12 Lessons From 12 Years In Business!
Today I wanted to talk to you about 12 lessons from 12 years in business because on the 8th of November was my 12 year anniversary of being self-employed, a business owner, sole trader, entrepreneur, whatever I choose to call myself. So let’s get right into things, shall we?
Number 1: Mindset
Mindset and self-belief is I think key to being self-employed, being a business owner. You’re going to consistently face challenges, and you’re going to be needing to grow and need to elevate yourself, and you need to have that self-belief to be able to keep winning and keep succeeding.
Number 2: Work Smart
I made lots of mistakes in the early days of number two, it’s work hard, but work smart and learn to delegate. When you’re a business owner and when you first go self-employed, you want to keep hold of absolutely everything. You want to make sure that everything is done to your standards, but the difficulty in doing that is it stops your growth. It stops you being able to build your business, and there is absolutely no doubt that you have to work hard and you have to be consistent on a day-in, day-out basis. Being self-employed, being a business owner, managing a team, doing marketing, sales, admin, the whole lot is tough, and you have to work hard. Sod all that laptop lifestyle. It’s not a reality in my opinion.
Number 3: Listen to Audio Books and Podcasts
And I only started doing this three years ago, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, and actually doing it at one of my mentor’s, Rob Moore, says is NE time, no extra time. I take in all of my content in the form of audio. When I’m in the gym for an hour and a half, first thing in the morning, when I am driving to and from the office or from appointments. Very rarely do I … well, I listen to music at home when I’m in the kitchen with the kids and things like that, but I want to fill my brain with as much knowledge as I possibly can. Even when you’re not paying attention, like doing something in the gym, it goes into your subconscious. You don’t necessarily need to be completely tuned in to be able to take in the knowledge that you can get from audiobooks and the knowledge that you can get from podcasts.
Number 4: Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
You need a good peer group. You need to make sure that you’re investing, it’s not a cost, it’s an investment in personal development, in coaches, in mentors, people that are going to help your game and raise you up to be a bigger, better business owner. I’ve been self-employed as I say for 12 years. 2006, it all started for me, but for the first nine years in self-employment until January 2016, I existed. I was still learning, and the last three years is when I’ve started to put a lot of these 12 points into action, so it’s from my failures that I’ve now made those weak points a success, and surrounding yourself with the like-minded individuals who are going to help elevate you is so important because you’re going to get … you don’t want people who are going to kiss your ass. You don’t want people who are going to say yes to every comment and every decision you make. You need people who are going to challenge your beliefs and your decisions.
Number 5: Do NOt Fear Failure!
Number five is do not fear failure, and I know that is massively hard to believe, but if you fear failure, it’s going to stop you being able to move forward. You need to be able to take calculated risks in your business. In the last 12 years, I’ve had three different business styles. We were generating eight years ago a hell of a lot of life insurance leads, and at that time, I started a company called Leading Provider, and we started to sell some of those life insurance leads to other industry peers because we knew that there was a market for it. Four years ago, I started a company called Active Will Writers, and we started to offer a will writing service, and I partnered with people to start those businesses. Both of them failed, but the fact of the matter is, I tried.
Number 6: Learn to Pivot
I was taking a calculated risk, and it leads me on to my next point, number six, which is going to learn to pivot. Don’t change lanes. Pivoting is looking to add existing products that are similar to your current ecosystem. Looking at selling leads, we were generating a lot of them. We’re talking about life insurance. We’re looking at will writing. Currently now because of my book, because of the profile that I’ve been building for the last three years, I’m now starting to work and assess and coach and mentor mortgage advisors. That’s a job I’ve been doing for 15 years, but it’s not completely turning around and saying, “Nope, I’m not doing mortgages anymore. I’m going to go and become a solicitor or clean windows.” Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place to do that, but the longer you stay in lane, the better success you’re going to have. The majority of people, they talk about it takes 20 years to become an overnight success. You need to work hard, you need to put in the graft, and you need to stay in lane for as long as possible.
Number 7: The 3 Strike Rule
Number seven, I have developed a three-strike rule or a three-idea rule, and it immediately makes me take action. If I have an idea and I spin it in my brain three times, I know I need to act on it. If I have something that is annoying me and it’s frustrating me in my business, and I do it three times, then I cut it straight away. Three strikes, three ideas. It stops you procrastinating. Some of those things, as I’ve said before, are going to fail. They are going to crash and burn, but if you don’t try, you’re never going to be successful. You need to do things that are calculated, you need to take the calculated risks, and you need to trust yourself and have the self-belief that you’re making the right decisions for your future.
Number 8: Track Your Profit and Loss
Keep an eye on your profit and loss and focus on the tasks that are going to help make you money. Now, I’ve always kept an idea of my profit and loss, but having spoken to thousands of entrepreneurs, business owners, sole traders over the last three years, it is the biggest surprise to me when nobody knows their turnover, their expenditure, their average monthlies, how much they need to write on a day or how much income they need to generate on a day, on a week, on a month to achieve their targets and to achieve the lifestyle that they want. That’s why it’s so important as a business owner, and this took me a long time to adapt to, to focus on the income generating tasks.
That goes back to learning to delegate, not holding on to absolutely everything, but if you can focus on is this actual task going to make me money, is it going to help progress the business, is it going to help grow the business, is it going to have some sort of effect on … Going through the expenses once a month, for example, is going to help decrease your costs, which in turn is going to increase your profit. It’s massively important to know where your business is at from a profit and loss standpoint of view every single month.
Number 9: Use Social Media to Build Your Brand
Number nine, my favorite, use social media to build a personal brand and stick a rocket up your marketing. Marketing is an investment. It’s not an expense. If you could spend 500 pounds and make 5,000 pounds, of course, you’re going to do it, but the one thing I did up until three years ago from 2006 right the way through until late 2015 was I used to buy all my leads, names, numbers, and inquiries via the internet. I was spending 20,000 pounds a month on generating leads and I hated it. I grew that business and I didn’t like it. We were doing nearly three-quarters of a million pounds a year, but I didn’t enjoy the clients that I was working with, there was no customer loyalty.
On January of 2016, 2016 even, I started to invest in my marketing knowledge, my networking, my business knowledge, my strategy understanding, and I started to focus on building a personal brand because people buy people. If you’re a faceless brand, your business is not going to grow as quick as if you have a face to it. We all know Richard Branson. You all know Steve Jobs. Their names, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing myself to those individuals in the slightest, but there is an element of you, or me at least, that chooses to use Virgin because I like Branson. I like Apple products because of what Steve Jobs believes and how he wanted to make a dent in the universe.
If you can do that on a smaller scale, and I can’t remember who the guy is, I think he’s Verne Harnish or somebody like that, he says you need a thousand true fans, and you can make millions. If you can create your audience and people who know, like and trust you, then that’s going to help to elevate you, your business, and you’re going to have a great lifestyle off the back of it.
Number 10: Improve 1% Every day
Number 10, and it all links in, is to make improvements, and just a 1% improvement every single day in your mindset, in the jobs you get done, in your focus, in your marketing, in your branding, in your lead generation, in your sales, whatever you break it down to, 1% improvement is 365% a year. If you try and think about achieving 365% growth in one year in yourself, in your business, it’s tough, but break it down to 1% a day, and you’re going to achieve that goal.
Number 11: Admire Your Work
Number 11, don’t forget to take stock of how far you’ve come in your journey. 12 years I’ve been doing this, and it’s been one hell of a roller coaster, and I know I’ve got another 12-plus years to go in front of me. But when I think back to all the things that I’ve achieved as business owners, entrepreneurs, self-employed people, we focus so much on the future of where we’re going, we forget to look back and actually take stock of how much we’ve achieved, how many people we’ve helped, what we’ve done and the change that we’re trying to make in the world. You need to acknowledge those wins, and it goes back to being surrounded with the right peer group and the right like-minded individuals who are going to help you to celebrate those wins and to overcome those challenges, and to keep adding 1% each and every single day, week, month, years as they go by.
Number 12: Self-Belief
Finally, my number 12 comes back to mindset and self-belief. Right at the very beginning, always remain grateful. If you come from a place of gratitude, there is no way that any negative feeling can exist. If you get the bill that comes into your household or into your business or you have a complaint, be grateful for that because it gives you an opportunity. You’re lucky to have the house to get the bill. If you’ve had the complaint, then you’re lucky to have the client who made the complaint because it gives you an opportunity to improve. If like me, you go and bump your wheel up a curve, burst the tire and need to pay 500 quid for a new wheel, I’m grateful that I’ve got the car, I’m grateful that I have that car to drive home in every single day. From a place of gratitude, you’re going to attract more into your life. The law of attraction, I thoroughly believe in it.
So let me go back to the beginning. I’ve learned this tip from one of the people that I follow. I’ve surrounded myself with the likes of or put into my ears if you want this to benefit you, the likes of Rob Moore, Glen Carson, Daniel Priestly, Jane Sinclair. All of these people have had a massive impact on my business, my understanding, my personal development over the last three years. Buy their books, listen to their audio, get in their communities because there are loads of other like-minded individuals in those communities as well as in my ones.
So to summarise the 12 points. Number one, focus on your mindset and had a shed load of self-belief. Number two, work hard, but work smart and learn to delegate as early as you possibly can. Number three, listen to audiobooks, listen to podcasts, and do it at a time when you’re driving when you’re in the gym when you’re talking the dog for a walk so that you’re actually making use of that time and filling your brain with the right types of information.
Number four, surround yourself with like-minded people, an awesome peer group who are going to hold you accountable. Invest in coaches, mentors, personal development. That is an investment. It is not an expense. Don’t fear failure, which I know is a tough one, but if you make calculated risks, you just need to try and you just need to make little improvements, and to keep moving forward. Number six, pivot. Don’t change lanes completely. Stay on your path. Make sure that you continue to keep moving forward in the direction that you’ve chosen to go. Make little tiny changes and pivot, don’t completely change lane and try and go off with the new quick moneymaking scheme. It is a marathon. It is not a sprint, a business that is.
Number seven, three-strike rule. That’s three, three-strike rule, three-idea rule. If you have the thought more than three times, take action, don’t delay. Get it done, get it started, get it cut, get it gone, whatever it might well be. Number eight, keep an eye on your P and L every single month. Look at your turnover. Look at your expenditures. See what profit is coming in. See what expenses you can reduce. Make sure that you’re focusing on the things that are going to improve your business and bring more income into your business. Number nine, use social media. It’s free. It’s not going anywhere. Choose your platform where your clients hang out and share valuable content for them. Make them know, like, and trust you, and your business is going to grow as a result.
Number 10, make 1% improvement every single day in your performance, in your mindset, in your sales ability, in your administration ability, in your networking, whatever it might well be. That’s going to be a 365% increase across the course of a year. Number 11, take stock of how far you have come. Don’t forget to look back and actually remind yourself, because we get blinked on the going forward. Make sure you’re taking stock and looking back and acknowledging the wins.
Finally, always remain grateful. Coming from a place of gratitude is going to help you to win. It’s going to help you to excel. The law of attraction is going to pull more beneficial things to you, and I hope that it’s been beneficial to you. Thank you very much, and I should look forward to seeing you again on the page.
If you Like this Blog Post then check out this one I did on: ATTRACTION BASED MARKETING AND HOW TO USE IT EFFECTIVELY
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