Do you have the right business model for your business?

I just came back from a week vacation in Trinidad. It was stellar and much needed, and I made it my mission to be in the sun and water. Don’t let anyone tell you time off doesn’t do wonders for you; I’m re-inspired and clearer about what’s important in my business.

I also held my live retreat in NYC for my clients. During our 3-day MasterMind, we trained a lot in business, but we also connected. A lot. Over dinners, a spa night, and during hot seats, people shared their business challenges and triumphs and left with not just strategy, but huge emotional support to take them to the next level.

You cannot do it alone! Now I know this for a fact.

Here’s us hamming it up, doing exercises, and ahem, Bollywood Dancing.

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One of the things we talked about was creating the right business model, because it starts with the correct model and business foundation. I heard my clients say, “I don’t know what to focus on…” and “How do I know where I should spend my time each day?”

I knew these weren’t time management issues; They were business model issues. I used to ask the same questions when I didn’t think I knew how to use my time!

It wasn’t about how I used my time; I needed the right model to support my mission.

The correct business model lays the foundation for how you spend your time and supports any tactic you’ll use in your business. It’s the first to think about.

If you feel like you don’t know how to focus or don’t have enough time, look at your business model. If it’s not serving you, re-evaluate it.

I just created my 2015 annual plan this week using the same process I’m about to show you.

How to create the right business model:

Step 1: Get the right support and guidance.

A mentor, an expert, a coach, someone well-versed in your issue. Look for someone who’s successfully doing what you want to do and has a rock solid business plan. I went to my business coach, who showed me there was a better way to run my business than stressed out playing catch up to my to-do list. No matter what the issue, getting support is numero uno.

Tip: I also picked three people whose business, lifestyle, and energy I liked, and broke down their business model. How did they see clients? Did they travel? What parts of their business did I like enough to want to try out ?

Step 2: Know what stage of business you’re in and define your goals in a REAL way.

If you’re starting out in business, your goals are different from an experienced business owner. Initially, you need to create a base of clients, make consistent revenue, and build solid sales and marketing systems. If you’ve been in business a while, you may be ready to leverage your income with stuff that doesn’t take up your personal time. For example, in year three of my business, I created a group program to teach business to many people at once, instead of just private clients. I made myself more accessible, but only once I had a solid base of income. Now I’m at a stage where I only want to spend time on things that feel meaningful and fun, so my model has definitely changed from when I first began.

Tip: Know where you are and don’t try to jump stages. It’s not worth it. There’s a reason you are where you are, so honor a model that supports your current stage.

Step 3: Know who you are, what you like, and what you don’t like.

Don’t try to fit yourself into someone else’s model. This is YOUR life. I don’t care how successful or great someone is. If it doesn’t feel right for you, it’s not right for you.

Here’s how I did it.

  • I love to travel. So I incorporated a retreat outside NYC with my clients into my 2015 plan to do what I love and give my clients an experience they’ll never forget.
  • In 2014, I noticed I did a lot of things exclusively online, and I did NOT enjoy it. I crave connection and face-time. So in 2015, I built in more travel, live events, and speaking so I can have what I missed this year.
  • I’m not ready for (nor do I like) online products that much. So in 2016, I have a plan to revisit building out products related to my business. I see that while I sometimes buy online products, what I really LOVE are experiences; Live, face-to-face experiences, like concerts. My favorite birthday gifts are experiences over items, and I rarely buy souvenirs; I’d rather go on vacation with someone.

Knowing yourself is great business strategy!

Step 4: Pick the business model that feels right for you.

This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the most common features of an online business model you can play with.

  • Having a base of private clients (in a program or not.)
  • A private MasterMind – a yearly (6, 9, 12 month) program for a limited number of people who pay a premium to work privately with you. These sometimes contain live retreats or not.
  • A group program – to leverage your baseline income.
  • “Deep Dives” or “Intensives”- Laser-focused time with you for a short period of time: 3 or 5 hours instead of a long-term program.
  • Experiences: This is an offering customized to you and your client. It’s for someone who wants to work with you privately, but short-term, and it can be a day of in-person or online strategizing, a weekend, or any length of time that feels right for you.
  • Workshops or Short in-person live events
  • Live Events (one day or longer)
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Online programs – short (4 weeks) or long (8-12 weeks or longer)

My 2015 plan is composed of:

  • One private mastermind with two retreats: one in NYC, one outside.
  • One group program
  • A Deep Dive with me. Only 1 available per month.
  • A live event in the fall.
  • Speaking engagements during the conference busy season in spring and fall.

Step 5: Just Pick!

With this much choice, I know it can be overwhelming to get the “right” pieces in place. But don’t worry. Now is the time to experiment. The most important thing is just to decide. You won’t get it right on your first try, trust me! I’ve had to experiment many different times with different models to figure out the cocktail that worked well for me. And I’m still adjusting each year!  So don’t spend too much time deciding. Just pick the few that you’re excited to pursue that are do-able. Do-able means don’t put speaking gigs #1 if you’ve never done one and are deathly scared! Start small, with things you can actually carry out.

Tip: Only pick between 2-4 things per year. Initially, you only have so much time, money and energy, so don’t spread yourself thin. The goal, even as you grow as a business owner, is to always keep a few things on your plate per year that you can knock out of the park. 

Step 6: Know it will be a process of trial & error, and experimentation.

It’s important to stick to your plan for a while before you adjust. Just noticing what works takes a lot of time. So once you pick, ride it out for a while and don’t quit. Remember, don’t try to rush your phases because there’s beauty and grace in the lessons you need to learn right now. Look at me – I’m still not ready to build products or throw a 3-day live event just yet. But that doesn’t piss me off! I feel relieved knowing I have more time to pursue what’s currently on my plate and to trust the process.

Once you’ve worked with your model for a while, know that you’ll adjust and refine as you go along. If I stayed with the same model I had when I began, I would not be at the level I’m at right now. It’s just the growth period that takes time and that you must be patient with.

So, these are the basics of a business model for services online or off, and it works for coaches, health professionals, yoga and fitness trainers. Look at your business and see if you’re worrying about tactics “I don’t have enough time!” when it might be your business model that needs to change. Tell me what model feels right for you and what you’ll pursue in 2015.

With love,

xx Ishita

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