If you don’t have kids, you may not be familiar with The Monster at the End of This Book, which stars Grover. Through the whole book, he’s scared that there is a monster at the end of it, and he builds all sorts of walls and devices to protect himself by keeping you, the reader, from turning the pages. At the end, he finds out that the only monster at the end of the book is HIM, silly, squishy Grover monster.
I love this book as an allegory for being human, and I think it’s especially fitting for us business owners. Owning a business can require looking at the monsters we’re afraid of, and usually they boil down to just being silly old us.
Oh, the money monster
I just had this experience doing a quick run-through of my 2015 numbers. I hate looking at money in general, but especially my business financials. I look at a general P&L every months, but rarely dive into looking at and appreciating each client’s investment with me.
I want to dig into the source of my fear about money. I’ve often felt that the closer I look at it, the more of a failure I’ll find out I am. That’s the scared monster at the beginning of the book. Logically, I can look at my corporate career, the things I own, the gear in my closet–all of that–and see that I have at least some financial success. I don’t know exactly what I’m afraid of. What do the numbers really mean, except to express a level of energy I’ve accepted into my life in exchange for the energy I’ve put out into the world?
Still, they’re terrifying.
Money is the biggest monster I fear at the end of the book, but it’s not really money. I don’t have a name for it yet.
What I found at the end of the book called 2015
I’m going to be really honest here: I was really slow in 2015, down 42% in client volume from 2014. I whined about it, cried about it, and got grumpy about it. I focused on what I didn’t have, and all along, the clients I had did not get the love and attention they deserved from me … at least energetically.
What I didn’t realize until this morning is how AMAZING 2015 was in terms of average client investment, which is up 60%.
All but 8 clients invested at least 10% more than my average client investment in 2014. Dude. Coming clean: In mid-2015, I did a 35% price increase–minimum investment moved from $1000 to $1350. But I had 10 clients invest at least $3,000 total, including session fee. And five of my under $1500 clients were mini sessions and women who were gifted sessions and added on product.
Clients, I love you. I’m sorry I’ve felt a bit resentful about the love you’ve showed me in 2015 because I just didn’t see it. Why? Because I refused to look. I put up ropes and brick walls and begged and pleaded with myself not to look at you closely because I was afraid of what I would find, and what that would say about me.
And this was a huge lesson to me. I have to keep a list of the total investment each client makes and look at it often. The fear of financial failure is the monster I expect at the end of the book. But what’s at the end is just me, loving my business and my clients, and my business and my clients loving me back.
My question for you: What’s your monster?
My other monster is marketing. I’m so, so afraid of it. Where should I even start? There are so many options … so I do nothing. I rely on search. And my Denver boudoir photography market has become incredibly saturated with good-to-really-good boudoir photographers who all charge less than I do. I’m afraid that I’ll do it wrong. After all, search has worked for me for five years. I think I need to see what walls I’ve put up to protect myself from my fear of not being good enough to be seen and heard (hello, Limiting Belief of Unusual Size), just like Grover does in this book.
So, what is YOUR monster? Tell me in the comments. I really want to know.