It’s tax season…a time most entrepreneurs dread.
Not only is it not super fun to hand over a wad of cash to Uncle Sam…it’s also not cool to sort through your business expenses for the year and note where every dollar went.
At least that’s how it used to be for me.
When I got serious about expanding and growing my holistic wellness center, I was willing to do whatever it took to build a six figure business that would serve the needs of my under-served community…
…even if that meant spending a lot of dough.
I got a little carried away on my mission to have a booming business…and in that first year…I moved my office into a pricey building (a whopping $3,000/month)…
…bought all new office furniture…
…hired a whole team of staff…
…decorated the place to the hilt….
…bought yoga equipment…new computers…and the best (most expensive) complimentary tea I could find.
I wanted to make my business look successful right from the start…believing in the idea that “if you build it, they will come”…
…and I wanted to create a top-notch, luxurious experience for my clients so they would become raving fans and tell all their friends to come too.
I bought every shiny object I could find in an effort to make my business shiny…to draw attention and gain clients fast.
But while I was all caught up in appearances, I wasn’t paying attention to how much money I was spending…
…and before I knew it…I was $87,000 in debt…and wondering how the hell that happened.
If clients had been busting through my doors…handing over fistfuls of cash…and posting glowing reviews on my Facebook page, it might have been worth all the money I’d spent.
But that definitely wasn’t what happened.
In that first year, no one even knew my business existed.
Clients trickled in here and there…but they certainly weren’t swooning or eagerly handing over money for their services.
In fact, many clients tried to negotiated discounts for yoga classes…a lower rate for counseling…or a free session of nutrition coaching to see if they liked it first.
Because I was so desperate for money (to recoup the loss from “shiny object syndrome”), I took on any client that came to me…
…even the nightmare clients that wanted to pay me half my rate…and expected me to be available to them 24/7…and then didn’t show up for their scheduled appointments.
That crap got old fast…and I found myself totally hating being an entrepreneur…
…losing sleep at night worrying about how and when my business would ever make a profit…
…and considering closing the doors of my wellness center completely and getting a job flipping burgers at McDonald’s (where I’d actually make more money).
I was contemplating all this around TAX TIME…and the deadline to turn over my business expenses to my accountant was quickly approaching.
I didn’t want to look at all the money I’d spent on my business…and I didn’t want anyone else to know how much I’d spent…and how little I’d earned that year. (Oh, the shame!)
But I didn’t have a choice.
I brewed a strong cup of coffee…pulled on my comfy sweatpants…devoured three double stuffed Oreos in 2 seconds flat…and started rifling through receipts.
I listed each expense in a spreadsheet…organizing and categorizing every dollar spent…
…and as I did…it became clear to me that I needed to ditch the desire of making my business look good with a bunch of fancy and expensive things…
…and make my business great by being great at my work.
Staring at the total on the bottom of that spreadsheet made my stomach turn…
…and it made me realize that there wasn’t a single client who gave a crap about the kind of chair they sat in or the beautiful paintings on the wall.
The clients cared about the service they received…and feeling better…and learning strategies to make their lives better.
And when it came right down to it…that’s really what I cared about too.
I’d simply forgotten that in an attempt to grow my business really big, really fast.
When I started focusing more on becoming the best therapist I could be…and less on #allthethings…
…my income multiplied x 5 in eight months.
I realized I didn’t need a whole team of staff…or all that yoga equipment…or super expensive tea.
I trimmed off the fat from my business and trimmed down expenses…and saved a lot of dough.
My business wasn’t an overnight success. In fact, it took about five years for it to start producing the profits I wanted.
But that’s just the nature of business…it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
You might be dreading tax time…and pulling together all your expenses…and seeing where all your money has gone this year.
But by doing so, you can see clearly where your money is going…what it’s really doing (or not doing) for your business…and then you can make some educated decisions about what you want to do differently.
It’s not so much about how much money your business makes…it’s about how much money you get to keep in your business.
Instead of spending a lot of dough on shiny objects…hiring a whole team…or paying for expensive ad campaigns…
…focus on becoming the best at what you do.
Instead of devoting all your energy to making a boatload of money in your business fast…
…devote all your energy to providing the best product or service possible to your clients/customers.
That’s what will make your business profitable and successful.
Action step: Think of one way you can become better at what you do and share it with me!
I live on Instagram these days…so find me at @nicoleiacovoni and share your answer on my Instastory.