How profitable is your business and how much FUN is it?

In this post I’m going to share the story of the most recent client to join the fold of those working with me on a one-on-one basis. It’s an opportunity to see if it resonates with you or people you know and care about that you may in turn want to share it with.

First, though, let’s put this in context.

Change is happening

Oh, really? Oooooh yes, as if we hadn’t noticed. Change is happening all over the world, all around most of us, at a faster rate than ever before and it’s about the only constant we can rely on, if you’ll excuse the rather ironic observation…

The main ways it’s affecting us most directly are either a change in our own immediate environment – with many it’s to do with business/work or job; with others it’s a shift in our own internal feelings about an existing environment or relationship, and with a few it seems like it’s just about everything! :-(

Many people – maybe even most people – don’t like change, especially when it’s not of their own choice. And it can take a lot of guts to bring about change even when it is our decision. It’s usually not about the comfort zone thing that ‘experts’ go on about: it’s familiarity zone – change can be very scary! So when somebody has actually taken a huge leap the last thing they’re going to want to address is that it might not be in the best direction for them…

Which leads me back to my client story

This lady had been in the same, well rewarded/ lucrative line of business for many years. A number of occurances in all three areas of her work, personal and health life – the industry she worked in was changing, her marriage had ended and she’d survived a serious illness – had culminated over the previous few years to tell her that huge changes were necessary – and happening whether she liked it or not!

Actually, writing this has made me realise that this isn’t the story of just one client – there are similarities with several others…

And what became apparent fairly early on was that this, again as with others, could well be a case of “throwing the baby out with the bath water”. This is where a person has virtually ‘binned’ all attachment to and associations with their previous profession – including the skills and abilities that went with it.

In my experience this can often happen, especially where a relationship break up or an illness has been involved that is blamed on the stress of the previous work/lifestyle. In other words my client was in danger of jettisoning virtually every skill she’d learned, contacts she’d made, ideas she’d had, and so on: anything connected with her previous way of life that had somehow contributed to the “bad” things that happened to her. And it’s a syndrome that’s a lot more common than we might suppose, especially with people who have really lived their lives fully.

Is fun and profit possible?

This is a potentially huge question and it annoys me no end when you get ‘gurus’ blithely saying “Follow your passion!” The answer can definitely be “Yes. Business can be fun and profitable” provided you do your research and make sure you tick all the necessary boxes. One of the sharpest points I’ve ever heard of to address is:

There may be a niche in the market but is there a market in the niche?

When we met, my client had resolutely been sticking with focusing on her alternative earning potential which was of a much more spiritual nature than her previous career. While it worked well for her in many ways it hadn’t contributed much to her bank balance and didn’t look as if it would any time soon. And not only was that becoming a problem.

What we needed to do was the playing-around-in-the-mud work first to get to what she enjoys about what she was doing now and what the good bits were that she enjoyed from her previous working life – I find that there are always some or people wouldn’t have stayed with it for so long. There was also the need to firmly embed that making money is not bad per se and, provided what we do for a living is decent and honest, we can help a darn sight more people when we’re wealthy than when we’re broke!

Within a matter of days we’d reached the point where she had decided that there was a more spiritual way that she could provide a version of the services from her previous industry that would enable her to genuinely and fairly easily help many people. That freed her from the need to look for business opportunities when she attended her spiritual get-togethers.

The punch line

Not 10 days after we’d started working together she went off to enjoy a stress free weekend that included a couple of meetings with her spiritual expansion acquaintances – I have no idea whether that’s the right terminology – I just wanted to make clear they’re real people attending real meetings, not ethereal spirits! 😉

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that on each occasion she had people asking her what she did for a living so she was confidently able to tell them about the direction she was now following (and extremely well qualified for)… and as a result already has advocates working on opportunities for her to speak to groups of women on how she helps people like them.

Who do you know who might benefit from a fresh perspective, working with someone – me! – :-) who has no agenda other than to help them gain more clarity on establishing a fun and profitable business?

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11 Responses to “How profitable is your business and how much FUN is it?”

  1. Interesting post Linda – I’ve been a long time advocate of ‘work as play’, and gave written about its importance often, including here –

    Rather than rewrite, here’s a quote:
    “Most of the time, I can’t distinguish whether I’m working or playing, so that my work becomes play for me…that’s a great joy.
    It didn’t happen by accident – I did actually deliberately create and craft the ‘playground’ (otherwise known as workspaces!) in which I operate, and it is a highly productive space. And it evolves all the time, as I develop and learn and share with clients in workshops and individual sessions, as a truly resourceful entrepreneur.
    The great thing is that once you have mastered the art and science of being resourceful, you need never work another day in your life…”

  2. No fun is exactly why I left the technical writing field. I have a lot of fun with my personal training clients, and fun learning more in my field. It’s definitely possible! Great article!

  3. Hi Lisa

    You are SO spot on! Thank you for joining in :-)

    You’ve opened my thought debate to re-convince me why this works best with somebody who is someone outside our circle …who won’t prejudge u Not our Mum, our Dad, (heaven forbid our sister or brother), Best Friend, and so on. So this person hasn’t already put us in a box or a slot, or assigned a descriptive ‘handle’ that they can and will apply to us.

    The eagle sees big picture and detail…

    Thanks, Lisa

  4. Hi Sarah

    What’s great with social media is how we can debate stuff and have some fun, and all of us use it to help… all of us.

    Meanwhile, since you seem to have bit of a blurry aspect on this Clarity/Fun/Profitability focus, maybe a 1-on-1 consultation on Super Special Star Potential is required – you’ll find my rates exceedingly reasonable – less than the cost of buying a small island :-)

    [I am very soon going into hiding for a little while. Why? Because it’s a bit risky to tweak the nose of arguably Britain’s best known blogger]…

    See you very soon!

  5. Hi Yolanda and Mary

    You do the equivalent things with your own customers. If they could achieve what they were headed for on their own they would have. They’ve probably? usually? tried and failed at whatever they want to achieve before they come to you so that, by then, your fees are now acceptable and they’re FAR more likely to do what you say to get those desired results.

  6. Hi Jackie

    It can be a slow and sometimes painful process and progress when we go it alone – I’ve gone that route at various times and for many, perfectly acceptable) reasons, as has probably everyone I know.

    I believe that, when we women find our own short cuts, we’re keen to share the news around with those we care about.

    And any pay back we get, in any form, is amazing and wholly appreciated… tho’ dosh is always nice 😉

  7. Lisa Wood says:

    Sometimes it takes a little help from someone else to see things from a different perspective. And when we can shift our perspective, we open up a world of possibilities.

  8. Sarah Arrow says:

    Hi Linda,
    Interesting post and I am glad to read that your client found the clarity of thought that was needed.

    I still don’t see how it’s going to pay though 😉

  9. It sounds as though you helped your client find some much-needed clarity about how to make a career shift without throwing away all that had gone before. That in itself must have been a terrific stress-reliever for her!

  10. Yolanda says:

    Asking the right questions to get to the issues plays a big role in expanding and accepting change. Unfortunately it can be difficult to ask those questions of ourselves. Your client is lucky to have you there to ask those questions and help her move forward in a positive happy way.

  11. Jackie Dunn says:

    Ah Linda – your story resonated with me on so many counts and for one, I went round the houses for about 2 years before really and truly KNOWING without a shaddow of a doubt that I don’t do so much on the internet and do people-hugging for the most part. So there!

    Retiring from my profession, never wanting to do finances again (EVER again), was a huge shock when I found myself back in my area of expertise and loving it. In a different way. Why? Because I found what works and you helped me connect with how I was meeting my potential cleints and expanding my business.

    Meeting like-minded and very consicous people who speak my own language is so freeing. And the beauty is that they wanted to know why I was always smiling. A short remark from me that ‘it’s the inside showing up on the outsdie’ resonated so widly that I now have 3 new clients. Potential of quite substantial workshops in London (where’s the Sat Nav?) and some interesting potential ways of doing more of what I do with fun.Yes – finances is back in my life and having fun only left for a little while. Have fun and thanks for helping me uncover what the bleep was happening for me to join up the dots

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"I was very impressed by Linda's determination to help and the constructive, but persistent, manner in which she identified issues and then tried to resolve them. After recent progress I was again reaching a stage where I seemed to be spinning my wheels, and she has given me fresh impetus to start moving forward again."