3 Costly Ways Mission-Driven Business Owners Can Try To Do Too Much.

Are you a mission-driven business owner who wants to make a big difference, yet you’re overwhelmed and exhausted? Perhaps you have overestimated the powers of your magic wand!

See if you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios.

You Say “Yes” When You Really Think “Not Ideal”

You’re speaking with a potential client and you are following the screening process of confirming what they really want, need, and believe they need and your screening comes up as “non ideal.” They are certainly someone you can help, but they are outside of the client base that you have determined is right for you – you know, the ones you’re put on this planet to serve.

Rather than standing firm in what you know is aligned with your mission, you let your imaginary “magic wand” take over, believing you can do it all, and “yes” comes out of your mouth when “we’re not an ideal match, let me refer you to someone who might be,” was on the tip of your tongue!

Example: A designer who specializes in brand and logo development takes a project to format a brochure for an existing business, in hopes of someday doing their rebranding work, which they may or may not ever do.

Example: A wellness coach who works people to reverse disease agrees to work with a client who wants to be clear about the next step in their career. They may be able to help that person, but they have no interest in talking about career planning and are taking the client because they think they should.

You Promise the Over-delivery

When you are someone who sees clearly what is possible for your clients, it can be easy to fall into this pitfall. Over-delivering is a great practice. However, when you promise things beyond what your contract states, or what you are committed to doing, upfront, here’s what happens. You will attract people who will want more and more from you.

Be very clear about what you will deliver, and nothing more. This will ensure you’ll be bringing in clients who want exactly what you offer. Then, when you over-deliver, you will surprise and delight an already satisfied client.

When you over-promise because you think must to get the sale, it is probably because you’re sensing that that person wouldn’t be satisfied with your regular service. Guess what? That’s probably your accurate intuition telling you they will never be satisfied. Give them your standard package, and if they don’t like it, gratefully let them walk.

Example: Because he senses his potential client is nervous about their ability to implement recommendations, a consultant promises to be available by phone as needed between meetings when that is not something that he normally includes in his services. This nervous client has now subconsciously let himself off the hook for being responsible to implement.

Example: A copywriter who writes websites has a package that includes a 6-page website for a flat fee. Their potential client has an ecommerce site with some products that all need descriptions. They are afraid that if they quote their time to write the descriptions they’ll lose the project, so instead they skim over it, saying “I should be able to do that for you.” It turns out they have 40 products that take a full week to describe.

You Want it More Than They Do

When you are a service-based entrepreneur, you want your clients to succeed. You want them to change their results. You want them to have it all! If you find yourself wanting it more than they do, you are probably draining yourself, and ultimately not serving them.

Whatever business you are in, one of your screeners for your clients must be making sure you are clear they truly want the result you offer. One great way to screen for this is to make the investment in you sufficient to get their attention! Most people won’t pay for something they don’t want!

That said, people have all different perspectives on money, and some people will invest without feeling highly committed to the outcome. You need to be on the lookout for this.

So how do you tell if they want it? You can generally hear it in their voice, the questions they ask, and the way they communicate. You can also tell by how they handle their commitments. If they owe you information, do they get to you in a timely manner? Do they follow the guidelines for working with you? Do they take the action on their end to make your work together effective?

If they aren’t doing their part, you cannot pick up the slack. It simply won’t work. As hard as it is, you need to wait until they meet you where you are.

Example: A business coach can see a vision for a client’s business that is just phenomenal. If she could just run the client’s business, she knows it would work! But the client doesn’t quite see it or doesn’t want to do the work. So the coach takes time on her Saturday to write a quick website for the client to get them started in the right direction. The website never gets published.

Example: A personal trainer is working with a client weekly who says she really wants to change her body. In between sessions, the client is not working out at all, and is not eating well either. Because the trainer really wants this client to succeed, she puts together a written training plan complete with illustrations, and commits to calling the client three times during the week to check on their workouts. She does this without being asked. The client still does not exercise and is no more committed than she was before, and the trainer cannot get her time back.

Why We Do It and What it Costs Us

So why do you think your magic wand can cure all? You’ve been taught to make others happy, and you’re afraid to say no. You have a fear of losing the sale if you don’t try to “leap tall buildings” to make them happy. You think it means something bad about you if the client doesn’t get the result. You feel guilty if you can do something and you don’t just because you don’t want to. You have a hidden commitment to struggle – after all, he who works hardest is the best, right? You are working extra to avoid other parts of your life.

Any of these sound familiar?

You are not alone. But you can see from the above examples that it costs you.

It costs you:

  • Time
  • Energy
  • Confidence
  • Integrity (the number one form of integrity is honoring yourself and where you give your energy)
  • Space in your schedule for Ideal Clients
  • Your reputation (you actually hurt your reputation when you compromise your self for your clients – people can sense you don’t value yourself)
  • Your relationships
  • Money
  • Sometimes your sanity!

The next time you sense yourself saying “yes” to a client you know is not ideal, promising to over-deliver from the get-go, or wanting it more than they do, back off. You don’t have to stop giving and serving at your best, but only do so with committed, ideal clients who are also giving their all.

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