breakdown

No, I didn’t have one. Not recently, anyway. Maybe next week ;-)

This is about my breakfast and your business (and mine too).

***

So I made what Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser calls a “real” breakfast this morning: a slice of toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter and half a banana, an apple, and 16 ounces of water.

As I made it, two things came clear—

  1. It’d been a long time since I made a meal with my own hands
  2. I was gonna need to clean up after myself
    …which is likely why I slipped into a life of eating containered food that was prepared by someone else.

A paring knife and a cutting board got dirty. Crumbs got on the counter. A measuring spoon got gooey, and then there’s the plate I put it all on.

It’s so inefficient, this cooking thing. Dishes get dirty, they need to be washed and put away, and then they get dirty the next time, and here we go again and again and again.

Yup. That’s the silly subconscious logic that eased me into a lifestyle where “breakfast” was a spoonful of Nutella and a squeezy pack of applesauce so I can get to the desk ASAP with only a small detour through the kitchen and only one dirty spoon to wash and only a small foil pack to recycle. Go, Girl, go!

WTH.

It’s amazing how, left to its own devices, my brain looked at immediate efficiency, but didn’t look three hours ahead to how hungry I’d be and the crazed emergency eating that’d bring on, or a year ahead to how much fat the lazy-busy-crazy cycle would put on my ass.

So. My breakfast.

Two minutes to clean up a meal that took five minutes to make. That’s some notable overhead, yo.

And I was reminded that everything has a cost and everything has a price. And with our businesses, we’d better be damned sure of the first one before we decide on the second.

***

Here’s a question: Have you done a break down of what it costs to provide your services?

I don’t just mean how long it takes to hold the session or the duration of the class. I’m talking the whole thing…from the initial contact to intake to delivery to invoicing to follow-up. Which is only half of it.

The other half is the direct, indirect and semi-direct support for that work: assistants, designers, copywriters; your training, whether formal or informal, membership dues for professional organizations; books, journals and magazines to keep up with your industry haps; your phone, laptop and other technology; payment processing fees, your scheduler and other online services.

And the third half —heh!—is time and money spent on promotion: writing blog posts, answering HARO requests, effective participation on Facebook and Twitter, free teleseminars, networking events, pro bono services, and maybe paid advertising somewhere.

Did you consider all that when you priced your stuff?

If you did, rock on with yo’ bad self. If you didn’t…?

Well…

I cried after working through my overhead. I cried and I pouted and I got mad and then I got to thinking and then I changed everything.

Some of my clients cry, too. We chart their income with expenses and time, and then the actual earnings per hour/project/session are revealed, and then the sniffling starts.

Now I start with: “Before we chart this out, be willing to be surprised…and grab some tissues.”

Many of us have learned to see income as an annual salary or doller-per-hour without addressing the overhead. That’s fine when we’re an employee…notsomuch when we’re flying solo.

So here’s an exercise worth doing. Simple inquiry meets basic math. Grab a tissue, just in case.

Grab a sheet of paper and make six columns: Offer, Income, Costs, Net, Hours, Yield

  • Column 1: Offer - List your services, classes, and programs
  • Column 2: Income - How much did you earn?
  • Column 3: Costs - How much did you pay (if anything)?
    For software licenses, VA, copywriter, graphic design, website, etc.
  • Column 4: Net - How much did you *really* earn?
    Subtract Column 3 from Column 2
  • Column 5: Hours - How long did it take?
    Think wide: writing the sales page, promotion, event prep, intake, delivery, follow-up, and alllll those &*%$! emails
  • Column 6: Yield - How much did you earn per hour?
    Divide Column 4 by Column 5
Like this—
Offer Income Costs Net Hours Yield
My Workshop $1790
($179 x 10 people)
$700
(copywriting + VA + ebook)
$1090 16 $68.13/hr
My Coaching Session $100 $100 5 $20.00/hr

Lemme know how it goes. And if you want my help with it, schedule a Pick My Brain session. I’ll bring the tissues :-)

xo