Are You a Dabbling Debbie or Successful Susan?

Common Traits Of Successful Women EntrepreneursDo you ever feel like you have hit an income ceiling in your business? If so, you are definitely not alone. I speak to so many women entrepreneurs who say they would love to make more money but they’re not.

Through my years of working with entrepreneurs I’ve noticed certain common traits that tend to correspond with earning less and feeling stuck in your business.

I’ve also observed specific characteristics that correspond with owning a successful and profitable business and being able to serve more people.

I would like to introduce you to the 5 women entrepreneurs that I meet on a regular basis:

1. Dabbling Debbie
Debbie is very passionate about what she does, but she’s not so passionate about being a business owner. She does her business “on the side” and treats it more like a hobby than an actual business. She takes on clients here and there but doesn’t have a marketing plan, clear income goals, or a big vision for her business. She struggles a lot with inconsistent cash flow. Her business needs systems, structure, consistency, and commitment on her part in order to be successful.

2. Martyr Marsha
Marsha has a heart of gold and truly loves helping others—even at her own expense. She often discounts her services, undercharges, and gives away too much. She is reluctant to choose a target market because she knows she could help so many people. Sometimes she chooses to work with non-ideal clients because she wants to help them in spite of themselves. She often says she didn’t go into business for the money, and her bank account shows it. She struggles with attracting high-quality clients who happily pay her fees, so she is under-earning and feeling frustrated. In order for her business to be successful she has to first stand firm in the value that she provides and then set firm boundaries with her clients.

3. Hiding Heidi
Heidi is amazing at what she does and has a lot to offer her clients. Too bad only a handful of people know who she is. Heidi is reluctant to claim her space in the spotlight. Most days you’ll find her safely behind her computer rewriting her website because she just has to get it “perfect” before she “gets out there.” She avoids networking events and would rather die than speak in public. She does not enjoy marketing and sales one bit—so she avoids them both. She hates hearing the question, “So what do you do?” almost as much as she hates hearing, “So how much do you charge?” Talking about money and promoting her business just feels so uncomfortable. In order for Heidi to be successful in business she has to value her work, stretch outside of her comfort zone, and embrace her role as an expert leader in her business and her industry.

4. Ambitious Amber
Amber is very creative and wants to make a lot of money while helping a lot of people. She has enough ideas to launch a thousand businesses. She struggles with overwhelm and not knowing what to do each day—there are so many possibilities. She tries one thing one day and another thing the next day. She’s tried every tactic under the sun to grow her business but she’s not getting the results she wants. She works very hard but doesn’t have the income to show for it. In order for her business to be successful, Amber needs focus. Her biggest challenge is staying focused on income-generation. She needs help figuring out the fastest path to the cash and a plan for accomplishing her lofty goals. She also needs support to help her pull off her big ideas so she doesn’t get lost in trying to doing everything herself.

5. Successful Susan
Susan loves helping people. She’s great at what she does and she knows it. She knows exactly who her ideal clients are, exactly what they want, and has a system for helping them achieve their goals. She knows exactly the value she offers her clients and she charges accordingly. She pays attention to her money, has a plan for paying off any debt she has, and invests in her own business growth and development. She knows that in order to stay in business, to live abundantly, and to help more people she needs to make great money. She LOVES marketing her business because that is how she is able to connect with the people who need her most. She LOVES having sales conversations with prospective clients because those conversations are the first step in helping them make the transformation that they are yearning for. Susan is able to powerfully serve her clients and make a great living doing what she loves because she has a powerful relationship with money.

Take a moment and see which type (or types) of business owner you relate to most.  If you are a Successful Susan, congratulations–keep up the good work! If not, decide on one thing that Successful Susan would change about your business and implement it starting today. If you aren’t quite sure how to make this decision or how to implement it in your business , sign up for a complimentary Profits and Impact Breakthrough Session to get the help you need.

I would love to hear your thoughts, feel free to leave your comments below.

About Tiffany deSilva

Tiffany deSilva is the founder, CEO, and visionary leader of BrightFire Women’s Business Network, LLC.

BrightFire Women’s Business Network is the premiere sales training and coaching resource for service-based women entrepreneurs who want to increase their sales, serve more people, and change more lives.

Feedback & Comments:

  1. Your characters are so well drawn, I’m sure every person reading this will see herself in one or two of your people.

  2. Oh dear I hope the Heidi you had in mind for “Hiding Heidi” wasn’t me – as an expert on standing out and being unique to live their UQ Power it would be bad for me to be hiding.

    All jokes aside there is a little of all of us in all of them and its a good reminder to get on with our focus and vision thanks!

  3. This is a great way to distinguish these characters in business. It’s important as you recommended to “channel” Successful Susan and incorporate one action that will elevate your game. Well done!…pep

  4. Wow, what great descriptions of each type! I do like that you say to pick ONE thing that that Successful Susan would change about your business and implement it starting today.

  5. I like your characterization of the types. While humorous, they do hit home on what people do to themselves.

  6. Motivated Mitch enjoyed reading about your characters.
    Certainly we have all exhibited some of these characteristics at
    one point or another. Or at least we have come across people
    who have and still do.

  7. These are great descriptions — so clear. I can easily say I was a Martyr Marsha when I started my business, then I was a Hiding Heidi, now I am a Successful Susan … although sometimes I drop back into being a Hiding Heidi :) Yikes! I need to work on that!

  8. Tiffany, these are excellent tips. I certainly aspire to be a Successful Susan and I know that you are as well. However we all know someone from the other categories!

  9. Wow, Tiffany — you’ve done a great job of creating powerful profiles of the kinds of business owners many of us work with. Ambitious Amber pays me a visit about once a month, and I have to close the door in her face.

  10. I am with Trudy — I love that you encourage those who aren’t Successful Susans to see what she would change about their business. It’s like: make a decision NOT from where you are, but from where you want to be! Great post :)

  11. Very clever, Tiffany,

    I think we can all relate to each profile at one time or another. :) Being an entrepreneur is an ever-evolving experience.

    Write on!~

    Lisa Manyon

  12. Love these descriptions. So clear, I’m sure entrepreneurs can find themselves in 1, 2 or more of these women. Knowing where you are and how to move into Successful Susan is they key.

    Stay RADICAL,

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