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{2016’s Big Questions} How many clients do you really need?

The phone call started like many with my clients.

“I just need more clients. I want to be overflowing…waitlist capacity and ready to burst.”

Now, I love waitlists and the idea of overflowing schedules. But, I like knowing how many clients I need to achieve my goals even more.

And, this number is easier to figure out than you could ever imagine.

So let’s start with “How much you need to earn?”.

Yes, I know you have all the hours in the day you can fill, but frankly, I want you to enjoy your life. And, if you’re charging for the unique, high touch service that you offer, you’re not going to have to work 40, 60 or 80 hours a week. You just need to fill the right amount of hours that earn you the right income.

Then let’s add in your Average Client Monthly Value. And, yes, this number can fluctuate wildly based on how you package and price your services. Consider our client Erin. Her ACMV jumped from $86 to $266 in a three week period just based on her new pricing and packaging. Yes…that’s tripling what each client is worth to her business.

Your Average Client Monthly Value can be found by taking your Total Monthly Gross Revenue and dividing that by the Total Number of Active Clients {these are clients who have been in in the last thirty days}.

Now, I love my ACMV. My goal is to keep it as high as possible. And, the fact is, when it’s high I need less clients to meet my financial goals and I can service them so much better.

In the first week of January, I asked you to come up with what you needed to earn. Ideally, this is a number that’s more than just paying your bills. It’s where you can genuinely say, you are excited when you write yourself a dividend or paycheck. So what is the dollar difference between where you are today and where you want to be?

Once I have that dollar amount, all I need to do is take my Needed Income and divide it by my Average Client Monthly Value. This is the exact number of clients you need to add to reach your goals.

If you’re like me, it’s kinda nice to have an actual example…theory is lovely, but visualizations are even better.

For the sake of my math brain {which moves slow some mornings}, let’s use some large whole numbers.

Last year, Suzanne earned $70,000. She recognizes that she could live the lifestyle she’s really wanting if she earns $90,000 a year. That’s a $20,000 difference.

Last year her Average Client Monthly Value was $200.

But, Suzanne has repackaged and priced her products so that her customers come on a more regular basis and are billed monthly and her new Average Client Monthly Value is $500.

To determine how many clients we need we’ll take Suzanne’s $20,000 difference and divide that by $500 leaving us with 40 clients Suzanne needs to add in 2016.

40 clients may still seem like a lot, but once we know this number we can start making a real action plan to find these ideal clients. We can plan our marketing, how we’ll work with existing clients to drive new business and even what packages we want to sell the most of {bonus if this drives your ACMV up higher}.

Once you’ve taken the mystery out of what you need for success, actually reaching it becomes a whole lot easier. So, how many clients do you need to reach your goals? And, what steps come next to get you there?

With Grit and Gratitude,

Lise

It’s Time to Forget What You Are and Remember Who You Need To Be

Last week when I pressed “go” on our blog, I didn’t expect to see a huge response. But, I got one {closer to home than I would have thought}. My dear friend asked a pivotal question that I knew needed to be answered: “I know I’m priced to low. And, when it comes down to it, it’s fear thing I think that’s holding me back. I’m starting to really believe my clients would pay for it. I’m just scared I’m not worth it.”

It stopped me in my tracks.  I don’t think I’ve met a single person in this last year who hasn’t quietly shared that same fear—Am I really enough? And, let me be honest, it’s a fear that I’ve quietly whispered to myself when everyone else is asleep and I’m laying out an invoice.

I don’t have all the answers, but I have some advice my mother {a remarkable CEO of three companies all her own} gave to me that’s changed me life.

“Lise, you need to stop being a yoga instructor, a Pilates teacher, a business strategy coach…you are a CEO and a phenomenal one. Stop hiding behind what you do and own up to who you are. And, don’t forget what a CEO really is…you’re a visionary and that has power.”

{If you can picture this in a lovely Southern drawl, you’ll have the full idea…my mother is the epitome of Southern elegance with a steel magnolia spine of strength}

She’s right, you know. We live behind what we do. You’re a chiropractor, a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, a Pilates or yoga instructor, the head of medical spa, a health coach.

But, that’s what service you provide…what training you’ve had. Once, you started a company you stepped out beyond this title.

You became a CEO.

Some days I’m not sure I want to be a CEO. When I’m staring down a decision that affects both me, my staff and my future….sometimes, I just have to close my eyes, pray that this is the right choice based on all my other options and our future visions and say let’s go for it.

Higher prices, fund the chance for me to educate myself and bring that knowledge back to my clients; fund my vacation so that I can be at 110% when I’m in front of my clients; or even fund the growth of my products which are incredibly unique and personalized, then I’m doing the right thing for my company, my clients and my family.  Easy decision? No. The right decision? Absolutely.

If raising your prices is in your future, you’re going to have to find some real strength inside of you. You’re going to need to step outside of the “what you do” box and own that the visionary CEO in you has to take charge.

I for one can’t wait to see that vision. I imagine it’s going to change the world around you and I can’t imagine a more beautiful thing.

With Grit and Gratitude,

Lise

2016’s BIG Questions: How Much Do I Need To Charge?

“Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.” Maya Angelou

We wear entrepreneurial survival stories like badge of honor. “Look at what I’ve survived. Look at what I’ve overcome. Look at what I’ve managed to do.” We celebrate these hard moments, relishing the against all odds, underdog victory.

Now, I’m all for the underdog. On Saturday, January 2, I spent a night pacing the floors at my mother’s house while a backup, walk-on, senior quarterback from TCU came bag from a 31-0 shut-out at half-time to beat Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. {For those of you who don’t know, I don’t watch much TV, except for college football and basketball. Then, I’m one of the boys.} It was glorious. It was celebrated. It was front page news for one day. And, then it was back to the struggle to survive next football’s season.

Survival time is over. It’s time to thrive. Literally, feeling like you and your business are at the top of the world and rearing to go. And, what makes the difference between surviving and thriving is quite simple. How much are you going to charge?

The price question brings up a few fears over and over again for my clients {and me!}:

I’m sure my clients are going to see that price change and run to my nearest competitor.

I’m just not sure I’m actually worth it. If I have another ________________ {certification, training, partner, class, session time}, then maybe, I’d be okay to do it.

I’m going to have furious clients and I just don’t know if I can put up with the aftermath of price increases.

I want to be accessible to everyone and I know this is going to make my client’s feel like I’m an elitist.

In all these fears, we’ve forgotten one thing—our future.

So here’s a fact to wash away those fears: Pricing does not matter to your client. Value does.

So let’s add a bit of value and make your price less of an objection and more of a mechanism to your 2016 thriving.

  1. Being the Wal-Mart of your industry is a sure way to failure. When we live by price, we live in a competitive world…a red ocean of blood sucking, business clawing, client stealing viciousness. But, there’s another choice. Study, after study, after study {after all my practical research} shows that you are far more likely to thrive {and long-term survive} when you’re priced at the top of the food chain.

Why? For me, it’s simple. When you charge higher prices, you can offer a greater and more consistent experience. And, your clients are coming back to you for that experience.

When, fear rears it’s ugly head, consider what you can offer with increased prices. Accountability calls, an assistant who truly connects people to their ideal products and classes, even time to really nourish a client early on.

These are loyalty building activities that come when you’re financially secure and they can be game changers for your client’s results.

  1. Value comes from benefits. When I work with businesses who aren’t seeing sales, it always comes down to the same problem—their clients can’t see the value they’re providing. Value does not come from what you do. It comes from HOW what YOU DO will CHANGE your client’s life, SOLVE your client’s problem or ANSWER your client’s desire.

The simplest way to change this is to stop selling what you do with your clients and start selling how what you do can alter your client’s life forever. Start by asking your current client’s this question: “WHY to you work with me? WHAT does this solve in your life? HOW has this changed you for the better?”

These answers will guide you towards how to share your value with your future clients.

  1. Whenever you package your products, you can increase prices {and value} through low cost additions.

I may sound like a broken record, but please…package, package, package your services. Be sure to include those low cost, high value items that really answer your client’s needs. And, feel confident in upping your prices because no one else will be offering a similar package.

  1. You can change your current clients prices {just don’t forget the value quotient}. We change a lot of client’s prices {and in August, November, December and every other month that seems ridiculous to do it in}. The key strategy to doing this is to treat your client like they are brand new and you’re re-setting your value with them. It makes everything else as simple as can be.
  1. If fear stands in your way, turn your pricing change into a scalable solution. Big pricing changes don’t have to happen overnight. For many client’s we have a one year plan with three changes {now, 6 months from now, 12 months from now}. Each change is small and may not even affect pricing across the board, but one year from now
2016’s BIG Question: How much am I going to earn?

I’ll be honest with you. When I ask most people how much money they’re going to earn this year as an entrepreneur, here’s what generally happens. {Complete Absolute and Utter Silence}.

It’s then followed by often by statements on the precariousness of being an entrepreneur, the fickleness of clients and the trepadatiousness of their market.

By nature, I’m a digger. Should you ever be trapped in a hotel room with me for a night get ready…I really will want to know your whole life’s story. So, I’m always willing to go a little deeper on the taboo money question with friends and clients. And, this always seems to be the elephant in the room:

“I don’t know what I can really make…maybe I’m unsure of what I can really do, what I’m really worth, or if I’m capable of making these goals happen. I don’t have a concrete answer…I don’t even know where to start.”

This strategy is never good.

But don’t fear, we’re going to make this happen together together in the strategy I use each and every year {and actually updated every quarter}.

  1. What do you want to earn this year? Not what did you earn last year. Not what do you think is realistic. What do you actually genuinely want to see in your bank account as your pay at the end of the year?

Word to the wise. I think this number should make you a little queasy. If it doesn’t chances are it’s not where you really want to be. So think big and be real with this number.

  1. What is the difference between 2015’s earnings and 2016’s goals? My second year of business this number was huge. I’m pretty sure I sat in our little Washington cottage and bawled my eyes out.

But, in the glory that is entrepreneurship, I had one thing going for me.

I could change this number. I could legitimately stand up, make a plan and be the start of my dreams. So I did.

  1. How many clients separate you from this number? If right now, the answer is I have no idea…no worries. For the next two weeks, we’ll be working on your Average Client Monthly Value, which is the magic number that answers this question.
  2. Now, it’s time to build an action plan to make that needed number of clients happen. Right now, you’re probably thinking, “Right…this is just what I need…because I really have no idea how to get there.” I had the same thought.

So I figured the two of us were better off, if we made this happen together. So next Friday, January 15th, we’re throwing a Kismet Club party to celebrate the New Year and make some serious action plans.

You can join the celebration right here.

Now, just in case you’re wondering, this isn’t my most formal webinar. There are no sales, I haven’t spent the last week practicing and I may hit the rewind button a few times.

But, we’re really going to talk about where you need to go and lay out some serious ideas on how to get there. Consider it a spa day for your business. A chance to zone out, take a deep breath and focus in on 2016.

I can’t wait to see you there!

Lise