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I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 19 years old. My first business was a vacation-relief service for independent vendors. It started with just myself but grew very quickly. By year two, I had six employees, operated in three states, and the business generated half-a-million dollars a year. I sold that business in 2012 to run my second business. Today, I operate a global lifestyle business. I’m the author of four books that have sold over 100,000 copies, I get paid to write for various publications, I sell digital information products, and I travel to 30 plus countries a year to consult large multinational corporations on digital marketing. I’m currently in Asia on a five-country consulting tour.
I started each business making around $5,000 a month and grew them to $500,000 a year. It took a lot of hard work, failure, beating limiting beliefs and strategy to get here. There were many times when giving up felt easier than dealing with difficult circumstances. I pushed through and now get to travel the world doing what I love for a living. There were five important lessons that helped me grow these two businesses. If you are stuck at a certain income level in your business, see how these lessons can be applied to what you do.
1. Social media is not enough.
Everywhere you look, you’re told that social media marketing is the key to your business’ marketing efforts. There’s no denying the power of social media, but it isn’t the only way you market your business. The organic reach of social media is low and the algorithms keep changing. All of the social media platforms are now publicly traded companies that generate profits for their shareholders by charging you for more reach. Social media marketing is a great part of a diverse marketing plan. It isn’t the end all be all.
When I realized that I needed more than social media, I was able to put together a comprehensive marketing plan that grew my potential customer base. This plan involved getting interviewed on podcasts, writing for large authority publications (such as this one), paying for ads, and getting exposure through speaking and consulting gigs. The combined strategy took my business’ email list from 3,000 to over 50,000. That, in turn, led to explosive revenue growth.
2. Low-tier pricing only brings problems.
I kept my prices too low for too long in both businesses. My thought was that I could get more customers but the lower prices attracted clients who weren’t a good fit, so I worked very hard for not-a-lot-of money. There are a lot of articles about the kind of clients you attract with higher pricing. You have probably experienced this in your business. You work less for more money, you attract high-end clients and you get paid by the value you provide. The reality is that the lower end pricing will attract customers who aren’t satisfied and will always ask for more. It will create unnecessary headaches.
3. Ignore almost everyone.
There will be a lot of opinions and endless advice about how you should grow your business. Gurus, coaches, targeted advertising, family members, friends and more will tell you what they think will help you. Sometimes it will, but a lot of times you’ll let it come in one ear and go right out the other.
As an entrepreneur, you have to figure out what makes sense for your business. Don’t ignore everyone all the time, but ignore advice that distracts you. Don’t ever let anyone convince you of what’s possible for your life and business. “Impossible” may be in their vocabulary, but it doesn’t have to be in yours.
4. Forget motivation, just do the work.
Motivation comes and goes. Some days you’ll feel like working, other days you’ll feel like binge-watching Netflix. There are ways to get the motivation back but you can do the work that it takes to build your business without it. You can sit down, put together a schedule/to-do list and start completing tasks, no matter how you feel. Focus on your journey. There are a lot of roads and all kinds of people screaming at you to follow them. They will ultimately be a distraction. Put your head down and focus on the work that gets you closer to your biggest business goals.
5. Go after bigger opportunities.
I was a high school dropout who dreamed of owning a business that involved more than me killing my body every day. I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough to write, speak and consult at companies. When I let go of my limiting beliefs, I could see what it would take to make my goals a reality. Today, my life and business are surreal.
There are so many things that happen to us as we grow up that affect what we think is possible for us. You have to let go of those beliefs. Open your eyes to the bigger opportunities that are possible if you put a plan in place and take action. To grow, you have to set huge goals and go after what feels impossible. If you want to get to that next income level, you have to go after higher-end clients, large corporations, get more exposure, and don’t limit your thinking. That’s where the magic happens.
I don’t know what your income goals are but I do know they’re possible. Today’s tools and technology have opened the doors for entrepreneurs. Money is not the most important part of life or business but having financial freedom is. Not worrying about how you’re going to pay your bills and feed your family is crucial. Take control and get focused. Spend some time this week giving your business an honest evaluation and get to work.