Words of advise from guest-poster, Jonathan Hinshaw, of EBWAY Creative.
When I first started my agency, every year I, like most entrepreneurs and small business owners, would sit back and think to myself, “How am I going to make more money this year?” or “How will I grow my business this year?” or even “How will I stay in business this year?” That last one haunted me for 4 years in a row…no joke!
To avoid the pitfall of yet another dismal year I would write resolutions at the beginning of each new year.Things that I would do differently like projects I would finally complete, old habits that I would shed, new pricing policies that I would put into place, etc. Heck, at one point I even thought that all I needed was better clients that would pay me what I was worth. I’d wonder to myself, “How am I going to get rid of these time vampires?” True story…one year I even fired over 60 % of my customers in the hopes that I would be free of the burden of helping the unhelpable. I’m not recommending this at all, that was very, very painful.
As a company, we would have banner years and not-so banner years. We would hit it big and then be out of cash 2-3 month later. At times I felt like giving up, and to be 100% honest with you, I did give up for about a year and half and I almost let my agency die.
It Can’t Be About The Money
Casting about for an answer, I reached out to one of my mentors (who at the time, I barely knew) and asked them if they could help me with my pricing strategy or give me some pointers on what I should do about this failing dream/business of mine. Their answer shocked me as he said “What are you doing this for?” After a long pause I responded, “Well, for the money I guess.” Then I heard some of the best advice that I’ve ever heard as my mentor says to me:
If you’re doing this for money, you’re going to lose. Don't think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money. quote from Voltair (sort of)
He was right. I wasn’t truly in this for money. My dream was to create my own business so that I could work from home and watch my boy grow up, spend time with my wife, take vacations whenever I wanted and be my own boss. I wasn’t doing this for money.
You’re probably waiting for some amazing tip or tool but it’s so much simpler than that. My advise to you is to “Be You”.
The fact of the matter is that I should have known all of this in the beginning. Before I created my company I was making more money in a single month that most Americans make in one year - but I was miserable. Money doesn’t make you happy. In fact, it can be your worst enemy if you let it be.
The Success Factor = Focus
Once I changed my focus, the financial course of my business was adjusted and I went from almost going out of business to bringing in over $30k/month in profit. The best part is - the entire process took a total of about 4 months.
Ever had someone tell you that you just need to get out of your own way? Even the greatest entrepreneurs are always battling their own Inner Critic, not to mention dealing with the doubts of all the naysayers around them. So, let’s fix this right now…
First, you’ll want to identify if an inner argument is impeding your success. After you’ve done that, the work is to get that Inner Critic back on your side. Once you’ve conquered the internal voices, it’s easier to manage your (external) critics, and learn to distinguish between valuable critiques and silly cynicism. When I started my company my wife was very supportive. She was the only one. Nobody else had my back.
You wanna succeed? Then get around some successful people and drop the naysayers like the dead weight they are. That’s how I roll. Attitudes, doubt, even poverty - to me they are all like a sickness (and yes, I said poverty). They are contagious and they will kill you. The battle to becoming successful starts and ends in your own mind. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.