Do What Makes Your Heart Sing
December 15, 2022
Years ago I was having lunch with a close friend of mine, a person who I consider to be on my unofficial board of directors. I was seeking his advice on one of those “fork in the road” decisions I had to make. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but what I remember vividly was the guidance he gave me:
"Do what makes your heart sing.”
I thought of this moment earlier this week as I interviewed my friend Becky Berry CPCC about her career coaching work. Becky talked about wanting to get her clients, mostly women, into a role for which they’d be able to “sign with delight” at the end of each day.
What a beautiful idea.
Whichever of these metaphors resonate with you (or maybe you have one of your own), use one as a touchstone as you build your practice.
If thinking about a meeting with a client makes your heart sing, then that client is the right one for you. If the thought of that meeting makes your heart sound like my five-year-old grandson banging on the piano, then it’s time to reassess and do something about it. (And it might not be that client’s fault, by the way. It might be yours for having taken them on to begin with.)
Let’s expand the lens a bit wider. As solo and small firm professional services providers, we are sometimes captivated (and maybe imprisoned) by the idea of scaling our business into thousands of customers generating millions of dollars in revenue.
Maybe you see “everyone else” doing it, and you feel pangs of inadequacy over where you are in your journey. (By the way, what you’ve blown up into “everyone else” is actually a small minority. A lot of those people you envy? You’ve confused their social media presence, with striking graphics, cool videos, and lots of likes, with their revenue. They aren’t the same thing.)
You put the big firm in your rearview mirror because you don’t want to be saddled with difficult clients with corporate demands which are ruining your life. You went out on your own because you wanted to do the work you love. You want to go all out for clients you adore, sprinkling value all over them. They, in turn, love you back because of the transforming work you do for them.
Now that you’ve made the jump, why are you doing anything other than what makes your heart sing? Why are you in client relationships which make you unhappy? (And incidentally, the client might secretly be miserable as well.)
Maybe you’re taking on business which isn’t a great fit because you have some artificially inflated notion of “where you should be” in your headlong quest to “scale” your business.
Let me say this very plainly: there’s nothing wrong with a “lifestyle business.” Don’t be shamed into thinking otherwise. Anyone who looks down on your lifestyle business is a jerk you don't need to be listening to.
There’s nothing wrong with chasing big goals and scaling your business. If that is what makes your heart sing, go with it.
Wherever you are in your own unique journey, don’t forget that the most effective way to scale your business is changing your pricing. This is not my opinion. It’s an accounting fact.
It works for lifestyle businesses, and for businesses wanting to scale. If you make addressing your pricing a regular part of your management practice, you’ll have a business which makes your heart sing.
Image created using Craiyon (Formerly DALL-E Mini)
(This blog post was also posted on LinkedIn.)
©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray
About me: I help solo or small professional services firm owners with the confidence and positioning necessary to improve their pricing and change the trajectory of not only their business but their life.
I have a podcast called The Price and Value Journey, which features interviews with industry leaders and audio versions of my blog posts. You can find the podcast on your favorite podcast app.
I also have a book coming out in 2023: The Price and Value Journey: Raise Your Confidence, Your Value, and Your Prices to Grow Your Business Using The Generosity Mindset.
For more information, go to PriceValueJourney.com