Trading a Corporate Job for One in Your Own Business
As you’re building your professional services business, it can sometimes feel like all you’ve done is trade your corporate job for one in your own business. This episode addresses how and why this happens, and charts a way out of this terrible feeling.
John Ray: [00:00:00] Hello again. I’m John Ray on The Price and Value Journey. I receive a lot of feedback from this podcast and from what I write, much of it is private which I understand, who wants to talk about their own frustrations, disappointments, stress, and failures which come from inadequate pricing. I know this firsthand.
John Ray: [00:00:23] Here’s a note I received from a consultant with her own practice in response to something I had posted on LinkedIn, and I’m using this with full permission. “Thank you for sharing that article about pricing. When I took on my first few clients, I was over delivering and under charging. I had learned that I shouldn’t do this because I was more stressed than when I had a job. Once I learned that I could walk away from a client and say no, I felt more confident. But as I learn more about selling contracts, et cetera, it is all about the solutions you provide to the client. It is about how you can make their business and emotional impact better. Thank you for sharing and offering your guidance with your content.”
John Ray: [00:01:17] There’s so much here that this person wrote that’s valuable. But the comment about being more stressed than when she had a job stood out for me. When I speak with a professional services provider about their practice, one of the red flags which indicates a pricing problem is working too hard for too little money. It’s a terrible feeling.
John Ray: [00:01:42] Maybe you’ve left a large professional services firm because you want independence and flexibility. Maybe you’ve left corporate because you are tired of their backstabbing rat race, which has no respect for your family and your personal life. You start your practice and everything is fresh and hopeful. You pull in a few clients and start to get some momentum. You may know that you’re under charging, but that’s part of the dues you think you have to pay to get going. Or maybe you think you have to start out with a lower fee in order to build your business.
John Ray: [00:02:19] After a while, you aren’t getting any sleep, you’re frazzled. You resent your clients who you are busting your butt for. And your significant other is telling you that you made a big mistake. That proud moment when you became a business owner, that euphoric feeling when you were holding the metaphoric glass trophy over your head, it’s now laying on the floor, shattered, because you don’t own a business. You own a job.
John Ray: [00:02:47] There’s a pronoun problem in what I just described. It’s all about I and me. There’s nothing here about the clients I’m working with, whose businesses I’m straightening out and whose lives I’m changing.
John Ray: [00:03:00] My friend who wrote this note points to one of the biggest problems services providers have with their practice. They haven’t spent nearly enough time developing a deep understanding of the needs, problems, hopes, and goals of the target tribe of clients they want to serve. Their description of a client need involves something functional, like filing a tax return or developing digital advertising. Those functions are just the means to a bigger and deeper end, which clients are looking for, solutions which permanently change their business and personal lives for the better.
John Ray: [00:03:42] It doesn’t matter whether they are bakery owners, farmers, attorneys, truck drivers, or programmers. When you’re able to get under the skin of the members of the tribe you want to serve, you end up having more substantial conversations with your clients. They feel like you understand them, and your confidence rises because of that. You’re prescribing remedies which meet long held needs and dreams, not just for the business, but for the business owner, their significant other, and their family. You’re making, as my friend indicates in her note, an emotional impact, not just a financial one.
John Ray: [00:04:22] And the door opens for your pricing to change for the better because you are pricing based on client outcomes, not some silly measure like your timesheet. And you’ve regained ownership of your business.
John Ray: [00:04:38] I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey. Past episodes of this series can be found at pricevaluejourney.com or on your favorite podcast app where you can subscribe, and we would be honored if you do that. If you would like to send me a note, firstname.lastname@example.org is my email address. Thank you for joining me.
About The Price and Value Journey
The title of this show describes the journey all professional services providers are on: building a services practice by seeking to convince the world of the value we offer, helping clients achieve the outcomes they desire and trying to do all that at pricing which reflects the value we deliver.
If you feel like you’re working too hard for too little money in your solo or small firm practice, this show is for you. Even if you’re reasonably happy with your practice, you’ll hear ways to improve both your bottom line as well as the mindset you bring to your business.
John Ray, Host of The Price and Value Journey
John Ray is the host of The Price and Value Journey.
John owns Ray Business Advisors, a business advisory practice. John’s services include advising solopreneur and small professional services firms on their pricing. John is passionate about the power of pricing for business owners, as changing pricing is the fastest way to change the profitability of a business. His clients are professionals who are selling their “grey matter,” such as attorneys, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers, consultants, marketing professionals, and other professional services practitioners.
In his other business, John is a Studio Owner, Producer, and Show Host with Business RadioX®, and works with business owners who want to do their own podcast. As a veteran B2B services provider, John’s special sauce is coaching B2B professionals to use a podcast to build relationships in a non-salesy way which translate into revenue.
John is the host of North Fulton Business Radio, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Radio, Alpharetta Tech Talk, and Business Leaders Radio. house shows which feature a wide range of business leaders and companies. John has hosted and/or produced over 1,300 podcast episodes.