Increase: 47 percent
How she did it: Hired a business coach
Four years ago, Demi opened a consulting business to give small business owners the tools they need to grow revenue. Problem was, Demi’s own small business needed some help. She knew how to help others succeed but found herself floundering. “Instead of doing the work that would bring me business, such as getting myself out in front of prospective clients, I was hiding behind the computer screen,” Demi says. She feared rejection and so didn’t risk it, which was making it difficult to cultivate new clients.
As her savings diminished and her debts increased, Demi panicked. Pretty soon she’d have no choice but to look for a salaried job, a fate that scared her more than getting up in front of a group of people and trying to sell her services. In a do-or-die move for her one-woman company, she took $10,000 and did what she recommends her own clients do: She hired a business coach.
The payoff was nearly instant. To get over her fear of public speaking, Demi’s coach encouraged her, and helped her prepare for, some free presentations to small groups. “As I did that I got more comfortable, but even better I was getting great feedback and getting a lot of clients too,” Demi says. She focused on marketing and networking and, to manage her time better, started her day by dispensing with the most difficult task first. With help from her coach, Demi also learned to silence the negative “self talk” that often sabotaged her in the past: the fear that she wasn’t good enough or didn’t deserve to earn as much as she did.
Her coach also encouraged her to raise her rates. “She told me if I didn’t feel that I was being properly compensated for what I was bringing, I wouldn’t be as excited about the work,” Demi says. As her revenue increased, so did her confidence and her job satisfaction. Within one month, Demi went from living on savings to turning a profit. Her income has been steadily increasing over the last three years, passing the six-figure mark, and this year her income is on track to be nearly 50 percent higher than it was last year.
“It’s one thing to have someone tell you what to do, but essentially it’s always up to ourselves to get the job done,” says Demi.