Common Pitfalls of Making the Journey from Penniless to Profitable

Common Pitfalls of Making the Journey from Penniless to Profitable

Do you check in on your numbers regularly? And by numbers I don’t mean social media followers, unsubscribes, or anything like that. I mean the real numbers… the ones that show you if your business even makes you money. The ones you can dig into and find out if your business model is healthy or doomed.

Yeah, those numbers.

Oftentimes, it can feel like digging into your numbers lands you in a dark, scary hole… and even worse, it’s one that you dug for yourself!

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can go from penniless to profitable by understanding your business by the numbers.

Common pitfalls of making the journey from penniless to profitable

Sure, you could start making more money today by doing things like cutting expenses or getting your marketing ducks back into a nice, neat row. However, if you want your marketing and sales machine to actually make you profitable, you’ve got to fix your pricing. You can have dozens of new leads in a month, but if your pricing is off then you can actually LOSE money for every new customer you bring in the door. Crazy, but true!

Here’s the even scarier thing, though. There are three big pricing pitfalls you can easily fall into right when you finally manage to climb out of the numbers hole.

You see, when you realize that you’ve got to get this pricing thing figured out right now, three things start to happen:

Under the guise of market research you start comparing yourself to others.

You think you’re just going to spend some time researching the competition to figure out what can charge for your work within the market. But instead of learning anything of value, you fall into the comparison trap.

Here’s how it happens: You create arbitrary methods for measuring how your portfolio compares to someone else’s. Then you stack up your client list or media features against theirs. And finally, you make an arbitrary judgement call about how your pricing should compare to theirs… without a clue about how they run their business, how they define success, what things look like behind-the-scenes, and so many other unknowns.

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You begin to fear that you can’t charge enough to keep your business up and running.

You think you’re doing the smart thing and assessing the demographics of where you live or how much you think your customers will spend on what you sell. But more often than not you’re just limiting yourself unnecessarily.

When you survey the landscape of your market from a place of lack, you end up with a list of everything your customers don’t have enough of… like money, time, appreciation for what you do. Fear takes that list and uses it to justify your prices. Fear tells you that unless you maintain low prices and give discounts, no one will buy from you. Before long, you believe that the only reason someone hires you is because you’re within their budget.

You develop a bad case of imposter syndrome.

All this comparison and fear leads you right into the pitfall of imposter syndrome. Because you’ve opened yourself up to so much self-criticism tied to money, it’s hard to even imagine someone paying you for your products and services.

Each time you try to work on your business, you end up asking yourself why your ideal customer would hire you when they could just work with this other person who knows so much more and doesn’t charge that much more than you. You start to forget all the happy customers you already have and begin to doubt everything about your business.

So what’s the solution? Forget your feelings and trust the numbers.

The numbers don’t lie like your inner critic does. So if you can do the hard work of understanding the numbers behind your business, you can actually price for profit.

When you make decisions using numbers rather than feelings, you can stop trying to sell to everyone. Instead, you’ll tailor your message for the smaller group of people who will deeply connect with your offerings.

When you price for profit, you confidently sell to the people who are the best fit for what you’re selling and no one else. When you’re no longer desperate to get any kind of sale just to pay the bills, you develop more confidence. Now your customers are happier because what you did for them was the perfect solution to their problem… and price had very little to do with it.

Common pitfalls of making the journey from penniless to profitable

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How to Get Valuable Client Feedback

How to Get Valuable Client Feedback

You’ve wrapped up a project, shipped out an order, or sold an online course… did you know that there’s a quick and easy way to sell even more?

Gathering and sharing testimonials helps you build trust with potential new customers, become more valuable, and, ultimately, make more money.

The magic is in learning more about your ideal customer after each and every engagement. Getting feedback from your clients gives you tons of information about what they liked best while working with you. You’ll also gain valuable insight into what they felt were obstacles or roadblocks in reaching the goal they first had when hiring you (or buying from you, of course).

If you want to inspire potential customers, improve your business, and solidify the value of your work in a customer’s mind when you wrap up an engagement, then you need to solicit feedback in the right way.

Make it easy.

Create a simple way to get client feedback as you wrap up a project. The fewer steps there are, the more likely it is that you’ll get a response to your questions. And make sure that the only call-to-action in the message you send them is to send back their answers!

If you use a studio management tool, there’s probably a questionnaire feature you can use to get feedback. There’s also Typeform, a free tool for creating and sending stylish questionnaires. Even a simple email can do the trick… write a couple of sentences explaining what you’d like them to do, add your questions, and then tell them to hit reply and send back their answers.

Above all, simplicity is key in getting the feedback you need to understand what’s going well and what you might want to tweak.


Grab my list of testimonial questions!

Put your email in below to steal the feedback questions I use in my own business to get story-driven testimonials!


Leave a positive feeling.

When you start asking questions about how someone felt about your product or service, you’re definitely opening yourself up to criticism, right? That’s a good thing because you want to learn more about your customers. However, it’s important to ask questions in a positive way. You still want to leave everything on a high note for both of you!

For example, instead of asking what someone disliked about working with you or what they liked least, ask them what they found most difficult about the process. An even more positive way to ask the same question is something like, “is there anything you would like to focus on more when working together?” Phrasing your questions in a positive way is more likely to lead to honest feedback that also provides moments of overall positive self-reflection about the project. See what I mean?

Tell a story.

Testimonials that have a beginning, middle, and end show potential clients where your customer was before you, how you helped them reach their goals, and where they are now that you’re all done!

To get testimonials that tell a story, be sure to ask open-ended questions. Not only can you turn those kind of answers into engaging testimonials, but they also keep your client feeling upbeat and reflective. If you provide multiple-choice options for them in your feedback questionnaire, you might end up putting negative thoughts in their head that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Once you get your survey back, be sure to ask if you can use your client’s thoughts alongside a highlight of their brand. If you rework their feedback into a new story, make sure you OK it with them before you post it anywhere.

Want to see story-driven testimonials in the wild? Check out the ones in my portfolio!

Oh, and here’s a bonus tip… sometimes your client will write a whole bunch of good stuff. Feel free to ask them additional questions and turn that testimonial into a case study like this one!


Grab my list of testimonial questions!

Put your email in below to steal the feedback questions I use in my own business to get story-driven testimonials!


How to Get Valuable Client Feedback