Because few of us in the counseling, coaching or naturopathic medicine professions have been trained for being in business, we tend to have unrealistic expectations about how long it should take to consistently turn a profit.
Likewise, we can be overly idealistic about how soon marketing efforts will start bringing in clients. And the danger of this is that we adopt a shotgun approach to setting business goals and working an effective marketing plan.
Exact timelines will vary according to what degree of resources you start out with, how much time is available to work on your business, and how persistent you are at following through on a small number of daily tasks. But there are some generally realistic timeframes to keep in mind.
If you are like most solopreneurs I work with who have a small pool of resources to invest at the beginning, and are financing the launch of your business on personal credit cards or family loans, it will take longer to get a continually full client load.
The realistic expectation for the time it takes a one-person businesses to truly succeed is about 5 years.
If you are reluctant to set business goals with targets for where you want to be in 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years, it will take longer to feel and be successful. The more organized and business-like you are in your approach to running your business, the faster it will settle into a nice rhythm of keeping clients coming in.
The realistic expectation for success without a detailed business plan is from 3-7 years.
Note that detailed doesn't have to mean extensive. You don't need a 20 page business plan with charts and graphs. Start with 3 goals -- big, medium, small -- and target dates -- long range, mid range, near term -- by which you intend to achieve them.
If you are impatient or scattered in your marketing strategies, or trying to make a method work that goes against your natural personality, it will take longer to generate powerful client attraction. The more concrete, specific and consistent your marketing activities are, the faster they will pay off -- although not always in the direct ways you can measure.
The realistic expectation for highly effective marketing to be producing a steady stream of clients when you're a one-person show is from 12 months to 3 years.
These timeframes may sound like a very long time when you need clients now. There's no time like the present to get started on focused planning and follow through.
Overwhelmed? Not sure where to start? Email for a brief strategic steps chat.