The majority of us start a business because we are really good at something and we’ve been doing it all of our lives. (In fact, some of us have been doing the thing we do in our business for our whole lives!)
Most of us started out in our careers working for somebody else. And so, we think, “Okay. I’m just going to go out on my own now. Why make someone else money and be confined to their rules and timelines when I could keep it all to myself and have more freedom?”
Essentially, we rationalize, “Heck, why work for somebody else when I could work for myself?”
And we’re good at what we do and our clients like us. We start our business because we want freedom, because we want to do something meaningful and make more of an impact, and we want to do it on our terms. At least, that’s how I started my business.
But the thing is, most of us don’t know how to actually market our businesses when we hang out our shingle.
That’s the problem. We don’t know how to stand out. We don’t know how to charge for what we do. We’ve never had employees before – our own employees. I believe that having people who report to us in a corporation is different than when we have our own employees. We don’t know how to hire the right ones. We don’t know how to fire. We don’t know how much to pay them. We don’t know how to motivate them.
We don’t know how to manage our time. We don’t know how to manage cash flow. We didn’t think that we had to actually think like a business owner. We thought we would just do it for ourselves.
This is where people get stuck, right? If we want to go anywhere beyond the idea of just having a side hustle or a part-time, somewhat-paying hobby, we need to approach things differently.
Therein lies the rub. We didn’t get into it for all of this, but if we want to make more than part-time money, we need to begin to own these challenges and find solutions for them.
Or this entrepreneurial thing will end up being the hardest job you’ll ever have, and you’ll be the worst boss you’ve ever had.
When I opened my first business, The Leveraged Business, I knew how to get clients, obviously–that’s the name of the business. That’s what I was teaching. But I didn’t know, and no one ever told me, the steps to make more than $65,000 or $75,000 a year. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
I find that’s where most people get really challenged. They get to a certain point in their business and there’s no more of them to go around. They don’t have any guidance and they’re grasping at straws, not really knowing what to do and feeling really isolated. There’s no accountability. There’s a lot of complexity, and they get to this place where they’re completely overwhelmed. They have all the clients they need and they’re making good money, but they’re wondering, “Why can’t I get past this level?”
I have had potential clients who come to me and say, “I have been at this level–$125,000 in revenues in my business for several years–and I cannot break this glass ceiling.” And they begin to think that something is wrong with them. There are people who have been below the $100,000 mark and wonder, “Why can’t I break through?”
And others say, “I start all these projects, but I don’t finish them, and I can’t seem to move to the next level.”
So, everyone around you is thinking you’ve got it going on. You have your own business and you’re making money. But deep inside, there’s this voice that says, “I’m not sure I can crack this. There must be something wrong with me. And frankly, I’m overwhelmed and I’m exhausted.”
For a lot of business owners, they’re actually working more hours, evenings and weekends, making less than if they closed down their business and went to work for someone else.
“Oh, I want to grow. But gosh, if I grow, will it just be more of this? I won’t be able to handle it. I won’t have my freedom.”
That’s the reality check. That is what most business owners are challenged by when thinking about growing their business.
And this is exactly why we do what we do. We teach entrepreneurs how to build a business that works. For them as well as for those they serve.