The less I needed, the better I felt." -Charles Bukowski
New clients often come to me telling me they want, no need, to book more clients...like yesterday.
I listen and hear them. And I get it, we’re in business to make money, so we need to generate income. I preach making money doing what we love - having a business we’re wildly in love with that also gets us paid. I'm all about the money and also not about the money at all.
Yes to making money, more clients, more sales, more income. Abso-freaking-lutely. But this can’t be the main focus. That’s not how the money rolls in.
When we’re focused on needing money and clients, we become desperate and self-centered. It becomes all about us and our needs. That rent we need to pay, the debt we’re trying to pay off, that lifestyle we want to build.
I’m not saying you can’t want those things or don’t get to have them, but when that’s the focus and drive behind making more money, it makes it really tough to bring those clients in.
Why? Let’s unpack this a bit, ok?
First, we’ve bringing needy, desperate energy into our marketing and sales process.
Have you ever been on the other side of that sort of energy? If so, stop and think for a moment. How did it make you feel? Did it make you think, "Ohhhh, I want some of what they’ve got going on." or did it repel you?
I’d bet money that it turned you off.
When I was still acting, my acting teacher always reminded us that casting directors can smell desperation from a mile away.
You were so much more likely to book an acting job when you already had another one or knew you were going on vacation during the shoot dates. It’s why if you have a job it’s easier to get another job (among other reasons).
When we don’t need something and aren’t desperate for something, we bring an entirely different energy and presence to our work and to the game.
Ironically, it’s when we don’t need something desperately that we’re more likely to attract it and get it.
If you’ve ever dated someone who’s desperate to make a commitment, you’ve been on the receiving end of this. Not so fun, huh? This tends to cause the opposite of what they're trying to achieve.
"But, Kim! I need money. You don’t understand. You don’t get it," you might be thinking.
I DO get it, and I want you to make money. This isn’t an either/or. This doesn’t mean you don’t get to make money doing what you love. It means you gotta find a way to get detached and feel less needy. If you need a side hustle or part-time job, there’s zero shame in that game.
I rocked waiting tables for a decade while I was acting, so I’d never be desperate for a gig. I also worked a 9-5 when I started my business and then the same work part-time for a long time, so needing cash was never my drive.
Marie Forleo famously talks about quitting her 9-5 and working a bar job for something like seven years before she ‘made it’. Warby Parker talks about doing the same.
There are countless examples of this and Adam Grant debunks the myth that successful entrepreneurs are ‘risky’ and just quit their jobs to ‘go for it’ in Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. In fact, the findings say you’re less likely to succeed in business this way.
There are a few reasons for this, but one of the fringe benefits of getting some cash flow from elsewhere is cutting down on the desperation.
As frustrating as it is to hear, it’s a lot easier to get just about anything in life when we don’t need it. Like attracts like after all.
An example that I love to use with clients all the time for, are those Chinese finger traps. Have you ever played with one? You put your fingers in the trap and have to get them out. If you get all frantic, they tighten up. If you just chill for a second, they loosen up, and you can easily slide your fingers out.
Business is the same way. Desperate, needy energy repels. Letting go attracts.
Here’s the other super, duper important reason we have to get rid of that neediness if we want to make more money: when we’re in the needy headspace, it’s all about us. It’s about what we need, about our lack, about what we want.
On a personal level, that’s all fine and great. When it comes to business, I want to remind you it’s not about you, it’s about your clients and customers and what they need and want.
You aren’t selling your needs, you’re selling to help solve someone else’s problems! As long as we’re focused on ourselves, we’re taking the focus off of the people we can help, and this affects our bottom line.
Let me gently repeat this, it’s not about you. It’s about them.
We want to take the spotlight off of ourselves and what we need and shine it onto our potential clients and customers. What do THEY need? What problem do they need help solving? Where are they stuck? What are they feeling?
This is really hard to do when we’re all stressed out about paying off our credit card bill or stuck in comparisonitis, judging ourselves for not making as much as someone else we saw online. When we’re in this headspace, it’s ‘me, me, me.’
To make more money doing what we love, it has to be ‘you, you, you.’
How do we flip this? Think about:
How can you more giving?
How can you show up and serve more?
How can you create an even better solution for the problem your audience faces?
How can you understand your clients’ struggles that much more?
How can you get intimate with your peoples’ fears and what’s holding them back on a deeper level?
The magic happens when we shift our focus onto our potential clients and allow them to be the needy ones.
Wishing you your version of success!