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I was sprawled on the floor of a sunny Bainbridge Island living room, thinking about blindspots.
The occasion was the annual retreat of my Brain Trust, a master mind group of five coaches. We were looking at blindspots so our businesses could become more joyful, more prosperous, and bigger contributors to the well being of all sentient beings.
So I’m thinking really, really hard and coming up all sorts of spiritual-sounding things to work on, when Michael Bungay Stanier says to me, “How about managing for profitability”?
How dare he?
Miss Congeniality wakes up to reality
One of the ways I build my business is by making friends and influencing people. It’s easy for me to find ways to contribute that lead people to believe I’m smart, credible, reliable. I’ve got a flair for creating free content–like this article–that people want and share with others. And lest I sound to flippant, I work hard at these contributions and love that they make a difference for people.
And I love, love, love being admired and appreciated. Yum. Seems like managing for profitability to me.
Then, along comes Michael (and the other kick-butt coaches who were there that weekend), and suddenly it occurs to me that I’d made popularity so important that it was actually in the way of profitability. If I had a choice between making a profitable decision and one that would make me look good, I’d take door number two every time.
Miss Personal Growth sees the light
You may be surprised to read this, but I practically invented personal growth. When I was seven I was having insights into limiting beliefs. By eleven I was shifting paradigms with ease. Chalk it up to being fascinated with people (mostly myself) and the workings of minds and hearts.
Add to that the fact that self employment is a personal growth carnival. Every time you turn around there’s an attachment to release, a stressful thought to question, a pattern to shift.
It’s no surprise that like a few others of my acquaintance, I began to think that working on myself WAS working on my business. When I faced a business challenge, I was more likely to ask what I needed to fix in me than what my business needed from me.
It felt really mature and spiritual. Sometimes it probably was. And other times it was a heckuva good way to avoid taking responsibility for the bottom line.
Miss Teach-What-She-Needs-To-Learn reveals all
Lately I’ve been ranting about under-earning. That’s a direct result of working on my profitability blind spot. The more clearly I see how asleep-at-the-wheel I’ve been, the more passionate I am about sharing the wake up call with other Accidental Entrepreneurs.
Yes, it’s important to have good, even great, relationships with clients and customers. But do you really have clients if you’re catering to a fan base that isn’t interested in or able to pay you what you want to earn?
And personal growth through business is still my passion. But IS it a business if you’re not managing for profitability? Are you truly employed if you’re not paying yourself a good salary?
Self-supporting through our own contributions
12-Step programs have a tradition of being self-supporting through members’ own contributions. They don’t accept grants or gifts from non-members, period. There’s an emotional maturity and practical integrity that flows from this choice, and I think it is one that Accidental Entrepreneurs would be wise to entertain.
I know that since I took on the responsibility of managing for profitability I’m far more grounded, and not just in business. I make better decisions because my ego is less involved. I’m in a better position to be generous without losing my balance or burning out.
This is not about making money at all costs. It is about growing up as the creator of the rest of your life. It’s like eating food that honors and nourishes your body.
It’s healthy, happy, and wise.
Ack! I’m self-employed and I don’t want to under-earn any more!
If you love what you do and are blocked from earning enough by fear and confusion, you need “The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur.” That’s a bold statement, and I offer it most sincerely. “The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur” teaches you how to use three simple instructions to get clear, get clients, and get paid. You can learn more about it HERE.