Everyone’s experience is going to be unique, because everyone of you is unique, and so are your businesses. But I work closely with a LOT of female business owners and can share a bit about my and their experiences, as well as the experiences of my clients as I watch their businesses grow.
With growth, often comes growing pains.
Most of us start our businesses as a solopreneur. A one man or one woman show. We’re the founder, the creator, the creative director, the service itself, the marketer, the finance team, the operations manager – the everything. It all starts and stops with us.
Which at the start, is great. Most service based businesses need to start like this. It’s low cost, you’re agile and can pivot quickly, and you get to know yourself as a business owner. You get to ‘build the plane on the way down’ as they say. Find your voice, find your customers, find what works and what doesn’t. It’s an exciting, fun, messy, bumpy road with lots of turn offs and detours and roundabouts – and often you’re figuring out as your go which way you’d like to go, and where you’d like to end up.
This is where and how you refine your idea, and turn it into something that generates money in a consistent, predictable profit producing way. You try different things to find what works for you and your family and your clients. For me, I needed to do this mostly by myself.
I needed to read books by people way smarter that me, and listen to podcasts with real life examples, and try things and fail and mess things up and try more things and mess up and try more things and mess up … or decide that I didn’t like them, or decide that I preferred certain clients or sectors and work than others. I tried a couple of times to get support in different areas before finding what actually worked.
Finally, about 2 years into our agency, we had a system and an offer that worked for both us and our clients. Then we could really look at how to expand on this and scale up. Up until that point, I was very involved in every single aspect of everything. Not to say that I did everything, I did have freelancers to do specific tasks, but I was still very much involved in every detail. Everything came from me and I was responsible for making everything happen.
At that point, most people realise that they can’t work more to get more money. They’re tapped out in terms of capacity and need something to change in order to get more money, and more freedom, and realise the dream business they started it to achieve.
But here is the tricky part. There’s probably not quite enough money to justify paying someone else, but there’s not enough free time to justify otherwise. If you have a business that works though, and you’re committed making the most of it and realising your vision, you need to take the leap.
The key here is that you need a profitable business model to build on. A good foundation. For me, finding the best way to do this, I needed to get help. I invested in myself and got training and got a coach. I hadn’t created a 6 figure business before and had to admit that I didn;t know the best way to move it forward and expand on what was working.
The most simple answer for this is, get rid of the things you don’t love, and/or the things that aren’t profit producing activities.
The reality of this is not always easy. Rarely easy in fact. The juggle between time and money is real. The struggle of confidence and faith in your idea can be overwhelming. The practicalities of having to train people and hand over tasks – maybe even taks you love – can be challenging. Learning HOW (and finding time) to interview people, and train people, and manage people and lead people can be a very steep and brutal learning curve.
As I said at the started, I’ve found that you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, fast.
You need to let go and trust people.
You need to be ok to let them stumble and maybe even fall.
You need to learn new skills, and step into a new and bigger role.
But you still need to take ultimate responsibility for everything. Because it’s your business and they are your staff.
It’s the exciting, fun, messy, bumpy road all over again.
We’ve spoken about this quite a bit over the last few week, but scaling up means having to invest.
Having to invest in yourself, so you CAN grow into the bigger role of CEO.
Investing in staff because that’s likely what it takes to accomplish your dreams for the business.
You are not a robot, you are not superwoman, you cannot do it all on your own – and probably you don’t want to.
You also need to invest in ads. At some point. Most likely. Like I keep saying. Ads are the rocket fuel behind every good business. Can you imagine if the big brands didn’t advertise? Did you know that the big brands often spend 30% of their budget on marketing?
Now I’m not saying that you need to spend 30% of anything on marketing. But you do need to do it. You do need to advertise at some point in your business, to stay front of mind and increase your visibility and continue to grow your business.
Yes, there are ways to grow without ads. BUT they are slow, and time consuming and often not in your control at all – like word of mouth. It;s great, but you cannot speed it up when you want to and slow it down when you don’t need it like you can with ads.
With all of this, the truth about scaling is that it’s often scary. Because doing what you;ve always done got you to where you are, but it probably won’t get you to where you want to go.
You need to do something new, and our bodies and our brains are wired to protect us. We feel fear and are wired to move away from it. But most often in business, we need to feel the fear and do it anyway.
That’s not to say we’re going to do things without thinking about them, or without doing our due diligence, or without getting professional advice. We need to do all of those things. But it’s probably not going to fully allay our fears, because in business and in life, nothing is guaranteed. Noone can promise you you’re going to make it to the other side.
All you know for sure is that if you try, you’ve got a chance. If you don’t try, you’re not going anywhere. You also know for sure that if you fall and keep going, you haven’t failed. You cannot fail if you keep getting back up.
Falling and getting back up makes you stronger. It means you grow.
And going somewhere bigger takes growth. Growth in all areas. Income, expenses, team and personal. Big, big personal growth.
And at the end of the day, if you don’t give up, and you show up consistently and you keep building – you can achieve exactly what you always wanted. A business that you love. One that supports and flows with your family and your life. The business you always dreamed of, and the profit and freedom you started it to achieve.
It’s attainable. But it’s not easy. And the journey is not without bumps in the road.
And for me, and for all the other entrepreneurs out there that keep going for their dreams, it’s worth it. So very worth it.
So I hope that gives you some insight about what it’s going to take.
I hope too that the thought of new challenges inspires you and gives you energy to keep going.
Not many people talk about the real struggles and the real challenges that you go through as a business owner, especially when you’re a mumma and you’re doing all the things.
Make sure you get help. Get someone who has been there and done that inside your business. Find the money to get in proximity of someone who is where you want to be. It will save you so much time and money I can’t even express how valuable it is.
We cannot do this well alone. You need support. That means support from the top in coaching or mentoring or something like that, and support from the bottom doing the tactical on the ground work that you as a business owner shouldn;t be doing.
So let’s go out and make it happen.
And I hope you’re joining me next week for our 5 Day DIY Ads That Convert workshop again starting on the 8th of June inside the Social Marketing Method Facebook group.
It’s 5 days of LIVE teaching – it’s 100% free – and I promise you you’ll get more out of it that you got from the last course you paid for.
You’re going to learn the A-Z of running social media ads. From targeting, to testing to knowing what’s working and what’s not – and what to change.
I’m talking agency level details here – you’ll learn the real deal and you’ll leave the workshop having designed your ad campaign and being ready to go and start running ads.
So if that sounds good and you’d like to join us – join our private FB group where all the fun is happening – go to anneliseworn.com/workshop and it will take you to the page to register.
Can’t wait to see you there!