Is it possible for our work to feel less transactional and more transformational? Not just for our clients, but for us as the small business owner too?
What I mean by this statement is that with all of the business tips and advice out there, I never want to forget to bring humanity into my business. Reminding myself not to reduce people to followers, leads, subscribers or even targets (I know we all use these words, but every time I say it, it leaves me feeling a little icky).
I am trying to think of everything my business does, as an opportunity to make a difference to the people I come into contact with and (in a small part) to the world. I might not be the person who can bring about huge change, but if I can make a difference in the life of 1-2 people and they create an impact with two or three more people, that’s how the ripple effect of change really works.
I also don’t want to forget that we are also humans running a business. And I think it’s at this intersection that I get most excited. I want to help you design a human-led experience (and business) that makes you think less about the transaction between you and your clients and more about the transformation you can achieve together. How this work can make a huge difference to both of your lives!
This will help you focus less on deliverables (eg. how many hours you work, what tangible things your clients will get after working with you) and more about your time working together, the joy you can create through your process and the difference you can make through the work you do!
To me a human-led experience is taking your client on a journey, lighting up the path, extending a hand, and gently guiding your clients towards the transformation or destination that your service can provide. While also taking into account your own needs, how you experience being in your business. Creating rituals and boundaries that support you in running a profitable, sustainable and most importantly an enjoyable business!
This is the work that is lighting me up at the moment! But I have noticed that to do this work, there is a lot of (un)learning I need to do in the process.
From a really young age, I clearly remember a conversation with my father who once told me that I need to think with my head and not with my heart! As a young girl who had A LOT of feelings and would get lost in daydreams, I know this was probably just his way of making me tougher. Preparing me for the big bad world out there – but I didn’t realize how big of an impact that small statement has had on my life. I, like many other women, have been told to hide my emotions, be more analytical – MORE LOGICAL.
The truth is, I have never really been able to think with my head. I think it’s my biggest gift, and when I do choose to listen to my head it often leads me down the wrong path! It gets me thinking in terms of metrics & ego instead of what I know to be true. I often wonder how many better decisions I would have made if I had chosen to listen to my intuition over my ego.
And so I find myself turning away from all of the mainstream business advice out there, and I am really going to focus on putting my heart and humanity at the center of my business.
Will this make my growth slower? – YES.
Does that mean that I won’t have a multiple six figure business? – PERHAPS
Does that mean that I might not look as outwardly successful as others in my industry? – YES
Does that mean that I will resonate with fewer people – PERHAPS
But what I will have is a business that feels good to me, that will give me the “Success” that I truly desire, and will allow me to feel in alignment with the change that I want to see in this world.
So how do you go about creating a business that feels less transactional and more transformational? Well there are lots of ways you can do this – through your marketing, by defining your values, through your mindset and the way you treat people…
But the best way I know how to do this is through your client experience and your system and processes. To put humans at the center of everything you do in your business.
Here are some ways I would recommend making your business feel less transactional and more transformational:
Slow it down
Like waaaaay down!! We miss so much when we are trying to rush through our process.
One of my favourite stages during the signature brand experience is mapping out the client journey. It gives you the opportunity to focus on all the things your clients are experiencing while working with you, as well as looking at your own needs, energy and how much time you have available to dedicate to each and every client. By slowing things down and being very intentional with the way you build trust and connect with your clients you have an opportunity to really create a massive impact through the work you do.
An email becomes an opportunity to build trust or connection. A welcome guide creates a chance to establish healthy boundaries and build a working relationship that is nurturing & joyful for your clients and you. Your expertise and experience has the potential to make someone feel relaxed and at ease – try not to assume that your client knows what to expect or what will happen next, sometimes gently guiding them through your process can have a massive impact on the way people experience working with you!
Remember your why
This should be at the heart of everything you create, from your marketing, to your ethos and every touchpoint throughout your client journey. It’s easy to get lost while building a business – to get caught up in the vanity metrics but if you come back to your why you will always create a business that feels less transactional.
Why do you want to help the people you work with? Chances are you didnt start your business with the intention of being an instagram super star or to build an empire. My guess is you started doing this work because you had a passion for the work and you wanted to really make a difference in this world. If you can get back to your why you can create experiences that make an impact in the lives of the people you work with.
Let this why seep into every touchpoint & interaction you have with your clients.
Focus on serving your current, past and future clients
I think we can all be guilty of this – we can be so focussed on getting new clients and getting the job done, that we forget to nurture the clients we are currently working with! Often we can become obsessed with our marketing strategies and generating more leads, and we forget how important it is to serve our existing clients.
It’s important to serve them throughout your process not only at the beginning and the end. While welcome gifts and the final delivery of your service is important, don’t forget that there are other ways you could possibly make a more meaningful impact in your clients lives. For example, if you are a wedding photographer – how can you build trust, share your expertise, and make your clients feel seen and heard during the loooong gap between when a client books you, through to their wedding day?
Equally as important, how are you serving them once they have finished working with you? Do you follow up, do you show them how to get the best out of their investment and time working with you, do you check in to see how you could work with them in the future?
By doing these things you can build a reputation for really caring about your clients – and that’s what makes an impact. That’s what gets people talking and what can set you apart!
Give a little bit of love, and you will get it back
I am a firm believer in this statement – as a little girl my mom would always teach me that by giving first, somehow it would always find a way to come back to you! It’s not hard to show a little bit of kindness in everything you do – so the next time you feel a little discouraged, resentful or unfulfilled in your business, why not try to look at the situation from another perspective, and show some love. I can guarantee it will lead to even more love in return!
If this really resonates with you and you want to find out more – head on over to see how we can work together. Or sign up to my newsletter where I share more tips on how I run a thoughtful & intentional business rooted in slow business values & principles.