3 Common Mistakes that Will Hinder the Growth of Your Business and the Impact of Your Work

Confession time! I’m avoiding the ginormous task of deciding which schools to apply my daughter to for kindergarten this fall. The system here in Manhattan is overwhelming, even for the public schools!

So instead, I’m writing this post to chat more about growing your business – a much more enjoyable task :).

My daughter and I -- check out that smile!

Maybe you can relate to my overwhelm. Our business sometimes feels like our child. “Raising it” to be happy, healthy and growing can be overwhelming.

So, let’s continue our chat from the last email about how to grow your business in 2017 so you can survive the big shifts taking place online.

First, a quick summary of what we talked about in the last email…

  • Every entrepreneur will hit multiple growth barriers (income ceilings) along their journey
  • A growth barrier will hold you back until you make the necessary upgrades in your business
  • For every week spent hitting a barrier, you miss out on more money, impact, and opportunities
  • Busting through a barrier always requires a) getting outside perspective from coaches, mentors or masterminds and b) making uncomfortable leaps of faith
  • Taking the leap to the next level is an investment that produces a huge ROI

Click here if you want to (re-)read part one in this series email series. I’ll meet you back here.

Did you know there are only three ways to grow your business? That’s it. Can you guess what they are?

I’ll let you think about that for just a minute. Did you know there are only three ways to grow your business? That’s it. Can you guess what they are?

First, let’s look at three things that most people think will grow their business, but that really lead to overwhelm, burnout and mediocre results.

  1. Get more traffic
  2. Do more product promotions or launches
  3. Raise prices or take on more clients

Are you nodding your head yet? I am. I’ve been guilty of focusing on each these. And boy was it disappointing.

Here’s why focusing on these three things to grow your business is often a huge mistake.

Mistake #1: Focusing on Generating More Traffic

Everyone wants more traffic, right? We all want more people to see our content and visit our site because some of them might like what they see and become customers or clients…in theory.

It seems to make a lot of sense. It’s an easy assumption to make.

The problem is this…

You don’t need traffic.

When you’re starting out, there are far more effective (and faster) ways to get your first customers than getting more traffic from content, search engines or social media.

What about when you already have customers, but want more? Again, traffic is the wrong focus.

Focusing on getting more traffic usually means adding yet another media channel or social network to your marketing mix and creating more content.

Each one of these things requires more of your time. Sooner than later, you max out and burnout.

Plus, free traffic is usually slow to grow. Sure, you can get the quick hit here and there. But overall the rate of content-driven traffic is out of your control, not to mention it can disappear overnight when Google, Facebook or whatever other platform changes the rules of the game.

To be clear, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do content marketing. It still plays a role in establishing your authority, earning the trust of your audience and preparing them to buy.

However, to grow your business you need a predictable flow of qualified leads, not more traffic.

Shift your focus from getting more traffic to getting more leads. This will help you choose strategies that will produce growth faster and more frequently.

Mistake #2: Doing More Product Launches and Promotions

Ever thought or said something like this:

“If I want to grow my income, I just need to sell more products.  So, I’ll do more launches and promotions.”

The logics seems sound. It’s an easy assumption to make (one that I have made many times).

Here’s the harsh truth.

Launches are good for bringing in cash, not for growing your baseline, predictable monthly income.

The way most people do launches, it turns into a vicious cycle of boom and bust.

Fill the coffers. Yay! Spend the money. Boo! Gotta launch again!

Again, I want to be clear. Launches are great when you use them as a part of your business model in the right way.

But they are horrible for business growth.

Launches are exhausting, resource-intensive and unpredictable.

You can’t easily test, tweak and improve them.

When you launch too often, you also burn out your list.

Bottom line: if you depend solely on launches and frequent promotions to generate income and growth, you are at risk and far more likely to stay stuck.

Mistake #3: Taking on More Clients and/or Raising Prices

If you make most of your money doing direct client work, then pay close attention here.

Eventually, you hit a point where you’re hustling too hard to make too little money.

To make more money, you take on more clients. But there’s a limit to how many clients you can handle. This creates a ceiling on your income.

Or maybe you raise your prices. Great! Most people need to raise their prices. And yes, that will earn you more revenue.

However, if this is your primary way of growing your income, you are severely limited. You can still only handle so many clients and there’s only so much each is willing to pay.

Now that we’ve looked at what not to focus on to grow your business, let’s look at what does work.

When it Comes Down to It, There Are Only Three Ways to Grow Your Business

Every strategy, tactic or system for growing your income, and impact falls into one of these three categories.

  1. Attract more leads
  2. Convert more leads into customers
  3. Boost the lifetime value of each customer (i.e. how much value you deliver to and income you generate from each customer over time)

That’s it. The key is knowing…

  1. Which of the three growth areas is most important to focus on now
  2. The one or two strategies that will generate the biggest growth in that area

Notice how focused that is. One growth area at a time. One or two strategies at a time.

Until you have a team of five or more people, you can’t handle more than that without hurting your results.

Given everything we’ve discussed so far, it’s easy to see why so many business owners hit a growth barrier and just keep slamming against it.

If you are struggling to grow your business you are likely either…

  • Focused on the wrongs things and/or
  • Doing too many things at once

The end result?

You get distracted by your next idea. You get pulled into the next sexy marketing message and buy yet another product.

“Oh, this must be what I need! Sign me up!”

Bit by bit you end up with a menagerie of tactics and partial strategies that add up to disappointment, overwhelm, and little growth.

All right. That’s a lot to think over for today. The big takeaway here is to FOCUS.

Know what to focus on next to grow your most important objectives right now.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the most common growth barriers that online businesses run into for each of the three growth areas we discussed above.

It will help you identify the biggest weaknesses (and therefore opportunities) when it comes to growing your income and impact.

 

The Uncomfortable Truth about Growing Your Business in 2017

Let’s talk about how to grow your business to the next level in 2017

First, let’s discuss what to do if you are:

  • Hustling too hard and making too little money
  • Struggling to attract enough leads and customers
  • Attracting the wrong customers and clients
  • No longer fulfilled by a business you once loved
  • Hitting an income plateau and don’t know how to get to the next level
  • Cycling through boom and bust periods, doing launch after launch, without predictable monthly revenue coming in

If any of that resonates, then keep reading. We’re going to talk about the uncomfortable truth that keeps so many businesses from growing (and even dooms many to fail).

Each of the bullet points above is a symptom that your business has hit a growth barrier.

Without the right changes, your business won’t grow.

No matter how hard you work.

No matter how many new tactics and strategies you try.

No matter how many new ideas you through against the wall.

Your income, opportunities, impact and fulfillment will stay stuck until you uncover the cause of the barrier and make the changes necessary to remove it.

Even worse, your business could become irrelevant, wither and die.

The truth is that every month (or year) spent up against a barrier is income, opportunity, and impact lost.

When you look at it that way, you can’t afford to NOT do whatever it takes to bust through now, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.

Not to mention, more people than ever are coming online to share their own message. The ones who bust through the barriers fastest will leave the rest in the dust.

But if you do what so many others are not willing to do and embrace change, even if it’s uncomfortable at first, your business will leap frog to new levels.

This can either be the best or worst thing to happen to you. The choice is yours.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at…

How to Recognize When You’ve Hit a Barrier and How to Bust Through it as Quickly as Possible.

Let me share a quick story about a time I got stuck and how I finally fixed it.

In October of 2005, I started a podcast with a friend to see if this new medium had business potential.

We were thrilled when our “side project” suddenly rushed to the top of the podcast charts, even beating out major brands. Our audience was begging us to create a product for them.

And so a new business was born.

We doubled our income every year for the first three years.

We were making six figures from our podcast before most podcasters had figured out how to make a dime.

Then suddenly, BAM! Our income stopped growing. It didn’t shrink. It just wouldn’t go any higher.

So we buckled down and worked harder, confident that our income would eventually grow again. After all, we just needed to do more of what had gotten us that far, right?

Nope!

The fourth year generated the exact same income as the previous one. We hadn’t realized it yet, but we were slamming up against a growth barrier.

No amount of hard work was going to get us any farther.

Finally, we signed up to work with a coach that a friend recommended. It was a big investment, but we knew we needed to get outside insight.

Right away the coach could see that we were up against a growth barrier. More importantly, he knew why. He showed us that…

In order to break through the barrier and continue growing, we had to make key adjustments to how we operated our business.

Getting past each barrier requires different changes in your business.

It might be a shift in branding, target audience, or business model. Perhaps you’ll need new messaging or marketing systems. It almost always demands an upgrade to your mindset.

Each case is different.

In our case, getting to the next level meant hiring a team. We’d resisted hiring people for two years, worried that it would limit our freedom. And if I’m honest, I was scared of hiring and managing people. It felt so uncertain.

Our coach pointed out that we could either accept the certainty that we would stay stuck at our current income level OR we could step into uncertainty and reach a new level of opportunity and growth.

We knew he was right, so we moved toward the discomfort and invested in hiring a team.

The moment we made the leap, we started seeing the payoff. In fact, we wondered why we hadn’t made the leap earlier.

Our income started growing again.

Here are five key insights to pull from this story to help you break through your next barrier.

1) Growth Barriers Are a Sign of Success

If you’re doing things right you can expect to hit growth barriers along the way. Every entrepreneur does. Barriers are actually mileposts marking your journey.

You see, every business goes through predictable stages of growth. To get from one stage to the next, you have to cross a barrier. The barrier is a sign of bigger things to come.

Think of it as your business challenging you to see if you’re ready and worthy for what’s next. The barrier is an invitation to upgrade.

2) Growth Barriers are an Opportunity to Upgrade

Again, what got you here won’t get you there.

Your current mindset, systems, strategies and team (if you have one) have a built-in level of success that they can generate. Eventually, you hit a max.

Every stage of business growth requires a new way of thinking and operating. It’s like installing a new operating system on your computer with new features that enable you to do bigger and better things.

Though upgrading isn’t easy, it’s worth it.

Bigger income, impact, and opportunities are waiting at the next level. But you have to prove you’re ready for bigger rewards.

3) Busting a Barrier Requires Uncomfortable Leaps of Faith

We’ve already established that it requires change to get to the next level. Change isn’t easy.

And often the required changes are uncomfortable because they require us to expand and step into uncertainty.

The best thing to do is recognize this, embrace it, and take the leap. Have confidence that you are capable of tackling whatever comes your way.

4) You Need Outside Perspective to Break Through a Growth Barrier

The entrepreneurs that move past growth barriers quickly get outside perspective. It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to break through on your own.

We each have blind spots when it comes to life and business.

You’ve probably had that experience where a friend is venting about a problem. To you it seems so clear what the problem is and what to do about it. But she can’t see it. She’s too close to the issue.

We’re often so busy working in our business that we fail to see the barrier ahead of us.

Also, we don’t know what we don’t know.

I’ve had clients come to me asking for help refining their marketing message, but when we dig into their business I can see what they need is to pivot their business model.

I see this all the time. It’s easy to make assumptions about what your business needs based on past experience.

However, this often leads to ignoring the underlying problem and focusing on the wrong thing.

That’s why coaches, consultants, mentors, and masterminds are so critical to growth.

They offer foresight outside our own experience, help remove the blinders. and fill in the gaps. They also encourage us to push into unknown (uncomfortable) territory

5) Busting Through a Barrier is an Investment with a High ROI

I’m in an invite-only Facebook Group mastermind with 100 entrepreneurs and influencers each making six- or seven-figures in their business.

One day someone asked the group what the most important shifts were to go from 100k, to 500k and then to a million dollars a year.

One of the answers really stood out to me because it’s so true.

“The tricky thing about getting to seven figures is you have to start investing in ‘seven figure things’ even before you are making seven-figure money.

As my friend Breanne Dyck says, “You have to build for the business you want, not the business you have.”

Entrepreneurs who grow quickly are willing to invest resources into upgrading their mindset, systems, strategy, and business model — even if it feels like a leap of faith to do so.

In the case of my earlier story, we had to invest money into hiring team members. It wasn’t easy to commit to a new monthly expense.

But the truth is, it wasn’t an expense. It was an investment because it freed up our time so that we could focus on more profitable activities.

As a result, our income started growing again.

Your changes might be different, but there will always be an investment.

Whether it’s hiring a coach, building a team, buying new software or any other investment of time, money or energy, it will feel like a leap of faith.

Remember that there’s an ROI just on the other side of the barrier.

Also remember what our coach told us. You can either except the certainty that you’ll stay stuck at your current level or you can step into uncertainty of change and reap the rewards.

In my next post, I’ll outline the most common barriers to business growth and how to get passed each.

It will help you assess your specific situation and what changes are necessary to get to the next level of impact and income.

After all, the last thing we want is for 2017 to end only to realize that you’re still stuck in the same place.

In the meantime, look at the list below and pick out the statement that best describes the barrier you’re up against right now. This will help you prepare to break through it.

  • I’m hustling too hard and making too little money
  • I’m struggling to attract enough leads and customers
  • I’m attracting the wrong customers and clients
  • I’m no longer fulfilled by a business you once loved
  • I’ve hit an income plateau and don’t know how to get to the next level
  • I cycle through boom and bust periods, doing launch after launch, without predictable monthly revenue coming in

What the U.S. Elections Mean for You, the Influencer and Marketer

Despite the title of this post, my purpose in posting this is not political. Also, it contains relevant lessons for your business and brand whether you live in the U.S. or elsewhere.

I deliberated as to whether or not I should acknowledge the election results in my content, but then I remembered one of the most important pieces of marketing and influence advice ever given.

More on that below…

There are three vital lessons we can pull from the U.S. elections this week. Each of them provides insight and opportunities for you to have a greater impact with your work.

Lesson One: Always enter the conversation already going on in the mind of your customer

This is some of the most important advice you can follow when it comes to marketing and influence. It comes from Robert Collier, renowned copywriter and personal development thought leader in the early 20th century.

The better you understand the thoughts and feelings of your intended audience, and the better you can join them in and communicate those things back to them, the more likely they will be to give you their attention and, with time, trust your leadership.

One of the most powerful ways that we connect as human beings is through shared meaning and common experiences, whether it’s pop culture, cultural traditions, common values or current events. This gives us the feeling of togetherness and belonging that we all need. It helps us feel like we are “all in this together.”

At this moment the world is flooded with the effects and shared experience of the U.S. elections. Emotions are running high. People have a lot of hopes, expectations, and fears right now.

This *IS* the conversation already going on in the mind of the world (and therefore your audience). Speaking to this experience, in whatever way is appropriate to your audience and message, is an invaluable opportunity to connect, gain trust and lead.

Watch for these opportunities in the future, big or small.

You don’t have to be polarizing or share every opinion (though that’s fine if you do), but you MUST be continually aware of the factors that affect the “conversation” in the mind of your intended audience every day.

Lesson Two: Never Forget That You Get to Vote Every Day

We are so fortunate to live in a time when we can share our voice readily and frequently through the Internet and “vote” every day for the kind of world we want to live in.

This week has shown us how many people are desperate to have their voice heard — whether that was in the voting booth on Tuesday or in street protest and other responses since.

Others have are already looking forward to the next time they get to vote and voice their will in future elections.

It’s renewed and amplified my gratitude to have the opportunity to share my voice readily and frequently on the Internet. Each of us has the ability to create and grow a platform thanks to the Internet and the amazing media channels that it enables.

As a self-made influencer on the Internet, you have the opportunity to be heard and “vote” for the future you want with every email you send, piece of content you publish, and training you create.

Lesson Three: The World is Calling You to Action

This election process and its aftermath have reaffirmed how many pains and problems there are to solve in this world. The world needs your voice more than ever. No idea or message is too small.

Whether you’re showing people to eat healthier food, grow their business, further their career, or take on a new hobby…

By growing your platform, influence, and income, you increase your capacity to impact the world we live in.

And that’s not limited to the market/niche that you operate within. You can promote causes. You can donate a percentage of profits to organizations that matter to you and your audience.

So whether your reaction to this week is excitement, devastation, confusion or indifference, let’s harness the energy in the air to renew our commitment to do the work that we feel driven to do.

Which of These Three Things is Limiting Your Business Growth?

“Why isn’t my business growing as fast as I’d like?”

This is essentially the primary question I get from my clients. It might not be in those exact words. In fact, the thing they initially come to me for is typically a symptom of another underlying problem. The good news is the core problem or problems are typically easy to identify if you know where to look.

In order to find the biggest opportunity for growth in my clients’ businesses, I start by getting a clear picture of their business in three areas.

I call this the success trifecta. If one or more of these things is lacking, your progress and growth will slow or even stall completely.

And in my experience, there are always things to be done in each of these area to immediately generate more growth and income. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out or already making seven figures a  year. But we all need that outside perspective at times to uncover the missing link.

In this post, I’ll outline the Success Trifecta for you. Then, I’d like to give you an opportunity to apply for a FREE strategy call with me to discuss find the your fastest path to faster growth along with a few simple tweaks that will immediate accelerate your results.

The Success Trifecta

In twelve years of helping influencers grow their businesses, I’ve found that a lack of growth always comes down to one of three things (it doesn’t matter if you are just getting started or you already are making seven figures).

To accelerate growth, you have to identify which of these three is the biggest sticking point and/or greatest opportunity for growth, then make key tweaks to unlock a new level of progress and results.

1) VISION

If you don’t have a clear vision about what you want to accomplish, you won’t be able to take deliberate, focused action that lead to your desired outcomes.

I always make sure that my clients and I start with a crystal clear picture of the life, business and impact that will bring them the greatest momentum, fulfillment and growth — now and in the future.

Questions to ask:

  • Do you know what you want things to look like three years from now?
  • Have you planned milestones to get you there?
  • Do you know what your one or two most important objectives are this quarter? this year?
  • Are you clear on what you need in the present in order to stay focused and maintain momentum?

This goes beyond your basic “vision board”-type exercises. I find that a lot of people set lofty goals, but fail to consider how that vision contributes to creative, momentum and motivation in the present. This also relates to mindset, since our mindset directly impacts our ability to be creative and see possibilities.

2) STRATEGY

If you’re executing on the strategies that are ill-fitted to your vision, values, strengths or present circumstances, you’ll experience lackluster results, frustration and overwhelm.

Even worse, if you’re chasing tactics without a clear strategy, you’re burning your limited resources without commensurate payoff.

Questions to ask:

  • Are you chasing tactics or do you have a clear strategy to guide your daily actions?
  • Have you limited yourself to pursuing just one or two primary strategies over the next 90 days?
  • If you have a clear strategy, is it working? Are you confident in it?
  • Is your strategy the right fit for you and your vision?
  • Do you frequently switch strategies before you get results, create systems and outline procedures?

3) Lack of Frequent and Focused EXECUTION

To succeed faster and more frequently you have to take consistent and deliberate action. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of either not taking enough action or taking action on too many things at once.

The former will erode your confidence and keep you stuck, the latter leads to overwhelm and burnout.

Questions to ask:

  • Are you progressing daily towards your most important objectives?
  • Are you clear on what metrics you can measure today in order to predict your future results?
  • Are you measuring those key metrics?
  • Do you have systems and routines to keep you focused and operating at peak performance?
  • Are you overwhelmed or overloaded?

A Lack of Clarity and Confidence Cost You Daily

VISION, STRATEGY and EXECUTION are the success trifecta when it comes to growing your income and impact.

It comes down to this.

The results you reap a three months or a year from now are a direct reflection of your vision, strategy and execution today.

You can’t afford another day to pass without confidence and clarity about your vision, strategy and execution.  It costs you fulfillment, impact and income.

Whatever it takes to get clear in these three areas, that is your priority. My hope is that simply being aware of these three areas will help you identify where you can make the most progress right away.

If you’d like additional perspective, I’d love to help you get clear in all three areas. So here’s what I propose.

Limited Spots for Free Strategy Calls with Me

Each month I open a limited number of slots reserved next week for free 30-minute, one-on-one strategy calls.

Yes, it’s FREE even though I normally charge up to $1000 an hour for consulting.

So, what’s the catch?

Well, there are two things.

FIRST, because I have a limited number of slots, there is a short application you need to fill in to qualify. This helps me ensure that it’s the right fit and that we get the most from our time.

Also, the information you give me in the application helps me to quickly laser in on your biggest opportunity for growth.

In order to qualify for a call, you must have:

  • A business where you are building a personal brand as an influencer
  • An email list that is growing consistently
  • Consistent monthly income from your business

SECOND, if I see an opportunity for us to work together more long-term, and you are interested, we’ll talk about that as well. But my primary goal is for you to walk away from the call with new clarity and confidence as well as actionable advice no matter what.

Sound good? So if you’d like a free strategy call with me, apply here now.

I’ll review the applications in the order they come into book available spots. Once the slots fill up, that’s it.

I look forward to chatting.

The Influencer’s Toolkit: 7 Essentials for Changing the World

Imagine hundreds, thousands or millions of lives blessed by your story.

Imagine your message spread far and wide.

Imagine consistently producing ideas that improve the world.

Imagine all the good that you will do.

The world needs you to fully amplify your creative work. I want to help you do that.

And when I say creative work I mean any…

  • Thought
  • Story
  • Idea
  • Or piece of content

…that you have or will share with another person.

We all have creative work in us.

There’s never been a better time to make your mark on the world.

The Internet and mobile technology give you an unprecedented ability to get attention, share your message and make an impact.

How to Change the World

For the last ten years, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs, content creators and thought leaders to help them build an online presence.

Each of them started with a desire to change their life and change the world.

I’ve seen a mother from Austin, Texas save a baby’s life in Oman, participate in leading research and get published in professional journals just because she had the courage to share her own experience of enduring a high-risk pregnancy.

I’ve seen a pediatric doctor turn one of his biggest failures into a thriving non-profit in India and a six-figure business.

I’ve seen one woman use her story of losing 170 pounds into a thriving community of other men and women dedicated to reclaiming their own health and happiness.

The story inside of you is your greatest asset for changing the world.

In a moment, I’ll share seven tools that you’ll need in order to influence others and change the world.

First, I have a confession…
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