Chapter 4: Earn, Live & Learn (con’t)….The Rider
Lets look at earning an income as a nice way of saying sales! I know that might not feel good to some people. But you have to internalize the fact that the misfit entrepreneur is responsible for earning your keep. And only you know what it will take to maintain your ideal quality of life.
What do you believe are the indicators of a good quality of life?
How has your relationship with money and sales impacted your ability to earn?
In what ways are your entrepreneurial endeavors a reflection of your values and beliefs?
Reconciling Your Needs
Having an entrepreneurial venture that pays you is a huge accomplishment, in and of itself. Even if it is just a few hundred dollars a month to start. Paying yourself is a milestone worthy of celebration. It is also a necessary step before giving yourself a raise, which is also quite a feat!
A lot of people may say that you have to make sacrifices to be a misfit entrepreneur. A sacrifice is defined as giving something up that is valued for something that is more worthy.
Sure, you will likely have to make changes. But do they need to carry the weight of a sacrifice? Is it possible that in changing your priorities, and eliminating the clutter that you make room for the really important stuff to take root? It is like thinning your garden, nothing will grow and bloom if it is crowded.
We are told by society that we NEED tons of crap. Cars, TV’s, phones, computers, Netflix, pandora, new clothes, big houses, smart TV’s, cloud storage, etc. etc. etc. What if you simplified your life. Take a minute to let go of the things that are nice to have. Give up the things you think you need just because someone else has it. Get back to your basics.
I am not saying that you should go completely without. The point is to be intentional; invest in meeting your own needs and supporting your ability to create your future. When I started my business, we re-evaluated our household budget and eliminated expenses. Subscription services like Netflix were nixed. Our phone and internet plans were renegotiated to lower the monthly expense. We reduced our liability without sacrificing our quality of life. If anything, it has been enhanced because living with intention is incredibly fulfilling!
Value Begets Value
Here we go again, another paradox. While letting go of your need for costly things, you need to embrace the fact that you have something of value to share with the world. You are a misfit entrepreneur, so quality and value are important to you.
If you think, “I wouldn’t pay for..” STOP. You are not your ideal client.
If you truly want to deliver something of value to your customers you have to make an exchange. I remember when I started working with one of my first consulting clients. I was doing my thing, asking questions, making observations and offering suggestions, and something miraculous happened. They ate it up; they devoured my words unlike anyone else (including said client) had before.
Value begets value. If you price yourself too low people will have a negative value perception of what you are offering. If you are committed to providing the utmost value to your customers than this is a real problem. One way to look at is that you are doing people a service by asking for a fair exchange in value for your product or services. You are helping your customers get more out of what you are offering because they are invested.
You do not have to be the sleazy used car salesman but sales is a part of the job of a misfit entrepreneur. Lets take a step back here and look at what it really means to be in sales. Nobody likes to feel like they were sold on something.
Success in sales has traditionally been determined by one’s ability to close the deal. According to this definition there is no concern for the needs of the person being sold. It doesn’t matter if the person was sold a bill of goods. It doesn’t matter if they are worse off as a result of being sold. Success is only that you got a sale.
I do not ascribe to the traditional model of sales. For me, the ABC’s of sales are not Always Be Closing. I personally agree with Dan Pink’s philosophy, he calls the ABC’s of sales: Attunement, Bouyancy and Clarity.
This reframing of sales fits in nicely with the Lean Startup methodology because it puts a strong emphasis on first understanding your customers. When you are attuned, you are mindful of other people’s perspectives, feelings and needs. You are empathically dialed in, asking questions and seeking to make a connection.
Pink defines clarity as “the capacity to help others see their situations in fresh and more revealing ways and to identify problems they did not even know they had.” The trick is that you want to add a fresh spin while speaking in a manner that is familiar to your customers. As you talk with potential customers take note of the language, the words they use to describe their problems and aspirations. Then recycle those same terms in your marketing and pitches! Where do you think I got the notion of helping people enjoy freedom through entrepreneurship?
Like everything else in this journey, sales is emotional. It is hard to put yourself out there. It hurts getting rejected. And you will likely encounter a vampire at the worse possible time. Having rituals for recovering from adversity, Bouyancy, goes a long way. If you start to feel really down about your situation, take a minute to reflect on past challenges you have overcome. The fact that you have faced and surmounted obstacles before gives you strength and resolve to persevere today!
In this witty and inspiring read, Pink makes the case for “re-thinking of sales as we know it,” a notion that should resonate with anyone that has negative perceptions of sales people. He argues that anyone (and therefore everyone) who seeks to influence the actions, decisions and behavior of others is in sales. Pink empowers the reader to embrace selling with authenticity (Clarity), resilience (Buoyancy) and service to others (Attunement) by reframing the ABC’s of selling while providing a few tactical suggestions for improving your sales-ability. Wether you’re seasoned in the trade or new to sales, this book is sure to inspire real growth.