BY TJ Walker
Many would-be gurus don’t understand business. They think of themselves as above the nitty gritty of mundane matters such as sending invoices and paying bills. After all, they are the best in the world at what they do and shouldn’t have to use their great brains for housekeeping matters like this. Right?
If you don’t keep track of all aspects of your guru business you will find yourself eating lots of Raman Noodles or applying for assistant manager jobs at your local Taco Bell.
There are three significant financial events that happen to you when you are running a guru or expert business. All three are equally important, and if you have only one of the three or two of the three happening, you won’t be successful in business.
The first leg of your financial table is getting a contract or letter of agreement WITH A SPECIFIC COMMITMENT TO PAY BY A SPECIFIC DATE for a particular speech, training, consultation or other service you will provide. Yes, you and I have read plenty of books about wildly successful people who claimed to do everything by hand shake and have never used contracts. We’ve also read books about the tooth fairy and Santa Klaus. Please take my word on this one: you will starve to death unless you get people to commit in writing what they want from you and what and when they will pay you. Until you have it in writing, all you have is a pleasant sentiment. Try taking your family out to dinner on sentiment!
The second leg of your financial table is actually doing the work. Give your speech, conduct your training, provide your consultation, host the TV show–and make sure you do a fantastic job at it. Short term and long term this leg is critically important, but no more important than the other two legs.
The third leg of your financial table is actually getting paid. Amateurs, novices and the unenlightened erroneously believe that the first two legs are all that are important—how wrong they are. The final step is making sure that you have actual possession of other people’s money in your hands or in your bank account. And I don’t just mean that you have a check or a credit card; I mean you have actual control over the money and can now spend it on stuff you want or need. Until that moment occurs, all you have is hope.
The success of your guru business depends on all three of these things going on constantly, not just leg two of fulfilling work. All three are critically important, but it is important to realize that not all three have to happen at the same time. For example, December might be a month where you do comparatively few speeches, workshops or trainings, so you might be low on leg 2 items. But December might be a great month for you in terms of getting contracts signed for work to be done over the course of the next 6 months. December might also be a great month for you to collect deposit payments on work to be done in the next 6 months. So December could be a fabulous month for your guru business even though you didn’t do much speaking, training or consulting. On the surface, you are visibly less busy. But below the surface, you are busy doing leg 1 (collecting signed contracts) and leg 3 (getting paid).
Build your guru business to last; make sure all three legs support your financial table at all times.