She was surprised:

“How do you get clients without promising results?”

Other business coaches had promised her piles of cash. When their methods didn’t deliver the kind of business results they sold, she blamed herself… “It’s not the coach… It’s my own fault.”

I used to promise results, too. Isn’t that the only way to get clients?

After years of marketing experience, I’ve learned that sustainable trust is based on honesty and caring, not hype.

What I now promise to my clients is the following:

  1. My content — the best of my ideas for them
  2. My structure — a thoughtful…

In entrepreneurship, we often encounter a fixation on big goals and dramatic results.

“Get 1 million followers! … Build a 6-figure business!”

When that is the constant focus, two things happen:

1. Your subconscious keeps telling you — daily — that you aren’t there… that you aren’t yet “enough”.

Desire becomes a contract we make with ourselves to be unhappy until something specific happens. (paraphrase of Naval’s tweet)

The fixation on a big numeric goal (such as “6 figure income” or “1 million followers”) creates an underlying layer of unhappiness or anxiety with one’s current life.

2. The more you…

To sustain well-being in any area of life requires discipline (or persistent practice). Specific actions, done consistently, allow you to thrive.

In physical health, good practices include eating nutritiously, exercising adequately, sleeping enough, and caring relationships.

When it comes to authentic business, there are 8 important practices that I recommend.

I’ll describe each of these.

1. Joyful Productivity

Here is the foundation for any thriving business: the ability to consistently work in a focused and joyful way. Balancing rest and action, with a spirit of playfulness throughout.

Joyful productivity is a suite of practices that fuel one’s sense of well-being when working.


These are the techniques that help me…

To build a thriving authentic business requires multiple habits to be cultivated. If I had to name one habit that I would encourage everyone to start with, it would be to practice better sleep.

Surprising? Or maybe not, if you understand that better sleep is required to have the energy to plan strategically, to be creative, to set boundaries, and everything else that’s part of effectively managing your time and relationships.

In this article I’ll share with you what works for me to sleep better. I also welcome your comments on what works for you.

One-Time Preparations

Get blackout curtains for your…

I’m strict about showing up and lenient about the results

Created in Canva by the author

A client asked: “George, how do you stay with such a regimented schedule… yet remain calm and joyful as you work?”

Every workday, I stick to a schedule, getting a lot done in an easeful manner, without undue strain. And yet, even with a full day of appointments and projects — whenever I meet with clients, they don’t feel like I’m in a hurry. I can still be my creative self with them.

It’s taken a lot of practice. Here’s the key:

I’m strict about showing up, lenient about results, and gentle to bring myself back to focus, again and…

Years ago I went to a Robin Williams’ comedy event called “Raw” where he was testing out new material.

As a big fan of his movies — I was very surprised that, at the event, most of the jokes he told were terrible. I had no idea that he was so un-funny :)

But this is how many comedians do it. I’ve heard that Chris Rock does this too. And so did Richard Pryor. These are called “work in progress” gigs. They test out new material in front of smaller live audiences (free or discounted rate) without publicizing the event…

Next time you earnestly pursue a project, yet still “fail” to get the hoped-for results, remember this: There is no failure, only redirection.

Even the lack of feedback is feedback. You’re getting the instruction from Life to try something else.

You are being redirected to another idea, another method, another experiment.

A higher purpose than “getting results” is your own learning, your inner growth in patience, lightheartedness, and courage.

Someone who “failed” many times was Thomas Edison:

“I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed 3,000 different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of…

The most common financial goal for solopreneurs? To make “6 figures”.

(And if they achieve that, they now have to make “7 figures” because you can never make enough, right?)

How do you relate to goals?

Do you set ones that are effective — and mentally healthy — for you?

While there is some science that having “big hairy audacious goals” can inspire and motivate organizations of people, I wonder if it actually helps you, the self-employed person, to take consistent action. Do the BHAGs help you work on strategic tasks with joyful productivity every day?

Many of us have…

One of the secrets to a joyfully productive life:

Learn to become sensitive — often — to your state of being, throughout the day.

And if you catch yourself in a less-than-optimal state, do your energy reboot practice, right away, to re-enter a good state.

A simple way to gauge your state of being is to ask:

“Right now, am I in green, yellow, or red?”

Green = feeling deeply peaceful or happy. When I’m working, Green means being in flow, confident, skillful, curious. When I’m resting, Green has me feeling nourished.

Red = feeling exhausted and negative, easily giving…

The Tapering Strategy for Getting Clients

One of the inner blocks for self-employed people is charging money — or charging enough — for a service that they love providing.

One of the outer blocks is, of course, not having enough clients!

In this post, I’ll share a method that can help resolve both issues…

I call it the “tapering strategy” because you’ll be starting with a price that you’re very comfortable asking for (even if it’s zero) and gradually tapering up the price, and then tapering down the availability of your low-fee services.

The Basic Plan

First, determine how many client sessions per week you can happily sustain. Assuming…

George Kao

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity"

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