I love me some answers. I especially love right answers. Don’t you? Often entrepreneurs who are feeling stuck seek out resources like me because they just want a damn answer. Tell me what to do to get out of this mess. Tell me how to stop creating the same results over and over again when I know deep down that something more is possible. And, both because I’m intuitive and because I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, I often know from the start exactly what they need. And yet the answer doesn’t matter. Why the Answer Isn’t the Answer When someone isn’t ready to hear or receive the answer, the answer isn’t the answer! Being aware of this is part of knowing how to give your substance where it can do most good. It can also save you lots of frustration, because instead of looking for a magic answer, you can work to accurately define your issue, and to become the type of person who can move past it.
“A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.” – Charles Kettering
So what do I mean by this? Imagine an entrepreneur who has a goal to ‘really launch’ her business. She’s been doing the business part time for about a year, and she’s got some clients and she’s made some money. She knows her general ‘profession’ and she loves what she does in general. She doesn’t have quite enough clients to feel successful and she isn’t charging enough to be sustainable. In talking about what she does, she talked about all the things she CAN do and all of the different types of clients she’d worked with. She could handle doing any of those things, and she also had about five other ideas for who she could serve. And she didn’t want to give any of them up. Nor did she think it was a good idea. Now I might be able to quickly see where she would end up, and envision a pretty cool, targeted, business model that would work well for what she loved. And I might be able to spend 15 minutes mapping out that business model and 3 strategies for connecting with clients. However, in a case like this, that answer isn’t the answer. See if I were in answer mode, I would recommend focusing on a specific type of client and solving a specific type of problem, and I might even know which client was in alignment. This would allow her to be an expert at that thing, and charge whatever she wanted. But there are just two problems with this. See, good advice like this is abundant, but when someone isn’t ready for it, it makes no difference. This is why so much good advice goes unheeded day after day. The answer is simple, but being ready to implement the answer is an art. This entrepreneur likely has a couple of things to buy into first:
- That she wants to make significantly more money with fewer clients. Often service-based entrepreneurs want to give and they think more clients is better. Until they glimpse the idea of fewer clients, more money, and see it as a possibility, they won’t even hear the business model.
- That she is willing to be a known expert. Often women who aren’t going full barrel into their business are afraid to claim their stage. As long as they stay general and serve all different types of people, they are not declaring themselves an expert at anything. As long as this feels comfortable and claiming expertise feels threateningly scary (like maybe it will disrupt a family equilibrium), the advice won’t land.
- That limiting her offerings will bring her more. It’s counterintuitive for most people. Being available to fewer people will bring you more. When she is willing to be an expert at something, she has to be willing to stop doing the other things. “No” is a powerful little word to help create value.
- That she can choose what she loves, not what she’s capable of. When people feel obligated to do what they CAN do, rather than doing what they truly love, they will FEEL confused. In evaluating possible areas of expertise, this entrepreneur will not be able to discern the one that is aligned with her purpose so long as she looking through a filter of what she is willing to do. There will be so many options that she’ll confuse herself. She must be committed to creating the life she loves.
Once this entrepreneur is on board with these four ideas, the answer (the business model) will be well-received, will feel perfectly obvious and perfectly exciting. She’ll be off to the races. If the answer comes before she’s ready, it will be met with resistance, confusion, and struggle. This is simply one example of how defining the real issue allows for a clear answer, yet these stories are abundant. What about you? If you’ve ever found yourself at a stuck point and looking for someone to just tell you what to do (I’ve been there!), yet the answers you’re getting aren’t landing, consider you just might be looking for an answer to the wrong problem. Look for a coach who can guide you to frame up the right questions and get you ready to receive the answers. When that happens, your natural brilliance will take over to make it happen without struggle.