I’m in bed today with some gross combination of Bronchitis and Pneumonia (yuck), watching Property Brothers on HGTV, and going through my finance reports for the year.
I very rarely take the time to celebrate my accomplishments, which I think is a typical entrepreneur problem – I’m always just looking for the next problem/challenge to tackle. But this sickness has forced me to STOP, and now I’m staring at a Profit & Loss report from the past 12 months…and all the way at the bottom of the report, it has the number that shows after cost of goods, after expenses, and after salaries, what’s left over…
NET INCOME = $1,186,772.42
And I know…people probably want to know how that happened, and what I LEARNED through it all.
These posts are always great for me to write, for myself as well as my followers. It allows me to think critically about what I would do differently or the same, and how to help others plan for growth and scale.
1. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One For The Job
Right at the beginning of the year, I had to make massive adjustments to the daily operations of my business. I had just started with ClickFunnels, given my two team members some chunky raises and chunky responsibilities, and it was time to see if my company would not just survive, but thrive without me driving the ship every single day.
Honestly? I thought that I would do the same revenue, or maybe a bit less. I figured there was NO WAY my business would grow with me working and focusing so much on ClickFunnels.
- 2017, I did $1.3 million
- 2018, I did $2 million
A big disclaimer here – because I know some people will be like, “Hey! See! You can have two businesses (or more) and have them all grow.” And I would say, yes, you can. But I also think that this arrangement should never be seen as a permanent situation because it’s HARD. And…it also helped immensely that the two focuses were on the same customer base, niche, etc. If it were two entirely different businesses, that’d be a different story.
The point of this lesson is really about figuring out how to take yourself out of your business, as much as possible. It’s scary, it feels like letting go of a baby, and sometimes it won’t look exactly like you would do it…but that’s okay. I don’t know that I would have without the opportunity to work for ClickFunnels, so I’m glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
If your business cannot handle you stepping out of it (even if it’s a guru-based infoproduct business), and if you want to grow, you have to figure this piece out because….
2. Scaling Is People
I learned this from Russell and Brandon Poulin (from LadyBoss). We talk about scale all the time, and use words like growth hacking. But growth is about people…period. The more teams you build, the more systems you create so that others can run those processes? That’s how you grow. Not through some loophole traffic algorithm. Scaling is people.
Every 8 and 9 figure CEO I’ve hung around this year spends the bulk of their time, casting vision to their leaders, who operate the business. Gives you some new perspective huh?
3. Relational Capital Is Your #1 Asset
Since we’re on the topic of people, I think if there is one lesson I would want to bang over the head of every person who comes to me for advice is that there is no:
…that trumps your relationships. That means whatever your business plans are, your customers, clients, colleagues, network, mentors, and partners are the key to the financial and lifestyle freedom you want.
I’ve seen firsthand this year how nurturing relationships changes everything. Make this a HUGE priority.
When you have good relationships with your customers, they will buy again and again, they will spend more, and they will help you develop better products with valuable feedback.
When you have good relationships with your team, you can get yourself out of the day to day, and into the vision casting that is the CEO role. When you have good relationships with colleagues and your network, you open doors to new audiences, new opportunities, new partnerships, and new collaborations.
When you have good relationships with your mentors, you shortcut your learning curve and get leverage out of someone else’s experience.
4. Plan Before It Hurts
I will say that this is the first year where I planned ahead, rather than simply reacting to the market or how much money I needed to make at any given point. And it’s okay if your business is still really young and you’re in that phase. As a freelancer and new agency, that’s how I pivoted so quickly and found work. But you can’t stay there. As you grow, planning becomes more and more critical, and makes hitting your revenue goals…more likely.
This past year I fulfilled on the first year of my Digital Insiders Mastermind. I had a plan from the get go, and have seen tremendous growth, results, and impact with this program than with any other.
I also planned out the launch of Funnel Gorgeous with my co-founder Cathy Olson, and this super young brand crossed 6-figures in four short months, with just two products – a $297 course and $49 templates. We also now have the partnership and official stamp of approval from ClickFunnels, so…yeah..planning for the win!!!
5. Stay Lean
When I started with ClickFunnels this year, I knew I had to keep things as simple as possible. We decided to focus on The Digital Gangsta and Digital Insiders as the core products, and use Create Your Laptop Life as the affordable front end offer. This switch in perspective made all the difference. We also looked at the signature feature of each product, highlighted THAT, and tried not to over complicate things.
For example, with Create Your Laptop Life, the signature feature is the weekly Q&A with me. That’s what we focused on making as helpful as possible, automated other pieces (like the job opps), and didn’t over produce content just for the sake of content.
6. Focus On Value
It’s really cliche, but it’s also true. The tone, tenor and vibe of the person who is working towards bringing tremendous value to the marketplace is very different than the tone, tenor and vibe of someone trying to figure out the easiest route to cash. I promise you, if you work to solve big problems, the money will come.
7. Big Money, Big Problems
Nobody ever thinks about this when they read income reports or admire an entrepreneur from afar who seems to have it all together. Big money = big problems. There’s more customer support, more people who are trying to screw you over with chargebacks and lawsuits, more people who are going to put you in horribly awkward situations and ask for crazy favors, jobs, refunds wayyyyy after the guarantee is over, etc. It also means more pressure, more expenses, more..well…everything. I recorded a podcast awhile back about the sweet spot in business, and it’s so true. Know your sweet spot! It’s super important to know this before you choose some random revenue goal you haven’t thought through.
8. A Lot Of Funnel Problems, Are Simply Traffic Problems
If I had a dollar for every person who either threw away or abandoned a funnel because they “thought” it didn’t work, and it actually was a traffic and volume problem, not an offer problem, I’d have A LOT of dollars. Funnels are really not difficult creatures to understand once you get the hang of it. Have an irresistible hot offer the market wants, think logically about the journey of the customer when placing the products, and then master traffic. Traffic is complicated because it’s a combination of paid strategy plus the organic marketing you do. It’s about your visibility. It’s about how expensive your ad costs are. There are lots of factors that might make your funnel not profitable – your lead cost might be too high, your organic marketing may not create trust in leads who see an ad and then go check you out first before buying, your follow up might suck, etc. All of this can get blamed on the funnel when it doesn’t convert right away. “Oh this sucks. I suck. Funnels are a scam.” They aren’t.
The lifeblood of a business is measured by how many new leads/customers you’re generating on a consistent basis…period.
9. You Can’t See Your Own Stuff So Stop Expecting You Can
No matter how good you might be at helping other people with their mindset and/or business problems, doing it for yourself is another story. This is the year I learned to stop expecting I could see for myself what I could easily see in others. It’s not a sign of weakness to get help, even if it’s something you normally do! This was the year I outsourced all kinds of things I could do, teach, and coach others on. And I stopped feeling weird about it. You can too.
10. Take A Risk
As I close down this year tonight, (coughing up a lung but still determined to celebrate)…. I’m reminded that nobody you admire got where they are by playing it safe. I’m about to take another risk — as I radically simplify my business life and strap myself to the ClickFunnels rocket — it’s exciting and nerve-wracking both. What will this new year bring? How can I ensure I’m up to the task as Russell FREAKING Brunson’s VP of Marketing? What change and value can I bring to the ClickFunnels community? How can I serve my customers at the highest level? What kind of messaging will I offer the world?
All of it unknown, except this…this I know. When you create a business journey focused first on people, second on value, everything just works out.
Have an amazing New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I’ll see you on the other side!
Signing off for 2018…