I’ve been in business for myself for more than 18 years, growing one marketing agency from bankruptcy to a multimillion-dollar firm that I was able to sell at a really nice exit.
Then I started all over and found success with another business .
I’ve never earned a business degree, and I’m not particularly good at the “business side of business.” But I have discovered some rules for success from my years of hustle and grind and interactions with other business owners.
1. Results rule. Period.
Ever spend time scrolling Facebook or Instagram when you should be tackling that big, hairy, audacious goal, or making that sales call, or writing the next page of your incredible book?
If you want to crush your goals, stop confusing activity with return on investment. You were made for more than counting clicks or obsessing on social media comments. Focus instead on the things that will not get a “share” but a customer, because your time, talent and money are too precious to be wasted. If it’s not going to bring you customers, don’t do it.
2. No one is born great at this.
The fear that you aren’t good enough or don’t know enough has stopped too many talented people from moving forward.
No one was born knowing how to do all of this business stuff. I am a published author, I’ve written a weekly blog for 14 years, which 70,000+ people visit each month, and yet I still need a thesaurus to polish up my pieces or I’d use the words “cool,” “awesome” and “very” 7,456 times in each post. Get skills and training when and where you need it. But don’t let a detour in the road stop you from reaching your final destination.
3. Your life will not be celebrated for how much you worked.
I grew up in a household where there was a silent understanding that “working hard will bring success.” This in itself is okay, yet my fun-house brain took it a step further and turned it into a mantra that I needed to work my tail off or I wouldn’t deserve success. It was like a secret guilty pleasure. If I worked harder, I would finally feel worthy. Yet success didn’t come, and then I was just exhausted, let down and defeated.
Fast-forward to this year. My girls are ages 6 and 8, and I didn’t want to miss them growing up. I’ve cut back hours and went from having a full-time nanny to a babysitter just nine hours a week. And guess what? Our sales are up over last year, and it’s only October. Working lots of hours wasn’t what brought success.
4. You aren’t supposed to be good at everything.
I suck at accounting. And human resources paperwork. And graphic design. There are things I absolutely love to do that come almost naturally to me — speaking on stage, writing, coaching other business owners. These are not an accident. They are my God-given superpowers and what I was created to do.
When I spend my time in these activities, I am happier, more successful and can serve more people. What are your passions? What do you love to do? How can you spend more time doing those things and delegate the rest?
5. Building one half of a bunch of bridges will never get you to the other side.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to enjoy the start of something, when it is new and full of ideas and possibilities. But we
also tend to give up when it gets harder, more boring and task-driven. It is then that we are prone to jump into another project so we can find the fun again. Yet, starting a bunch of projects that never get completed is not going to give you anything to show for your hard work.
It requires an incredible amount of discipline and self-control to stay focused and on task. But the rewards are worth it. Get an accountability partner if you need to. Plan a reward at the end if it helps. Tell your best friend to post your most salacious secret on social media if you don’t get it done. Do whatever you have to in order to stop starting and start finishing.
Give yourself permission to take the next step toward your dream. With no apologies or excuses, just keep on moving forward.