Experience More Profit With THIS 1 Simple Solution
Especially For home-based business owners & side-hustlers
If you are a new entrepreneur or a business owner who has been trying to grow your business but can’t seem to reach beyond where you are now, or, maybe you have a side hustle that you want to build into your full-time gig, but just can’t seem to bring the income over the threshold you need to officially quit your job, then this episode is for you.
Lindsay outlines the single most necessary activity to do daily that will radically change the trajectory of your bank account and produce a return on your time invested in listening to this episode! This is a must-listen, but don’t stop there. Promise yourself you’ll take action too!
The Most Detrimental Mistake...
Can you guess what is the number one most detrimental mistake entrepreneurs make? I’ll pause for a moment while you take a stab at it… It is not marketing incorrectly, choosing the wrong topic, or mismanaging your expectations, all of which can be costly, but ultimately, not as costly as not focusing DAILY on income-producing activities.
Often this is a mistake that most business owners find themselves in accidently - or shall I say, accidentally on purpose. You see it is the same philosophy as “A dream without a plan is just a wish” or “If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail.” The point I am making is if we are not intentional about our daily action and specifically income producing action, then we are essentially choosing to struggle although it may feel like a surprising accident.
If you are a new entrepreneur, or a business owner who has been trying to grow your business but can’t seem to reach beyond where you are now, or, maybe you have a side hustle that you truly want to become your full time gig, but just can’t seem to bring the income over the threshold you need to call it fulltime, then this episode is for you.
See I understand when we wear all hats in our business, or too many hats, how easy it is to get lost in the mundane activities that feel so pressing and important; and although they have merit and may make a difference in the business, they don’t always necessarily produce income.
The Early Days
Back in the early 2000s between 2004-2008 when the economy shifted, people would rather invest in repairing their daily driver than upgrading to a new vehicle. Many people were losing their jobs and homes so frivolous spending was curtailed. New car dealerships began seeing the results of this as sales plummeted.
At the time, I was working in the service department which was a very safe position for me during that downturn economy, but my role closely tied me to the sales department.
I’ll never forget the moment I walked upstairs at Midway Chevrolet in Phoenix, Arizona to see Paul, the manager of the sales BDC (Business Development Center). When I walked in the room it was completely empty. Other than a few desks, everybody’s stations had been cleaned out. I looked at Paul and asked what happened, wondering where everybody went. He said the dealership downsized. I could see the look of fear in his eyes wondering if he was next. In one day, the entire department was eradicated. At least 8 or 9 people lost their jobs, just like that.
The sinking feeling in my stomach is still a poignant memory. The realization that came from that moment was a catalyst for many decisions I made in my career. The realization was simply that unless you’re an income producer and you’re good at it, then you’re expendable.
Midway Chevrolet was not the only dealership to make that choice. BDC departments nationwide began closing during that time because dealerships realized that without walk in traffic, their sales people, who were only paid if they sold something, had plenty of time to man the phones and make outbound calls.
That lesson was punctuated by the observation that the top producing employees in both sales and services seemed to be able to get away with a lot more than lesser performing employees. Many of them could come in late, not show up for a shift, mistreat customers, and essentially write their own ticket.
I was only 20 years old when I was learning these interesting lessons as an up-and-coming employee. At the time, I could not understand why some people could get away with so much while others who were so hard-working were written off. And eventually it became clear that hard work had very little to do with success because employees who were following the rules to the letter, were not getting treated the same as those who broke the rules, but produced. In the end, it was clear to me that “success” in the industry had less to do with hard work, and more to do with results.
So, as I progressed in my career I put those lessons to work in every position I had. Whether I was building a BDC department, overseeing marketing, or in a sales position, I applied the golden rule of employment – Income Producing equals job security. I even went so far as to build my BDC departments in such a way that each month I could show the net dollar value of each employee. I knew that based on their outbound call efforts only, each representative was worth $5000-$10,000 of net revenue per month. I had a proven system and I did that so that if ever the time came around again for downsizing, management would definitely think twice before cutting my department.
There are really very few positions in businesses that are considered a necessity in downturned times. Often the accounting office is spared and primarily the skilled people or people who are cross trained. I’ve definitely sat through enough manager meetings where we were making hard decisions about who would be let go and who would stay. Often the conversation resorted to cross training people and maximizing efficiency.
What does this have to do with running a profitable business?
You may be wondering what does any of this have to do with running a small business or even acting as a solopreneur? Do you think that if you are the owner or solo-employee that you can’t be downsized?
The bad news is - you can. It’s called quitting your business and getting a job.
Now the good news - you can also avoid it and have complete control over that fate, but only if you TAKE control.
It is important that we have our own board meeting with ourselves on a regular basis and evaluate our activities, effort, and results. Imagine yourself as the boss giving a yearly review to yourself as the employee. Except, I advise you to do this quarterly instead. Not only will this help you become more efficient, but it will also put you in a position to produce more income.
Right now, look at your calendar if you can, and mark an hour off for you to host this so-called board meeting. During the meeting make a list of activities you do. Especially focus on your daily activities. Then categorize them by income producing or non-income producing. If you have tasks that are questionable, put them in a third category. Usually the questionable ones are where hidden opportunities lie or they are activities that build and feed the pipeline in a long term way rather than a short term instant gratification type of manner. For example, recording this podcast is nurturing my audience and may lead to “super fans” who could eventually buy my products; however, that is part of my overarching business model and does not produce immediate cash in hand like networking with people on LinkedIn or running google ads.
After you list your daily actions take note. If you are spending 80% of your time or more on non-income producing activities, my friend, you are destined to be downsized. Stay with me because if this is the case, there is often a mindset block going on and I will address that at the end of this episode.
When you work for yourself it is easy to get distracted and unfocused by filling up your calendar with arbitrary meet-ups, collaboration calls, or end up spending your days “educating yourself” rather than taking action. Not to say educating yourself is not valuable, but it can come after income producing activities are completed.
Next, brainstorm the following questions: What are income producing activities you could do more of? And how can you leverage other people or technology to help you achieve efficiency with the list of items that are not income producing? Or how can you leverage other people or technology to make your income producing activities more efficient?
Something my dad used to say, which now that I think about it is rather graphic and odd, is “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Growing up, that always seemed to make sense because my dad hated cats and I never really questioned it, but now that I’m saying on a podcast I’m wondering why anybody would want to skin a cat in the first place.
Nevertheless the point of his odd phrase is there are many ways to get results. If you decide you are best suited for non-income producing activities that is fine, then find someone or some other way to get results. Let me give you an example. Maybe you’re a social media manager and you just LOVE creating graphics and spending all day on social for your clients, but you HATE finding new clients and all the tedious other things that come with managing a small business like creating invoices and so on, then set yourself up so that clients come to you. Perhaps you hire someone to sell your services, like a client acquisition manager. Or, perhaps instead of investing in a human, you run paid ads that generate sales calls so you don’t have to prospect. You just simply talk to people, get them onboarded and execute the services.
What I hear time and again from home-based business owners- and this goes for mompreneurs, direct marketing agents, content creators, and other service based business owners - is that they get stuck when it comes to outreach.
They freeze up, procrastinate, hide from activities that involve pitching themselves to prospects.
The mindset behind this strategy
This leads me to the mindset portion of this episode. Often just because we know what income producing activities are and the ones we SHOULD be doing doesn't mean that we get up and get it done every day. As we know if it was our job to set up 5 sales meetings a week, then guess what we would be focusing on daily. But when it comes to doing it for ourselves, often this gets tabled and suddenly non income producing activities seem REALLY important.
This my friends is a mindset issue and here’s how to solve it. After you’ve made your list of income producing activities take time to block out your schedule and do the money making activities first every day that you work.
Holding these regular meetings with yourself is going to be paramount to the success of your business and will help you hold yourself accountable. Have your list of income producing activities on the wall so that easily you can be reminded of what you are to be doing and most importantly – and I mean that – most importantly, tell yourself that it’s a non-negotiable.
You are not allowed to do other activities until those income activities are done even if it produces no money that day. For example let us say that you intend to connect with 20 people a day on LinkedIn. Format your message and send them out each day with the intention of connecting with 20 new people FIRST, before you do anything else in your business. What often holds us back is the idea of rejection or the idea that somebody might say no or that nothing will come of it and that we’ll have failed. Ironic isn’t it?
We would rather take zero action and guarantee that nothing comes of it then to take a risk that we might be told “no.” My friends take the risk and tell yourself it is your job, it is your duty to do whatever income producing activity you commit to after you have this meeting with yourself and just think about where you will be 90 days from now simply by making this one simple change.
Stay tuned for next week when I go through a list of income-producing activities for the online entrepreneur. Although I do look forward to producing that episode, I believe that each and everyone of us knows what incom- producing activities we need to be doing more of, so don’t wait for that episode to get started.
Alright friends, that wraps it up for this week's episode, until next week, bye for now.