So, you want to build your business from scratch, replace your full-time income, walk away from your job, say “Sayonara” to the boss, and take off to go run your own business. Do your own thing and live your own life. Right?
The cool thing, as someone who fulfilled that dream back in 2014 in four and a half short months, is to watch how many others pine & dream for the same goal.
As a piece of advice to other business owners and future business owners: it’s awesome! Always has been, always will be. 100% worth the stress and work.
But one thing I've learned again and again throughout many conversations with other future business owners: There’s a problem with making that happen. Everyone wants to have that autonomy, and the ability to work from home. Everyone dreams of the ability to do whatever they want whenever they want. But when we started to look at why so few people are able to pull it off successfully (and the definition of successful here is that they both walked away, and didn’t have to go back shortly there-after). From my personal perspective, there’s a huge piece of the puzzle missing for many of them, and that’s what I want to address now!
One of the first pieces is that these guys are, more times than not, interested in doing this but they're not committed. They're interested in walking away from their full time job, but they're not committed to making it happen. Everyone thinks it’ll be cool, fun, and that hearing a story like mine (Started the business in May and by the end of August, was making more money part time than full time) makes it sound so simple. It’s easy to get motivated when you hear a story like mine. But I’ve talked to person after person who has a part time business that is floundering and struggling. They are often making, maybe, $500 a month on the side. They know there’s potential, but they don’t know why it’s not working
There’s three key steps to fixing the most common problem holding back these wan-trepreneurs.
Before I proceed though, caveat emptor: You have to truly want this.
I mean truly want this. You have to sit down and decide if you are willing to make the sacrifices to make this happen. That may mean saying no to events with friends for a while, it may mean missing something that seems incredible so that you can reach that goal you want. You have to be committed – either you are going for that goal 100%, or you’re not going to do it at all.
Because without conviction, it won’t happen. Trust me.
The first step is get crystal clarity on is your goals.
I can hear the eyes rolling from here.
The first time I spoke with my coach, I did the same thing when he gave me the same BS line. I was pretty clear on my goals: replace my full time income and stick-it to my boss!
I was talking to this coach about how I needed to get more sales and I had only sold two books my first month in business and that, obviously, wasn’t going to cut it. I knew I needed help growing the business, because I was starting to stress! And our entire first session, all this guy did was sit down and walk through my goals.
For an hour.
Poking and prodding at my goals, asking why I wanted them, how I decided that that goal was important. On and on and on.
At the end of the session I actually cut him off when he assigned me homework that was more goal setting BS and told him I wasn’t interested. That I wanted techniques and strategy for how to accelerate my business growth and I didn’t need to spend time putting all my goals on a stupid dream board.
And he said something that has stuck with me: “The how is not hard. Someone out there has done this before or something similar enough that figuring out how to accomplish the goal is not going to be difficult. What is hard for most people is getting clear on what they want to accomplish and why. They have some nebulous idea in their head, or they have picked up dreams and goals from friends and family members. It doesn’t matter to them, and there’s very little clarity about what goal is trying to be achieved. We take on goals because society tells us we should want to take our kids to Disneyworld or drive a fancy car, but there’s no true internal drive.”
Too often, we don’t know exactly where we’re going.
To use an Earl Nightingale-esque example:
Suppose you decide, on a whim, that you want to travel from New York to Africa and you hop in a rowboat and start rowing. You’ll be lucky to make it out of the harbor and might make it a mile or two off the coast, but in all likelihood, most of us wouldn’t make it much further than that.
Not really. You have to know exactly where you’re going before you start. Are you going to the southern tip of Africa? Are you going to the northern tip of Africa? Either destination will change the way you plan to set out, and the direction you go in. Knowing the distance might change your plan from a rowboat to a yacht, or even a plane.
Business works the same way. If you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know how to prepare or set your course! So, set your goals clearly, and ensure they are YOUR goals!
Make sure you have a solid business model.
Too many business owners fail at this primary objective. I regularly see business models that only kind-of work because they require too much effort in fulfillment. Or the business is offering a package that nobody wants to buy.
Daymond John said it best: the only proof of concept is whether your prospect will actually open their wallet and pays the asking price. Until then, it’s just theory. Instead of spending months preparing for a big launch, put together something pretty good, and then test it out with a small market. Ensure it sells. Then you can worry about a huge launch!
Here's the key: if no one will buy it while you're out there testing it, they're not going to buy it once you go full time with it either. Friends and family are going to want to be supportive, and that’s great! But unless they actually pull out their wallet to pay you real money, it doesn’t count. When people have money on the line, that is when they're being truly honest with you. Otherwise they're just being nice.
You need a good business model! You need a product to sell, you need price points that work, you need a product that the marketplace wants. You need to price in a way that the marketplace will pay. This will all help make sure you have enough money to run the business (Btw, if you’re struggling there, a great book to check out for help with this is Profit First by Mike Michalowicz!).
The last step!
Start taking massive action.
This is where it matters if you are interested or committed. Interested individuals take action until something better comes along or it gets truly uncomfortable, or perhaps they try and don’t get the results they expected, and move on.
Interested people start a network marketing company or a social media marketing company, call their friends and when none of their friends want to sign up, they immediately give up.
What’s dangerous here is that this kind of activity develops a habit of quitting.
I know because I lived it. Multiple times.
And you may be in the same position: with a long history of failing-to-finish.
I had failed to even finish crocheting a single blanket much less get any of the network marketing businesses or side hustles off the ground.
The reality is, most of the time, I had never put in the right amount of effort and energy into the project. I felt discouraged because the blanket wasn’t finished overnight, or I ran three appointments and not a single person signed up.
The reality is, I ran 15 appointments before I got my first sale when working my first corporate sales job. And disconnected that reality from the reality of building a secondary business. I thought it would be easier for some reason. And I jumped in to two network marketing companies with nothing to show for the dollars spend and (minimal) effort invested.
I had to reach a point of true desperation to be willing to push through the pain and the sheer numbers needed to get enough sales going that I could walk away from my full-time talk.
It sounds really smooth when I recount it:
“Built her business from scratch to replace her full-time income in less than five months.”
That’s the sentence that gets announced from the stage every time I speak in public.
It's so tight and pretty and it sounds so simple, but the reality is I was working 90-100 hours a week, every week, for months trying to build that business from scratch. This was not something that happened by chance. This isn't something that happened because I got lucky. I worked my butt off. I used all of my vacation days so that I could have time to go work on building the business. I put massive amounts of effort in.
So yes, it takes tons of effort and work. I'm a huge believer that you have to put the amount of effort in and so many times this is where I see people fall down.
Maybe they've got some clarity on their goals, maybe it's not quite clear enough, and so they're not inspired by it and motivated by it enough to push through the pain to put the amount of effort in they need.
Maybe that's you. Maybe you're like, “I've got goals, Steph!” But you're not inspired enough by them to push through the pain and the discomfort of having to hold yourself accountable.
If that’s you, know that it’s okay to be there today. What’s not okay is, now that you’ve had your wake-up call, to stay there.
Get clarity on your goals, and put in the effort needed to make them happen. Otherwise life will never change.
Yes, this means you're not going to be able to go out to the bar with your friends on a Friday night, and it means that your Saturdays might be spent working instead of hanging out here chilling. Your Sundays might be spent working instead of lying in bed until noon, and your evenings are going to be crazy. Maybe you’ll start waking up at four or five so you can get an hour of work in on your business before you head to your day-job. But if that is what you truly are committed to do, then make sure that that is what you are doing with your life. Make sure that that is where your energy is going instead of allowing your energy to disperse and pull you in all different directions. Because you are in the driver seat.
And you can do this. You can become that success story. You can turn your life around.
If you are at the point where you know you need that motivation, we have a really awesome freebie course with a workbook that you can get. There's a couple of videos in there as well that will help you get some clarity in regards to your goals. If you’re interested, check out this link and get involved in that little step that will help you move toward your goals and become the boss of your own life. But whatever step you take, whatever you start doing to turn your life around, go do it! Don’t let another day pass without you making a difference for tomorrow.
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt: a San Antonio based company dedicated to disrupting the way the world does business through training. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with nearly 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!