Start here: The 5 main reasons your business is sucking out your soul

Hi new friend! You’re probably busy, and I’m a nice person, so let’s cut to the chase about whether you should be here reading this.

These articles (and my services) are for small businesses, solopreneurs, and freelancers who deliver done-for-you or 1-on-1 services to their clients.

Examples are writers, editors, designers, developers, online business managers, bookkeepers, photographers, architects, tradespeople, cleaners, contractors, coaches, or consultants.

You’re in the right place if you experience some of all of the following scenarios on the regular:

1. Competitors who don’t care as much as you (and aren’t as skilled) seem to be killing it

You’re pissed off because you are damn good at what you do and you deeply care about getting great results for your clients. You’re totally not the “take their money and phone it in” type. 

Yet it feels like you don’t get the respect you deserve – you see competitors who aren’t as good as you getting the best clients, charging higher prices, invited to industry opportunities, and while you can’t be sure, you assume they even get to go on vacation sometimes too (the bastards.

2. People complain about your prices, even though you already undercharge

You spend hours upon hours of unpaid time in the discovery and pitching process with potential clients. You’re spending a great deal of time and care assessing what they need and writing up a fancy proposal.

Sometimes you get the job, but they try to negotiate your pricing (even though you’re already undercharging). You feel kinda desperate for income to cover all your business and personal expenses so you give in and feel resentful and pissed off before you even start. 

Or they just go with someone cheaper and it was all that time spent for nothing. 

3. Clients ghost you, slack off, like to boss you around, or are needy AF

There’s the ghosters. The ones who say yes to your proposal, you book them in and mentally start imagining the money in your bank, and then you never hear from them again. Sometimes they reappear months later and want their project done asap like you’re some kind of monkey puppet. These ones lose you sleep at night. 

There’s the slackers. The ones who take forever to reply to you, don’t get their tasks done on time, and need constant nagging. Their projects get drawn way out and you feel like you have to work double time to fit in their project on top of other projects. 

There’s the needy ones who need every. little. freaking. thing. explained. They’re always having emergencies. They send you a hundred emails a day, phone you after hours, and unload every possible open-ended thought that comes into their head onto you. You feel like you have to respond to every little thing politely even though you’d rather rip your finger nails out with pliers.  You want to to add a ‘pain in the ass’ surcharge onto their invoice, but instead you just grin and bear it. 

Most of your clients want to be in charge of the project and dictate to you what needs to be done. So they don’t really value your input – they just want you to execute their fuzzy-ass vision and expect you to do endless changes once they’ve gone and solicited eight of their closest friend’s opinions on your work. 

4. Money wise, it’s a feast or famine rollercoaster

Money wise, things are up and down. Sure you have revenue coming in but it can be really inconsistent which is gnawingly stressful. You’re never 100% sure where your next client is coming from. And when projects or your services get drawn out, the actual profit is shockingly low when you really look at it.

It always feels like you’re only just holding on. You’re certainly not paying yourself as much as you want to (if at all), and if you have employees you’re constantly worried you’re going to have to let them go.

You feel like you need more clients to really hit your revenue goals, but the idea of having more clients also makes you want to cry. 

5. You’re overworked and so. damn. tired.

The reality is that you’re already way overworked and constantly feel like you’re drowning… your health is suffering, there’s no time for self care or time off, and if you have a family, you’re afraid your kids are going to be graduated before you have time to look up from your desk.

You have personal dreams you want to fulfill but you’re afraid you’re going to look back on your life and it will all just be one big blur of invoices, emails and “Can I just make one more little change please?” a million times until you die. 

Sometimes you forget why you wanted to start your own business. Was it not for the freedom? The flexibility? The unlimited earning potential? The chance to do something you’re passionate about? Sometimes you dream about having a job again where you get to just follow orders and clock off at 5. 

Then you shake your head and remember that jobs suck too, so there’s just got to be a way to make this business work. There just has to be. 

I promise you, there is. I was in this place too with my business (and it sucked), but I did manage to turn the train wreck around and have helped plenty of clients do the same. Keep reading to learn how easy things could truly be!

Tracy Raftl

Tracy’s a small business branding expert who’s has been featured in the Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Creative Impact Magazine, and various podcasts. She helps entrepreneurs like you snazz their brands so they can work less, make more, and get clients that don’t suck.

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