I walked away from my salaried day job on November 1, 2015.
Those early days of being a full time online business owner weren't easy. I didn't have a savings account or emergency plan. I didn't have a huge list or a giant social media following. All I had was good old fashioned chutzpah.
It was hard work. And the going was rough. Thankfully, the bills always got paid. There was always food on the table. But it wasn't pretty. Or Instagram worthy.
I had to learn by doing. There was no rule book and no plan. I leaned on my friends and loved ones for support. In those first months, there were many days (more than I'd like to count) that I would call Kent, ugly crying from stress.
Worrying if I made the right decision. Feeling like it could all fall apart at any second. Vacillating between the exhilaration of the freedom that I'd created. And the weight of the responsibility it entailed. Hustling to get clients one month. Celebrating when I booked them the next. Then back to the hustle. The ever present knot in my stomach and the ceaseless chorus of panicked chatter in my brain as I rode the income roller coaster.
As I sit here, working poolside from a private villa in paradise, it's not lost on me what an incredible journey it was from that place to this one.
Looking back on it now, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
It was the best masterclass in business and life that I could have asked for.
When I think about the biggest lessons that I've learned and the biggest shifts that made my current reality possible, it all boils down to 5 key decisions.
1.) Focus on being of service. Not being "successful."
Early on, I made the decision to focus on being of service, rather than chasing what it looked like to "be successful." It has made all the difference. What that looked like in the day-to-day was simply being present and serving whoever was in front of me in the most powerful way I could. I had a lot of coaching conversations. I held nothing back. Many of those early calls turned into high-end clients. Which leads me to the next point…
2.) Lower prices lead to burnout. Flip the typical model on it's head.
I started out selling high-end coaching packages rather than trying to build a lower priced offer. What this meant practically is that I was able to hit my revenue goals MUCH more easily (and quickly) than most people starting out. All of that coaching work contributed directly to point #3:
3.) Talk to your clients every step of the way.
I understood my ideal client inside and out. I knew how they thought, talked, walked, fought, failed, dreamed, and desired- usually BETTER than they did. Why? because I was talking to them every day. On calls, online, and in person. That bulletproof understanding of my clients made it infinitely easier to craft content, copy, and offers that spoke to them on a soul level. The result? I often have sales calls where there is no selling. People show up knowing that this is the right step for them. Clients often tell me "I knew when I found you that I needed to work with you. How do I pay?" If you're not having direct one-to-one conversations with your clients or prospects on a regular basis, then your message is probably not going to resonate. In order to create powerful content, you've got to have a deep and intimate understanding of your people. And the only way to do that is to hear things in their own words.
4.) Your next client is only ever a conversation away.
This is THE SINGLE BIGGEST SHIFT that allowed me to succeed. Early on, I realized that when it comes to high-end coaching, whether you built a funnel or use organic marketing- you were still going to end up closing the sale via a call. Once I made the connection, I stopped focusing on marketing and started focusing on connecting. On booking conversations and converting them into sales. When I did that, everything changed. The days of struggle disappeared. Why? Because at any point, from any position, I know exactly how to get the next client (or 10). This means that I'm booking clients consistently. Whether I post on facebook or not. Whether I email my list or not. Whether I'm in KC or halfway across the world. As long as I'm having conversations, I'm closing sales.
5.) No one succeeds alone. Put as much energy into building relationships as you do into building your business.
The relationships I've built along the way are one of my biggest accomplishments. I'm honored and grateful to have some incredible friends, mentors, and peers.
These fabulous humans have all supported me through the good and the bad. They are my inspiration, my accountability, my cheerleaders, my truth-tellers, and my ass-kickers. What I know is this: you CANNOT succeed alone. You need your own circle.
Building friendships, partnerships, and support isn't easy. You have to work at it. Keep the conversation going. Listen. Show up. Make the time. And ask for the help.
When you do- and you do it CONSISTENTLY, you'll build something more valuable than money. Bonus tip: never underestimate the power of meeting in person. I make time for regular in-real-life hangouts with my friends- even when they live halfway across the country. Nothing beats it.
The single biggest shift that allowed me to succeed? Knowing that your next client is only ever a conversation away.
Building a business (and a life) isn't a walk in the park. But it's the greatest adventure you'll ever embark on.
These are just a few of the biggest lessons from my journey. My hope is that they'll help you to find your way on yours.
I hope that life brings you everything that you want.
I hope that you get to have incredible experiences with incredible people.
I hope that your work changes lives. And changes you.
The good news? You don't have to be in paradise or travel the world to make it happen. It all starts right now, in this moment. Exactly where you are. And that's the biggest shift of all.
Because in the end, whether you're in Bali or the burbs. Philly or Phuket. Doing what you can from where you are is what it's all about.
All my love,
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Now I want to hear from you. How did the shifts presented here change the way you approach your business? Comment below and share your insights.