In a conversation earlier today, someone commented that “what you’re passionate about isn’t always the same as what needs to get done.”
After some reflection, I made this diagram:
The gold star at the centre of the diagram on the left is a great place to aim for when conceiving your business or creating a new product or service.
I’d even argue that all 3 elements are necessary:
- If people won’t pay, you won’t make a living at it
- If you’re not good at what you do, clients won’t stick around and you’ll develop a bad reputation
- If you’re not passionate about it, it will be really really hard to sustain the time/effort/energy you need to expend in order to get it off the ground (at the very least, you need to find *something* about your biz that gives you energy)
And it’s unrealistic to expect that everything in your biz will fall into that happy intersection (or even into a single one of those 3 areas.)
The circle on the right is where the trouble lies. (In case you can’t tell from the image.)
It’s the black hole of doom because it’s where these thoughts converge:
I don’t want to. I don’t know how. No one will care if I do it or not.
The contents of that circle vary from person to person, but it includes tasks or roles in your business that people won’t be paying for directly but are crucial to your success.
Things like management, administration, bookkeeping, sales & marketing.
Some of these skills/roles will fall into the “what you’re good at” zone (whew!) – and others will land in that dark circle (ruh-roh.)
For example, a lot of people struggle with sales/marketing and/or self-management (aka: getting yourself to do the stuff that needs to get done.)
Often at the same time. (Procrastinating about marketing, anyone?)
If your business isn’t making enough money, the problem is in the zone of doom:
- Not being good at sales and marketing leads to not enough clients
- Not being good at self-management leads to procrastination and not taking action to drum up business
- Not being good at strategic decision-making leads to taking action that doesn’t get results
- Not being good with the numbers can lead to pricing or cash flow issues
At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious…
The answer is to get good at the stuff you need to do…or to outsource it
Business skills are learnable and often outsourceable.
- You can learn sales and marketing skills (and you can outsource things like copywriting or social media)
- You can learn time-management and productivity skills (and you can outsource accountability to make sure you do what you need to do)
- You can learn to track and evaluate and make better decisions (and you can outsource perspective and expert advice by engaging a coach or consultant)
If you want things to change, you need to do something different.
You might want to start with the stuff you’ve been avoiding over there in that black hole of doom. 🙂