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Last year I hit a big financial milestone in my business.
Now, I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this because I want this for you, and I believe you can do it too.
Look, I made every mistake in the book (and probably even a few that aren’t in the book). I also probably started my business exactly the way you did — as a solopreneur.
In 1998 I started out as a freelancer copywriter, which basically meant I created a job for myself. The problem with that is because I was the one actually doing the work, the marketing part of my business was hit or miss (sound familiar?). I created a horrible feast/famine cycle for myself and that was my life for years.
It was 2005 that I finally decided I needed a different business model. The problem was I had no idea what it would look like or how to do it. Other writers were no help, they had the same business I had.
So after a lot of struggling and flailing around, I finally got it together and started generating the success and income I had always dreamed of.
So how did I do it? Here are the first 3 things. (Stay tuned for more!)
1. Took Einstein’s quote to heart. As a reminder, it’s the quote that says “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
In December 2004, I made a horrible discovery. For some reason, I’m not sure why, I went through my Quickbook statements and started comparing how much I made each year. To my disgust, I discovered that I basically made the same amount of money each year ($40,000 to $50,000).
You see, over the years when I was in the “feast” cycle of my business, I would proudly tell people I was “growing” my business. Never mind the “famine” cycles were completely wiping out any gains from the “feast” cycle. I had also raised my rates over the years. And yet, nothing had changed. In fact, my best year was one of the years when my hourly rate was the lowest.
All of a sudden the realization hit me. I wasn’t growing a business. I had reached a plateau and I was stuck there.
At about the same time I saw the “Seinfeld” episode where George decides he doesn’t like his life right now (broke, jobless, living at home, no girlfriend) so he decides do it the opposite of what he always did. And it worked, by the end of the show he had a girlfriend and a job with the New York Yankees.
So I decided to also do the opposite. 2005 became the year I did the opposite of what I always did. Which leads me number 2.
2. Hire a coach or a mentor. Once I discovered that I was stuck, I realized that I probably needed some help getting unstuck.
You see, there are 2 issues going on. The first one is realizing you’re the reason why you’re in this situation in the first place. The second is actually doing something to change it.
And it’s not as easy as it sounds to change things. Your perspective on yourself, your thoughts, your actions, etc. are cloudy at best. Now there’s no question you can change things, but it’s a lot more difficult without someone to point things out to you.
There are also some other benefits to hiring a coach or a mentor for yourself. When you do, you’re telling yourself (and the universe) that you’re ready to take yourself seriously and do what it takes to be successful. You’re also saying you’re worth the investment. (Because that IS what you’re doing — you’re investing in yourself by getting coaching, mentoring and education from someone who has been there so you can get to where you want to go a lot faster and with fewer detours.)
Now you do need to make sure you hire the right coach or mentor — not all are created equal (I’ll talk about that more when I get to mistakes).
3. Make sure your business is the right entity for tax and legal purposes. I can tell you as soon as I incorporated, I felt like I actually had a business. There was something about going through that process that made me feel like I finally had a “grown up” business.
I’m not an expert on this, so what I would suggest is making an appointment with the experts (i.e. a CPA and an attorney) and discuss it with them.