This happened to me when I was in the early days of being an "official" business owner--year 1 or 2.
Despite huge growth and powerful progress in every area of my life during those years, I noticed a theme in my life: feeling unappreciated and unrecognized.
It was actually playing out in multiple areas, but the one I really noticed was my work. I had two client leads within about 10 minutes (!!!), but then both showed immediate hesitation when the conversation turned to money. And then they each started trying to talk me into offering modified versions of my services for less money.
What a bummer.
But these women were so cool! And their projects seemed interesting, too.
I believe strongly in the idea that everything is a lesson. I also believe in claiming your own shit instead of projecting it onto others.
I was fully ready to claim that I wasn't really calling in the right energy, but it was the end of the day, and I was in my feelings about it just a little bit. My first emotion-fueled thought was, “Things have been going so well! I've made so much progress, and I know I deserve more money and more appreciation than this. What am I doing to attract these not-quite-right clients? And...how do I attract clients who can’t wait to invest in something high-quality?”
A quick post on a Facebook group I love sent back all the confirmation of things I needed to hear, plus some additional insight, which I’m going to recap here.
Those potential clients, the ones that seem awesome at first but want you to compromise on core beliefs, are sometimes going to come your way hard. This is an opportunity to grow into your more capable, most luminous self. You can stay where you are now, or you can move forward and hold the standard.
If you choose to move forward (and you should!) then this is also a golden chance to look at what you need to do and communicate in order to step into that role. How can you make yourself accessible and available for the exactly-right clients that are ready to create something amazing with you?
One woman pointed out that apprehension about money shows nothing but fear. Your work has value, but people who are tied up in their own fears are too deep in their own stuff to see clearly or appreciate anyone else.
They’re not ready to truly value themselves, because if they were, they’d be ready to commit to the things that will help them scale their business. Smart business women know that the right investments are a no-brainer and completely worth it.
On an energetic level, do you want to begin the relationship by cultivating the energy of having to impress them or prove yourself to them? If they're already showing resistance, do you think they're going to be fun or easy to work with?
When we love our work and see the value of it, that kind of behavior is a red flag. They are not ready for you, so you can release the pressure to win or prove yourself here. (That's ultimately kind of what this is, isn't it?)
If these people are actually blocking themselves from making the choices that would help their businesses the most, then what does that say about us? The least we can do is make sure our own energy and intentions are clean of that. Turn it around: have there been times I’ve blocked myself from really taking off to where I want to be? Um, yes!
So many women (especially those who are moms or have busy lives outside of work) can relate to this sentiment: when it comes to my clients, my kids, my volunteer work, they get everything I have. But am I really taking myself seriously and making that same effort for me?
The actual “work” is important, but only part of the equation when we’re talking about building a brand and a business. Are you also giving that support and nourishment to your own business, or is it only being poured into your clients? (If you're solely focused on clients, then you're not running a business; you're providing a service. That's fine, but there is a big difference and it's important to realize this.)
For me, this is what came up in response:
For me, it became really obvious once I went there. The fact that my own site and social media sat on the back burner while I chugged away on client work was a sign of priority imbalance. My inconsistent energy did not communicate that I was open to collaboration with brilliant minds. (No right or wrong here; just stating what’s up.)
If you’re not willing to invest in yourself, you’re going to attract others who aren’t ready to either.
Do the work, do it authentically, do it well. Do it the way you want to do it. Do it in ways that position you as a leader and a business owner, not just a simple service provider.
The confidence of a woman who knows her worth radiates out. The energetic effect of someone who unapologetically owns all parts of herself, both the things she's proud of and the pieces still in transition...whew. It's pure magic.