There’s a big reason why so many women entrepreneurs are finding themselves stuck in their business.
Despite all of the courses, all of the late nights, all of the Googling for answers, they find themselves unable to get past their current level of success…
… and they’re not exactly sure what it is that’s going to help them break through to that elusive Next Level where they have more revenue coming in the doors, more time back in their schedule, and the ‘dream life and business’ they have been promised.
Let’s start by looking at what I have observed with women entrepreneurs who are feeling stuck in their business.
The statistics show that it’s not uncommon to get stuck at a certain level of success.
» 75% of women entrepreneurs are generating less than $50,000 a year in gross revenue.
» The majority of them are generating less than $30,000 a year in gross revenue.
» Only 12% are breaking that elusive Six-Figure mark where they’re making $100,000 or more in their business (less than 3% break 7 figures).
When women entrepreneurs are generating $50K or less in revenue, they honestly don’t have enough revenue coming into their business to create the business and the life that they are truly dreaming of.
They don’t have the revenue that would allow them to hire some support so they’re not working 24/7, hustling for each and every client.
They don’t have the resources to help them consistently show up and market their business.
When they’re not making enough revenue, they are stretched way too thin!
But when they finally break through to that ‘Next Level’, amazing things start to happen.
» They’re able to get some support behind the scenes to run the day to day of their business.
» They’re able to get some support at home so they aren’t doing 2-3 full times jobs.
» They’re able to make sure that they can afford the right software and technology to run their business more efficiently.
» They’re able to buy back their time and stay focused on the things they truly love to do instead of having to wear all of their hats in the business and life.
In the decade working with women entrepreneurs, I have seen that there’s two types of entrepreneurs who kind of stay stuck in this zone::
At this point, they should already have the experience and expertise to offer to clients.
So if they’re coming in as a nutritionist, they should actually have the correct training and certifications to begin to offer that service to the public.
*** And if they don’t have the relevant experience, they should go get that experience ASAP. ***
But what they’re often missing in this startup mode is the greater business foundations that they need in order to really grow::
» Clear Offers. The right product, program, or service at the right price point that solves the right problem for the right people.
» Marketing System. A real plan to get the word out about their business and draw potential clients in.
» Sales System. An essential for understanding how to take those potential clients from ‘window shoppers’ to happily paying clients.
So, there’s a lot that they have to figure out in that startup stage!
And because there’s so much to figure out, it’s can be a little bit overwhelming, right?
So these business beginners get stuck because they need INFORMATION.
They need the training to understand how a business works and what they need to do in order to get those business foundations in place (I’d recommend starting with this post on how to start your business).
But what is the second group of entrepreneurs?
This next group of entrepreneurs is stuck – not because they’re still in the startup stage – but because they are unsure of what they need to do next, overwhelmed with all of the tips, tricks, and tactics, and lack a clear strategy.
They get stuck in INFORMATION MODE.
They get stuck thinking they need to learn more tips, tricks, and tactics.
They get stuck thinking they need to keep testing and tweaking and changing things in their business.
They are trapped in the TOP SECRET ENTREPRENEUR LAB.
The top secret entrepreneur lab is where we all go when we’re trying to create something new.
But it’s not public, right? It’s top secret.
The problem is business doesn’t work like that.
Business requires things to be out in the public to actually validate that it’s going to work.
People who get stuck in this top secret entrepreneur lab aren’t putting their work out into the public to validate that people actually WANT and WILL PAY FOR their offers.
And then they get stuck with information and ideas… but not IMPLEMENTING a strategy that will get those ideas out into the world.
So these struggling, stressed out solopreneurs get stuck because aren’t in IMPLEMENTATION MODE, they are still in INFORMATION MODE.
And they truly feel like they have really good reasons why…
For some entrepreneurs, they get stuck in information mode wayyy too long because they feel like they just aren’t ready yet!
They feel like they aren’t qualified enough. Or don’t have enough experience. Or don’t have enough certifications.
I see this so often with women entrepreneurs who don’t feel confident in owning their area of expertise – and this feeling turns into women who pursue certification after certification, training after training, course after course.
Feeling not ready or not expert enough can turn into a great procrastination tactic… but there’s a line where we need to get the real hands-on experience working with real clients.
Many women entrepreneurs may find themselves stuck in the top secret entrepreneur lab because they feel like everything needs to be PERFECT before they can share it with the public (I see you enneagram type 1s!)
I especially see this with women entrepreneurs who want to have the perfect photos, the perfect branding, the perfect website – they feel like they need to invest time, energy, and money into these things before they can go out there and start working with paying clients.
Now, there IS a time and a place for investing into branding and photography and all the pretty things.
But there are also MANY women entrepreneurs who have broken through this excuse and started getting clients without a website, without professional photos, and even without a big following on social media or email list!
They didn’t let those things become barriers to going out there and getting clients. They took action!
There are also many people stuck in the top secret entrepreneur lab who are simply terrified of failure, so they continue to invest into courses and coaches in an attempt to avoid failure at all costs.
I can tell people are stuck with this excuse because they might try a tactic once, but when it doesn’t get the amazing results they see someone else getting with the same tactic, they immediately throw up their hands to say ‘well that didn’t work – let me try to find another tactic’.
For example, one of my clients felt like she was a failure in launching her online program because she didn’t get the numbers of clients signing up for it as another entrepreneur in her niche.
Her instinct was to burn it all down and start over again! She felt like it was a sign she should create a new offer or try a new launch strategy – and she was ready to go buy yet ANOTHER course because she was hoping that would be the magic formula that actually grows her business dramatically.
But when we paused and analyzed what was REALLY going on, we realized that in fact her conversion rate was incredible at over 10%!
» The problem wasn’t the offer.
» The problem wasn’t the audience.
» The problem wasn’t the way she launched.
The problem was just MATH!
Because she didn’t understand the math behind the strategy, she assumed her launch was a failure because she didn’t have the number of clients sign up that she had hoped for.
On closer look – she just needed to get her offer in front of MORE potential clients. The math would work in her favor!
Her launch wasn’t a failure at all!
But understanding the numbers behind it gave her important data that could help her grow her business and make more strategic decisions.
If any of these challenges are resonating with you, then the Unsexy Secrets to Sustainable Success series is here to get you unstuck!
And if you haven’t checked out The Business Growth Checklist, I would highly recommend grabbing that right now.
Understanding exactly where you are on this business growth journey will give you a ton of clarity around the right next step for you to take in your business to move out of the Top Secret Entrepreneur Lab.
Before we get into the unsexy secret, I want to share a story about one of my amazing clients Xonna Clark.
A few years ago, Xonna decided to launch her second career as a nutritionist and health coach after going through her own personal health journey.
One thing to know about Xonna is that she’s an incredibly smart woman. She went to Harvard and has a law degree from University of Pennsylvania, so when she decided to go into the world of health and nutrition, she took the time to get the education and certifications.
In fact – she is has a masters in health and wellness coaching, therapeutic herbalism, and integrative nutrition, certified nutrition specialist and licensed dietitian-nutritionist, has additional training in functional and integrative nutrition, AND is a natural gourmet chef.
All of this education and training, you would think that she’d be ready to hang her shingle and start her business, right?
Not quite yet. Xonna decided that first she wanted more practical hands-on experience before she launched her business – so she took a job with another healthcare organization for a few years.
By the time that she was ready to launch her own business, she had the training and experience to really get results for her clients.
She just wasn’t sure how to get those clients!
And there was a TON of confusing and conflicting information about what she should do to get her business up and running quickly while she was still working in her full-time job.
» She didn’t have time to do much marketing.
» She didn’t have a massive audience to sell to.
» She didn’t really have an online presence at all!
When she attended the very first CEO Retreat in January of 2018, she told me,
“Racheal, I’m ready. I want to leave my job in six months at the end of July. I need to be able to bring in about $4,000 a month within a few months to replace my salary. What do I focus on?”
With that clear goal in mind, she built a plan during that CEO Retreat to help her ramp up her business over the next 6 months so when she finally left her full-time job, she had a revenue generating business waiting for her.
The CEO Retreat was when we introduced her to The Business Growth Checklist which really helped her to simplify her strategy and bring in enough clients to generate $4,000 a month within a few months of leaving her job.
When she attended the next CEO Retreat – a month after leaving her job – she shared that she had exceeded her goal.
She brought in $5,000 her first full month in business.
She took The Business Growth Checklist and got crystal clear on exactly what she needed to implement to bring in that first group of clients without an email list, social media following, or really any online presence.
What I love about Xonna’s business is the SIMPLICITY of it.
She made the commitment to get out of that Top Secret Entrepreneur Lab, to stop letting the information overload overwhelm her and to start implementing a strategy that worked.
Once she had that strategy, it was rinse and repeat.
Xonna didn’t let not having a custom, fancy website slow her down from getting clients.
If you check out XonnaClark.com, it takes you to a very simple page she created using Practice Better, a client management software designed for health and wellness professionals.
Xonna didn’t worry about having a big social media following… she only has a couple hundred people following her on Facebook!
But she is getting great engagement from them because she shows up with valuable content via Facebook Live each and every week.
So if she didn’t have a list or social media following or even a website, how in the world did she get those first clients and grow to $5K in her first month of business?
She started with people she already knew, who already had an existing relationship with her work as a dietician and health coach.
» Several of her first clients followed her from her former job into her own private practice.
» Several more came via referrals from clients and colleagues.
Then Xonna started building on her existing relationships to host workshops, grocery store tours, and cooking classes in her local community.
Once Xonna had those first paying clients in the door, she was able to not only deliver amazing results for her clients, but those clients had rave reviews, leading to referrals and repeat business.
What has worked incredibly well for Xonna are tactics that are not talked about much in the online business space.
In fact, it was all the advice in the online space that was keeping her stuck in information overload, not sure what the right next step was to get clients and grow her business.
What was working for Xonna was a more high-touch approach::
» Meeting people in person
» Hosting grocery store tours and other collaborations
» Hosting cooking classes
» Asking for referrals
» Having sales conversations with potential clients
With those clients coming in the door and baseline revenue established for her business, Xonna has been able to layer on more online marketing to steadily grow her business.
The key to her success? Starting with the Business Growth Checklist and focusing on consistently implementing 2-3 tactics to move her business forward instead of ‘throwing spaghetti at the wall’ trying to do everything at once.
Start by downloading The Business Growth Checklist::
The Business Growth Checklist is broken down into three key stages of business growth
1. The Startup Stage
2. The Success Stage
3. The Scale Stage
You’ll find the key to-do’s for each stage of business growth complete with a description so you can start taking action immediately.
The Business Growth Checklist is a powerful tool to help you get out of the Top Secret Entrepreneur Lab because it helps you see exactly what the right next step is given your current stage of business.
When you have that clarity, you can stop seeking more information and start focusing on IMPLEMENTATION.
I know how easy it is to let the feelings of ‘not ready yet’, perfectionism, or fear of failure keep us stuck – especially when you’re someone who has high standards, integrity, and values mastery.
As you’ll see in The Business Growth Checklist, once you’ve worked with 10 paying clients and implemented the basic business foundations in the Start-Up Stage, your business is ready to make the leap to implementing next-level strategies and start building sustainable success.
One caveat worth mentioning…
There is a lot of messaging out there that ‘you just need to be a couple of steps ahead of your client’ that I believe is not only wrong, but potentially unethical and harmful to potential clients.
Many of my clients are in the life, health, or wellness coaching industry which is completely unregulated. Anyone can say they are a coach even if they have no experience beyond their own personal results.
While sharing their journey can be helpful and inspiring, it doesn’t mean that they are equipped to help their clients navigate challenges they never faced themselves.
That’s one reason I loved Xonna’s approach. She saw amazing results in her own personal health journey, but she went back to school to complete a Masters degree and gained hands on experience working for another health care organization, where she had access to guidance and support from other nutritionists and health care providers if tricky client cases showed up.
So if you’re still feeling like you’re not ready yet because you’re MISSING that experience and expertise in your field, take the time to go get some.
But chances are, you are expert enough if you’ve worked with (and gotten results for) 10 clients and have any of these credibility markers under your belt::
» You have a degree (or multiple degrees) in your area of expertise.
» You have completed in depth training or certification in your area of expertise.
» You have years of relevant work experience.
» You have been recognized with industry awards or honors.
» You have been featured in industry publications as an expert.
» You have written a book in your area of expertise.
» You have been interviewed about your area of expertise.
» You have been a speaker/presenter about your area of expertise.
» You have created content (blogs, podcasts, etc) on your area of expertise.
» You developed intellectual property (framework or process) on your area of expertise.
When my clients are spinning in the ‘I’m not ready’ or ‘I’m not expert enough’ drama, I challenge them to sit down with this list and check off their own credibility markers. They quickly see that they are truly ready to take the next steps towards growing their business.
And if you’re still hearing those excuses in your head that are keeping you stuck in the Top Secret Entrepreneur Lab, hoarding courses and endlessly tinkering as you spin in information overload…
… write a list of all the reasons you are a credible expert and see that you are more than ready to start taking steps towards creating that predictably profitable business you’ve been dreaming of.
In the next part of The Unsexy Secrets to Sustainable Success, we’re going to talk about how we prioritize our planning so that like Xonna, you can consistently show up, implement, and see results in your business. This is the practical, profitable strategy that’s helped many of my clients make the jump to $5K, $10K, and $15K months without the hustle and burnout.
1:: Despite women starting businesses at faster rates than ever before – the money is not matching up as women owned businesses generate less than $30K – $50K annual business revenue.
2:: Why are the numbers so low? It’s all about getting stuck in information overload instead of implementation mode.
3:: Despite all of the online claims that you need a complex funnel or massive audience – you can build a thriving business by keeping things simple and strategic.