In this episode of the Fearless Launching Show, in addition to talking to one of my first business mentors Marie Forleo and her respected online program B-School, I’m going to delve into some of the questions I often stop and think about when it comes to growing my business. And some of these realizations and answers I’ve found were after years of working in extremely successful businesses that I didn’t own.
It took me stepping into my own business to get really clear on business principles, basics really and facing my own set of “issues”…in order for me to start seeing success.
Because as entrepreneurs and the day to day challenges we face while growing our business. We think our problems are so unique and that if we can just reach 6 figures, 7 figures, hire a full-time team, that we will somehow “get over” it and business goes on easy mode.
But the truth is pretty much the opposite….and I found this out the hard way.
When you start your business there’s so much you need to learn, decide and take action on in order to see the results and revenue you want…and even when you know the basics, know what to do every single day, you can’t really lean back and just let everything run on its own.
You gotta revisit those pillars of business every single time you have a decision to make about your business. I mean – every decision.
You don’t get to fill out a pdf with your business vision on it, save it in dropbox and never even glance at it again…NOPE. You create a recurring appointment in your schedule to go over the basics on a regular basis.
Now – I’m not admitting to figuring out the pillars and then avoiding them.
Avoidance–that’s just not my style.
But I do want to share a story that could have turned out completely different if I hadn’t instinctively checked in with my own pillars…and ultimately could have halted my business in its tracks.
I was launching and involved with not 1, not 2 but 3 different big projects in September one fall a few years ago.
On one hand I was happy to be so busy and working with some amazing people, but on the other I was thinking, “why am I so busy yet my revenue is not growing as fast as I’d wanted it to this year???”
Now, truth be told, I’m not against working on other people’s launches. I love telling people what to do, so being the boss is fine and fun for me.
But what I had done is avoided the truth about what was bringing the most bucks into my business with the least effort.
And that was actually my own launches and my own products.
I am usually spot on, eye on the prize…but I got so BUSY that I forgot to run the numbers in a way that gave me clarity.
So – once I did step back, pulled out my iPhone calculator, added the numbers multiplied by the amount of anxiety, effort and stress I felt trying to juggle my business while working with other people, I knew what I had to do.
My decision wasn’t made because I wasn’t making enough on the products that weren’t mine…it was that I knew if I focused my attention on my own, I could make more!
I needed 100% focus on my own business. Just because someone needed me didn’t mean that I had to say yes. I had a choice.
Now I know that consulting isn’t part of my business unless I want it to be.
I know countless entrepreneurs at various stages of their businesses who had to let go and decide NOT to do certain things.
That’s why I invited Marie Forleo, founder of B-School, best selling author and creator of the award-winning web show MarieTV.com, and one of my dearest friends and mentors on the show!
I knew she’d have a ton to share her take on launching, workflow, hiring, making decisions in your business and to shed some light on how that changes (and stays the same) as your business grows.
Marie was very generous with her time and she goes into depth on all of these topics and even how much work went into the upcoming launch of her popular online program B-School.
Marie and I discuss some of the key things that change and don’t change as you build your business and what it takes (hint – it’s not doing less work!):
1. How important is a plan and how detailed do I need to get?
If you’ve been around my neck of the woods, you know I love me a good plan. But here’s the thing – even with all my talk of the tools I use, even I fall back to the basics.
Many a launch started in Asana, Trello, Wrike or Basecamp…and then ended up a spreadsheet. I still use my Google Spreadsheet and offer templates for this in my programs.
Marie believes in keeping her systems simple. The goal is to get your ideas down, get the tasks laid out, get the work done…not trying to be all fancy…finding the easiest way to get the work done.
If that’s a list that you cross off when tasks are finished, then that’s what you need to do.
2. How do I stick to my vision and drive my business in the right direction?
Vision is something you need to think about if you want to have a successful anything. What do you want to create? Who do you want to create it for? What’s your business like–just you or a big team? Do you sell educational products or physical ones? How do you plan on making money? What results would you love to create for your customers?
Marie reminded me that this is an ongoing conversion you have with yourself, your team and close advisors.
This conversation doesn’t end…because you get feedback from your subscribers, clients, customers, the industry in general.
But you are part of that data – so listen to your own voice but also listen to the real meaning behind what people are asking for too!“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. – Henry Ford via @marieforleo”
4. How will I make decisions during big projects, in the middle of a launch or day to day in my business?
Who knows your business and you intimately? Do you default to your team? Or do you follow your instinct and intuition?
Being a leader often means you will go in the opposite direction…even when you respect them. You’ve got to trust your own wisdom.
5. How will I handle overwhelm when it hits (because it likely will!)?
Overwhelm happens to everyone. Doesn't matter if you're just starting out or if you've been in business for many years. We're all human here right?
Many of us – me included – have our moments when we fly off the handle, cry, scream, you name the emotion, and you might feel it during a launch.
How you handle that launch overwhelm and recover from it is one of the most important skills you hone as you build your business.
Working on a launch can bring on overwhelm to even the most experienced launcher. I remember days when our little launch team for the first B-School made sure we got together in team huddles to scare off any of the anxiety that crops up.
6. Can my business really be this simple?
When I watch Marie and her business, I often think — wow, she's got a sweet and simple business.
I know that it's easy to get caught up in the idea of creating more offers, more content, getting more clients…I do it too!
We want to please, share value, give and give some more.
But stepping back, revisiting your vision, checking in with yourself on a regular basis. That's the only way to make things “simple” again.
Do you want a simple business? Well, you can have it!
7. Does launching and relaunching ever get easier – are you able to use and re-use content?
This is one of those hard to answer questions…because you make it how “easy” you want it to be…and as Marie explains, you make decisions about what you want to offer each time you launch — that drives the amount of work and how “easy” it will be for you to launch.
Marie shares her own desires to make sure she raises the bar, does more, and innovates B-School each and every year. For instance, I'm not talking about rewriting launch emails only…
Each year, the team spends months combing through the program from the ground up…updating lessons and bonuses and fun sheets to make sure it stays the timeless course people expect!
So – to say launching gets easier isn’t really an easy yes. If you’re proud of what you’re creating, then you’ll find ways to rework, enhance and make what you’re doing better!
Plus – each year’s workload can change depending on what’s happening for the launch. New launch material? Maybe you focus on that and the core content stays the same.