As I sit and stare at the gloriously imperfect world of online business, I realize that in order to become a masterpiece, we must first do the work.
It took me 8 long years to be comfortable with knowing myself as a business woman. Being in business for yourself means adjusting your mindset accordingly. Don't wait 8 years like me. If I could do it all over again I would have stopped buying programs, products, and courses I didn't need and instead would have found ways to work on my mindset.
When people would ask what I did for a living, the following was usually my response:
Oh a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Say what? What does that even mean? In reality I was a paid technology writer, an online consultant, and had TWO other businesses that I operated. Why was it so hard to actually put this into words?
I feel like this shows that at some point, well probably many points in my business life, I really had no idea wtf I was doing. The thing is NO ONE IN ONLINE BUSINESS knows wtf they are doing, the freedom of doing this means you get to play, all the time. In most instances testing the waters in business means you get a 'pass' to the world of the unknown, and that's a good thing.
It took me over 6 years to really know who my ideal clients were. This is no joke. If you find yourself doing every exercise under the sun to find out who exactly they are, like cataloguing their nail polish and favorite scent, it might just not be that easy. If I had a dollar for every single time I said I was never going to work with X TYPE person ever again, and then I turned around and accepted the project based on another factor, I'd be rich(er)!
Note: At this point I feel quite fortunate to have gotten to experience 9+ years of every type of client there is. From good to bad to profoundly worse, I've seen it. Once I went through all these 'types' I finally was able to say I'll never work with X type again, and ONLY because of my experience do I have a valid reason to say that.
It took me 4 years to realize that I was underpricing myself because I was a bit naive. Every time I went to raise my rates to even the current industry standard, a voice in my head would say "They'll never pay that you know". Wrong, ego.
In the beginning business service pricing is based on two things, and two things alone. Your personal feelings about money ( and consequently any money blocks you have ) and your talent vs value ratio. If you offer amazing solutions, don't be afraid to price yourself at a rate that makes you feel amazing. Just be 10000% sure that the value is there because if it isn't, your reputation will suffer.
Also, don't be afraid to price based on what your finances look like. The magic in business is if you can hang, the money is exponential.
The talent to value + life ratio goes a little something like this:
Your unique talent x value you bring (aka the problem you solve) x your biz/life expenses = your rate.
My wise advice? Always pad it. Pad it for your lack of experience in estimating. Pad it to cover your unexpected doctor visits. Pad it to cover your ass. But NEVER overcharge.
It took me 3 years to understand that there wasn't one straight shot to success. That it was OK to split my business into several income streams and to even have a steady 'job' while I was building up my clientele. I hustled and took on writing gigs and other side jobs to have the freedom to run my biz and put my spouse through college. It was fucking hard, as in ramen noodles hard, but I can now look back and say HELL YEAH, because I did it.
It took me around 2 years to accept that the online business world is full of facades and it's easy to become bitter when you see people being ripped off. Do not let these folks penetrate your wall of amazingness as it will take away important energy you need to use in your business. Headspace is a rare commodity in the business world. While it's not easy to overlook this crap, I can tell you that about 98% of the time, those shady people fade within about a year of showing their true colors. Bad reputations are like quicksand, exceedingly difficult to maneuver, even for the clever.
It didn't take me long to learn that the online business world is filled with passionately wild people who just lack the experience to put it all together. You'll run across several genuine souls who will essentially make up for the ones that attempt to destroy the playing field. This my friends, is the holy grail of online business, the people you meet, the people you serve, and the person you become.