get the results they desire, even if you’ve scaled back on the unnecessary components. The bigger the investment, the more invested clients are in doing the work. They have more skin in the game. They’re going to show up for themselves more consistently the more they’ve invested upfront. Clients who show up and do the work are the ones that will get the results. And results lead to re-enrollments and referrals.

Two, you may even feel resentment toward clients who get so much of your time, energy, and expertise at a bargain price, especially if they’re squandering their opportunity. What a way to lose all motivation in your business!

Actionable Takeaway

Don’t keep your prices low in the hopes of appealing to more people. There are clients for every price point. Raise your price to reflect the massive value you provide and then uplevel your niche to one that is willing to pay a premium fee for that value. If the jump to your desired price seems too big and daunting, raise it in increments after defined periods or a set number of clients until you reach your price goal. You will need far fewer clients to reach your income goals, so you will reach those goals in far less time, and you will feel excited and empowered by the improved equity of exchange between you and your clients.

One of the most difficult things about starting or growing a service business after a long corporate career is making the mental shift from serving as an employee to leading as an entrepreneur. Many of the beliefs and behaviors necessary to achieve corporate goals are counterproductive to growing a business. Ignore making these shifts and your entrepreneurial journey will be slow, overwhelming, and frustrating. But master the shift and you significantly increase your chance of entrepreneurial success to levels far greater than those achieved in corporate, making a lot more money with a lot less effort, in a way that is powerfully authentic to you.

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Kathy Grassett, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kathy Grassett is a business coach, speaker, and leader specializing in career reinvention, business growth, and money mastery after a life in corporate. After a successful 20-year corporate career in IT, she had trouble adjusting to life as an entrepreneur and realized her lingering corporate identity was limiting her potential. Kathy now teaches clients her strategies for shedding the corporate layers that are holding them back and creating a simple but lucrative business model that will power them into exciting new levels of impact & income. Kathy’s mission is to help her clients surpass their corporate success by making a lot more money with a lot less effort in a way that is powerfully authentic to them.



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