The Money Will Follow When Your Clients Come First

This post was written by Barbara Mencer and has been reprinted with permission.

Barbara Mencer is the Founder of the Business Breakthrough Institute. Over the past 25 years, Barbara has served as a strategic director of business development and marketing in professional service companies. She has served as a consultant, coach, and trainer to non-profit and for-profit organizations across many industries, including law, accounting, finance, real estate, high-tech, healthcare, hospitality, construction, and consumer products.

(I asked Barbara if I could republish this post…and she always graciously agrees…because while it is more generalized about business, it is especially relevant to solo practice.  Those who do well as solo practitioners know they must practice law no matter the difficulty of the journey.  They also trust the money will follow.  They don’t lead with money as the priority.  It is also true for entrepreneurs. Would love your thoughts after you read this great post.)

So many people get it backwards.

They want to make money, so they open up a business. Makes sense, right? After all, most real personal and family wealth in this country comes from owning a business, not from “workin’ for the man every night and day.”

So, it’s pretty simple. If you want to make money, you need to start a business, right?

Be free. Be your own boss. Make the decisions. Set your schedule. Keep the rewards of your hard work for yourself.

Great idea.

Well maybe … and maybe not.

If the reason you’re opening that business is to make money, your odds of failure just skyrocketed based solely on your motivating force.

Say what? Why’s that? Because things usually don’t pan out so well when you put the cart before the horse.

Making money is a great reward for running a successful business and most of us couldn’t or wouldn’t run a business if it didn’t pay, but money comes as the result of serving people’s needs and providing them with the results and value they’re looking for. It doesn’t usually come very readily or abundantly from seeking it directly.

The decision to start a business needs to spring from the desire to offer that service and provide that value in a field that excites you. The stronger the desire, the more successful you’re likely to be. The people who just have to start a business because they just have to do what they’re been put on this earth to do are the ones who are most likely to beat the odds and not only survive, but actually thrive financially as well.

Over a million new businesses are started each year in the United States. 70-80% fail in the first year. Only half of those that survive the first year will remain in business after five years. 90-95% are gone by year ten.

Why? Well, it’s often simply because people don’t know what they’re doing in terms of running a business or marketing or both, but it’s also because running a business can be really hard!

You gotta love what you’re doing. It’s what gives you staying power and persistence in the face of 12 hour days, computer crashes, accounting hassles, bad months, unexpected expenses, lost weekends, high cortisol levels, no health care benefits, personnel issues, no retirement benefits, missed paychecks, lost time with the family, dashed expectations, all manner of problems large and small.

Have you ever watched the TV show, Restaurant Impossible, on the Food Network? It’s really entertaining as well as instructive and enlightening regarding human nature … and the restaurant business.

Each week, the star of the show, Chef Robert Irvine, shows up at a failing restaurant and has 48 hours to turn it around … and he usually does. The guy’s a force of nature.

It’s astounding how many of the people he’s there to rescue got into the restaurant business because they figured it’d be a good way to make money. The restaurant business!

They aren’t passionate about food. They aren’t obsessed with providing superb customer service. Many don’t know how to cook and don’t really care about creating great food, and a whole lot don’t even care enough to keep the place clean and looking decent.

They just got into the business to make some money … and instead, they’re losing their shirts.

There has to be a mission, a higher purpose to what you’re doing in life. What you do has to matter beyond the money … and that’s no disrespect to money. We like it! But we know it’ll come if we do what we’re here to do … with passion.

Bottom line: Business owners who define their purpose, believe it, live it, and create a company culture around it are much more likely to thrive, both emotionally and financially. And when that happens, everybody wins.

It’s as true in business as it is in life … you get back only what you freely and wholeheartedly put into something. So, our questions each morning when we get up need to be, “Who can I serve today and how can I do my best to provide for them?”

Not … “Where’s the money coming from?”

If you provide, rest assured you will be provided for.

The money will follow … and just as important … so will the satisfaction.

Warmest Regards,

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

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2 comments on “The Money Will Follow When Your Clients Come First

  • I agree! This is much like those who begin a diet because they want to look a certain way. They may succeed in the short term but without tapping into a deeper purpose they are bound to fail. Passion alone will not build a successful business but it is a foundation that will drive you to give your best, be your best and build the best for those you serve.

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