You work diligently to build your business and grow your income because you just know that once you hit a certain income level everything will change.
In 2015 I hit a milestone in my business. Not only was it my biggest income since going full-time in my business in 2007, but it exceeded my highest salary during my many years in corporate.
This is a big deal.
- The world didn’t stop rotating on its axis
- Everything did not suddenly go on autopilot
- I didn’t suddenly start making gobs of money while I slept (or even while awake for that matter)
I am extremely proud of my accomplishments and grateful for the opportunity to serve new and long-term clients alike.
Here are a few things I learned that are worth noting.
There is No Milestone You Can Hit That Will Make Challenges Vanish
There is simply no “arriving”. (This fun video from a few years back illustrates the point.) Whether you are earning $50K a year or multiple six-and-seven figures, you will never reach a point where suddenly there are no worries, concerns, or challenges. That Xanadu doesn’t exist (and thankfully neither do those outfits from the 80’s).
I can talk to colleagues who earn multiple seven figures and 99.9% of the time they will tell you their biggest challenge is cash flow. That’s right, cash flow. It doesn’t matter how much you make if you don’t have the cash at the ready when you need it.
Whether it is having enough cash, capacity, or time, challenges don’t vanish, they just evolve. You graduate into higher-level problems to solve. It’s called evolution and it is natural. There’s nothing wrong with you. Simply expect it and embrace it.
Only You Can Give Yourself Permission
If you thought you didn’t have time to work “on” your business (marketing, personal development, systems, building relationships, etc.) before…think again. The busier you get, the harder it gets to carve out time for the important things that aren’t urgent.
And, the more important it becomes. Unless you want to be a hamster on the wheel for the rest of your life, you must deal with the important (but not urgent) things.
These important things include – working “on” your business and taking time to refresh and renew and better yourself. Only you can give yourself permission to do this and you must. This isn’t a luxury, it is the lifeblood of a healthy existence.
Last year I took Fridays off from mid-May through late September. That is every single Friday (except one that required post 10 day vacation catch-up) I could be found on my bike, in a kayak, or generally doing the things I love most.
How did I manage to do this?
I made the decision. Then I did what was necessary to honor that decision.
That meant I had to say no to scheduling meetings on those days or doing client work on those days. It forced me to consolidate my working “on” my business activities to a different day.
Did I have to have conversations that were uncomfortable?
Was it always easy?
Of course not.
Was it worth it?
Will I do it again?
My calendar is already marked appropriately.
Whatever “it” is that you want to do – take a business retreat, go on a long, disconnected vacation, or stop working at a certain time/day – only YOU have the power to make it happen. So. Do. It.
Don’t Get Too Attached
As you grow, one thing is guaranteed – things will break. Systems you thought you had in place no longer work. The way you did things no longer scale. Simply put – you need to always be alert to change what isn’t working and let go of people and things that are no longer a fit.
The best mindset I’ve found to handle this potentially unsettling truth is to treat everything as an experiment and scrap stuff regularly. I’m not suggesting you just churn through things and toss indiscriminately. You need to be thoughtful and intentional about it. What you don’t want to do is stay stuck on “this is the way I did it before” if it isn’t working.
For example, I quadrupled the number of ongoing website maintenance clients I serve last year. I reached a point where I realized I could no longer manually do some of the tasks in the service contract. I wouldn’t have time for anything else! Plus I know I could never sleep well at night if I wasn’t in integrity with what I said I would do (that’s a non-negotiable!). This growth meant I had to scrap my old way of doing things and find a new, more centralized way of managing updates. Once I did that I could once again feel on top of things and it has now freed me up so I can add more personal touch and value once again.
It’s a Wrap (Not Really)
Never stop growing, learning, and taking action. The way you think things will be may not be the way they will be at all. But if you stay in the flow and keep taking action (and get up when you get knocked down) you can succeed on your own terms.
If you’d like to work toward your biggest income year ever without losing your sanity (and while taking time OFF), let’s have a conversation to explore how I can help.