Over the last 17 years I have observed a few common mistakes that “solo-preneurs” and people who are in the Direct Sales Business or MLM business make.
Today I want to chat about 3 of the 15 mistakes that I see on a regular basis.
Thinking You Can BeAll Things to All People
One of the mistakes that those with a small, home-based business or in solo practice make is the reluctance to pick a niche or identify a target audience. Often new and novice business owners believe that by focusing on a niche they will limit their practice: they want to sell their product or service to anyone and everyone. The problem is, it’s REALLY difficult (and expensive!) to market your business effectively to such a large audience. By creating a niche through a specialty service or a more finely targeted audience you make it much easier for your prospects to find you. Let’s look at some examples:
Are you a personal trainer to anyone in your community — or do you specialize in functional training, athletic conditioning or perhaps working with obese or elderly clients?
Perhaps you are building a business selling skincare products, such as Avon, Mary Kay or Arbonne — certainly, you can promote your business to anyone you meet, or you can methodically build your clientele by starting off with a focus on working moms.
Looking at it from the client’s perspective, if you were looking for assistance in making a career transition, would you seek out a Life Coach or a Career Coach?
The idea is to select a niche area within your field or a niche audience and dominate that market. When you become specific about exactly what it is that you do it is much easier to promote and advertise your product or services to the audience more likely to need or want them, which ties into the second mistake…
Not Knowing Your Solution
Too often, wellness professionals, home-based business owners and sole practitioners believe that they are simply selling a product or offering a service. But the most successful believe that they are selling a solution, providing a great benefit, creating results or even enabling a transformation for their clients.
What exactly do we mean by selling a solution? Is a pilates trainer simply teaching a client pilates on a weekly basis, or helping her transform her body through core strength and flexibility? Ever been invited to a Silpada jewelry or Thirty-One bags party? These reps are not just selling accessories — they are offering a “girls night out” and opportunity to enjoy some social interaction with like-minded women rather than just products from catalog. A life coach shouldn’t be selling coaching, they should be promoting the results a client will achieve, like the ability to better balance work and family or to improve communication with their spouse and children.
Whatever your product or service, your clients have an unmet need, a problem or a desire. The better you can communicate that your product or service not only meets that need but provides the best solution, the best results and can transform their lives in some way, the more effective and successful your marketing — and your business — will be.
Underestimating Your Value
Often, new business owners—especially those offering a personal service—base their fee on the fact they have a NEW certification, a NEW business or a NEW product. And as a result, they often miss the mark by charging too little or not doing their research and charging within a range that their target market expects. It all comes down to value – the benefit vs. the cost and your ability to differentiate YOUR product or services based on the value (or transformation or solution) it provides.
Experience does make a difference, but the there are so many other factors that affect perceived value. Consider this: you can go to your local gym and hire a personal trainer with five years experience for about $70 an hour; or, you can hire a less experienced trainer that charges $75 per hour, but will come to your home at 6:00 am and be available by phone and email to provide support to you between appointments. Which provides more value to you? (There is no right or wrong answer here – what matters is which option provides the greatest overall value to you.) Your clients will be making the same types of value judgments based not just on your experience and certifications, but also on the convenience of scheduling, location, atmosphere, your personal story and how they relate to you.
Another factor to consider is aligning your fee with your goal. How much do you wish to earn and how many clients do you want to work with on a weekly or monthly basis?
This is a very personal decision and again, there is no right or wrong answer. Will you be an elite provider, charging a high fee and serving a few clients? Or do you want to charge a lower fee and be more accessible to a broader audience?
The bottom line is that you are the one who has to get out there and sell your services so it’s important that you set a fee that you are comfortable discussing and that you can easily talk about the benefits, the results or the transformation your client will achieve. Don’t underestimate yourself!