Ia Jimenez is the owner of Your Best You Coaching. She is a coach, trainer and speaker specializing in Personal Branding,
Ia Jimenez is the Owner of Your Best You Coaching. She is a coach, trainer and speaker specializing in Personal Branding, Social Media and Career Development. Ia is instrumental in assisting entrepreneurs, small business owners and career professionals in clarifying their marketing and communication goals and implementing an effective brand strategy using social media.
Today, Ia talks about some of the mistakes she made in her coaching and consulting career and the importance of understanding marketplace demand and value.
Q: What were the top 3 mistakes you made starting out with your business, and if you could start over what would you do differently?
(1) Not taking a stand for my market value.
Early on in my business, I did my marketplace research and set my consulting rate within a competitive range. I knew I was more than competent with my delivery of the services I offered, but I had poor negotiation skills. I was afraid my potential clients would think I was too expensive and so I was quick to lower my rate. I was great at coaching business professionals on how to negotiate top dollar with a potential employer but when it came time to close my potential clients, I had difficulty applying those same tactics to my own business. Ironically, in some twisted way, I must have thought I was good at negotiating, because I always negotiated a better rate for them…unfortunately, at my own expense. Yikes!
It took a little while but I learned how to apply those same negotiation tactics to my own business. I’ve increased my consulting rate and stay updated on my competition. I now have complete confidence in articulating the value of consulting I deliver so when I state my rate now, I’m no longer afraid if they respond with silence. In the past, I assumed silence meant they were hesitant or reluctant to move forward so I would respond by offering a discounted rate immediately. Now, I wait for them to respond. If there is hesitation, then I work with them to uncover what is getting in the way of committing to the services they say they need. The conversation is now more focused on the value they will receive instead of pricing.
(2) Thinking everyone was my ideal client.
Again, in the beginning, I was eager for clients so I thought I should just offer every service I was capable of delivering to anybody who said they had a need! I went into it thinking I’ll just throw it all out there and see what sticks! As experience always proves to be the best teacher, I quickly learned that not everyone was my ideal client and I didn’t actually want to deliver all those services. I learned to shift my mindset in a big way. Too many services diluted my marketing and branding efforts and I realized it was hard for folks to truly see me as an expert in that particular area of service. This forced me to sit myself down and really hone in on my greatest strengths so that I could continue to not only enjoy my work but truly offer my best value to the marketplace. I now take my time during the initial consultation to uncover if we are the best fit to work in a consulting or coaching capacity together. I look for clues in our interaction with one another for compatibility. This is important to me as I take a very personalized approach with each client I take on. If someone comes in very negative, defensive or confrontational to my initial questions, I get some quick indicators of what working with them in a coaching capacity will look like. The best part is knowing, because this is my business, I don’t have to take on every client that walks through my door. That being said, if we’re not the right fit, I do everything I can from a service perspective to help them find someone else who might better serve their need.
3) Relying solely on internet marketing efforts.
Being in the social media and virtual career coaching space for the last 6 years, I spent so much time looking at how to strategize online that I really neglected connecting in my local marketplace. I made this mistake for the first four years, so this is a new lesson I’m learning more recently. When I coach my clients, I’m always quick to emphasize a healthy balance between internet and in-person networking. However, because I was spending so many hours formulating and then executing the social media or communication strategy in front of my computer, I couldn’t take my own advice and found myself disconnected from the general marketplace. I moved to a new market two years ago and I can’t even begin to tell you the benefits I’ve derived from joining local networking groups.
I’m accomplishing more locally in the past two years than I did in 4 years in a marketplace I had lived in for 8 years! This has helped me get in front of people I would never have connected with otherwise and helped me tap into what my local market needs. My new relationships have actually helped broaden my internet reach. I have also been delivering local workshops to help people understand the value of my services. I now have more people advocating for me and my professional expertise. This has also helped refine my online marketing efforts. Even if your business is solely online, I highly recommend making a committed effort to network locally with your business community and leaders. The value I have received in increased business has been immeasurable.
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