Dear Jenn and the horses,
I am a business owner and I feel like I have a really great service offering, however, I just can't seem to attract enough clients? I've taken courses and read books on attracting clients but I'm still not attracting enough clients? Every month, I'm scared I'm not going to make enough money and I feel anxious all the time. Please help.
Thank-you for reaching out with your question and what a delicious question it is. I'm sure many entrepreneurs, solo-practitioners, creatives, healers, coaches etc. can relate to this feeling. Running a business and having the pressure of attracting clients and paying the bills can feel really scary and cause lots of anxiety at times.
I'd like to start by saying great awareness around how you feel. Being aware of our feelings and the stories we are telling ourselves is the first step—the biggest step! You are aware that you are anxious all the time and aware of the story, “I'm not going to make enough money or attract enough clients". Awareness and understanding of the pattern is key. Once we have that, we have something to work with.
What many of us do is as soon as we have the fear or the anxiety, we desperately start reaching out and trying to fix the feeling by trying to create more clients and more business by searching for answers outside of ourselves. We may even think that the anxiety and the fear is telling us we gotta do something or we're going to fail. So we "anxiously and fearfully" start looking for coaches, books, seminars, programs, clients etc. that will save us from our uncomfortable feelings. The anxiety and the fear is now in the drivers seat and we start trying to create clients or build our businesses on a bed of anxiety and fear rather than from a relaxed and knowing place, which in turn creates more fear and anxiety.
Davinia, one of the horses, reflected this anxious behaviour to us when she came to join our herd. She was particularly anxious when she was in her stall to feed each morning. She would move around in circles incessantly, get diaharea all over the stall, call out to her friends, dig holes, bite the wood on the stall door etc. Her sole fear-based focus was on getting out of the stall. One morning, a client witnessed this behaviour and in reflection to it, said, “If she would just settle down and be present, Davinia would be able to see what was available to her; yummy grain and hay, water, and a moment to chill on her own without the horses trying to take her food.” Yet Davinia was too focused on being out of the stall that she couldn’t see the abundance of things available to her. Davina’s anxiety was in the driver’s seat taking up all her mental and emotional space. She tried everything possible to get out of the stall except to relax into it. When we're growing a business we can feel filled with this same fear and anxiety around making money and getting clients and there is no room for inspiration or for self-directed ideas. We can't see what's available to us or even hear our own wisdom when we are in a place of fear or anxiety.
So first things first. It's important to acknowledge what you are thinking and feeling. You feel scared and anxious. OK! So notice these feelings. Put your hand on your heart and breathe. These are feelings and they come and they go and they come and they go. Say 'hi anxiety, hi scared feeling", here you are again. It's ok. Just watch them. Then the thoughts, "oh wow, there are those thoughts again, hmmm I'm telling myself that I can't attract clients, that I'm not going to make enough money, hmmm there I go again". When we believe our thoughts, we perpetuate them. We buy into the story (we don’t have enough clients, we’re not going to make enough money) and in turn create more anxiety for ourselves. When we try to push them away or stop them or cover them up that is actually what causes us to suffer. Be with them. They always pass.
Practice deep relaxation. When you're scared or feel your body getting really anxious, take a step back. Breathe. Give the feeling some attention/acknowledgment. Go for a walk, practice deep breathing, notice the sensations in your body. The feeling will pass.
Find your joy. Clients don't come from figuring it out or from trying to chase your anxiety away. Clients come when you are in a place of joy, when you feel good, when there is space for inspiration.
Once you are able to relax into yourself and you follow your inner joy, the exact answers you need will arise from within you!