It’s natural to feel frustrated when you’re trying to grow your business, but you’re stuck.
After all, when you got into business you probably had some lofty dreams that are seemingly unrealised now.
I’m speaking from experience. I personally was reaching for mountains of money, the freedom to design my day, and a big loyal staff to do my bidding so I didn’t have to do any real work.
The fundamental reason I got into business is more complicated:
I have some pretty serious health problems, and I’ve been chronically ill since I was a small child. I need to be able to rearrange my life so I can take time off to take care of myself (like I did this June. I got really sick and had to take two weeks off).
But once I started learning this online business thing my dreams quickly shifted from just being able to take care of my health to millions of dollars, total time freedom, and a huge staff.
I don’t presume to know why you got into business, or what your dreams are, but I do know a lot of entrepreneurs who have had (at some point) similar dreams to mine, only to find them forever out of arm’s reach.
- a list of 100k engaged subscribers
- generating $2 per subscriber from their list per month
- 500 customers generating monthly recurring revenue
- $1m a year in revenue
These dreams are all fine. There is nothing wrong with these dreams, except the fact that they’re based on myths in entrepreneurship, but that’s another story…
But if these types of dreams are your dreams and you’re not making progress towards them every single year, there’s something keeping you stuck. There’s a reason you’re not able to grow your business as much (or as quickly) as you would like.
Over the years I’ve come to realise there are a few core key reasons why people get stuck, why their businesses get stuck, and why they’re not being taken seriously.
If you’re struggling to grow your business and you feel like you’re in a hamster wheel, running forever and getting nowhere, read on and see if any of these reasons resonate with you.
Warning: Some #realtalk is coming up, and if any of these resonate with you, then you’re probably going to feel pretty uncomfortable reading this post, and you probably won’t like me very much, but I don’t really care. As a coach it’s not my job to people like me; it’s my job to get results. When you take action on any of the reasons in this post that are keeping you stuck, you will start to grow your business.
Reason 1: You’re not acting like a professional.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but if you’re not acting like a professional why the fuck would you expect people to pay you for your products or services?
I am a huge believer that the way you show up is the way you will be perceived. I am not advocating for faking it.
I’m not by any means saying “fake it til you make it” but I am saying if you want to grow your business, if you want people to give you money, if you want others to take you seriously, you have to take yourself seriously and be a fucking professional.
Being a fucking professional means:
- Not promising things you don’t deliver.
- Showing up with integrity.
- Standing by your word.
- Being honest with your customers and your audience.
- Putting 100% effort into your work — even if you don’t know for sure if what you’re working on will ever amount to anything.
- Not fucking off when you have deliverables due to clients.
- Not lying about who you are and what your capabilities are.
- Rising above the fray and not indulging in unseemly arguments on social media.
Reason 2: You don’t have a plan.
You may be reading this one and thinking, “But Ysmay! You’re a strategist!” And yeah, I am, but I’m actually not a strategist at heart. At heart I’m flighty. I’m one of those artsy creative types. I had to learn to be a strategist.
I always wanted to be a planner, but I never managed to actually pull it off. I would buy many physical planners (the most lovely and soul-empowering being the Danielle LaPorte planner), and swear that this was the year I was going to use them and plan my life, but that never happened. Come February I’d be done. I’d be back to my ways.
But when it comes to business, if you want to thrive, you need a plan. You can’t just wing it. You can’t just stumble into things hoping they’ll result in success and money.
Sometimes people get lucky. Sometimes people are in the right place at the right time and they end up succeeding even without a plan.
But believe me when I tell you that you will have better luck growing your business when you have a plan.
A plan doesn’t have to be set in stone. A plan can be more like guidelines, a la Pirates of the Caribbean. Whatever you call it, it’ll help you move ahead with clarity.
Reason 3: You’re planning and learning but not executing.
On the flip side, you may have a plan — or guidelines — but you’re not executing on them. All the plans in the world won’t help you grow your business if you don’t execute on them.
You’ll be amazed how many people I’ve met who spend hours a day learning, and have all these plans for their business, but don’t actually execute on them.
It’s impossible to grow a business without taking some kind of action.
It’s like you’re just waiting for the universe to give you what you want, and I hate to break it to you, sweetie, the universe is not actually designed to give you whatever the fuck you want.
The universe does not exist to make your life better.
You have to take action. You have to put in effort.
You have to work at it (crazy, I know).
Reason 4: You don’t like or respect yourself.
If you don’t like yourself, if you have no self-respect, you’re not going to grow your business. You’re going to keep sabotaging yourself because you feel like you don’t deserve to succeed.
I’m speaking from experience here.
I used to be a cunt.
I was not a good person. I wasn’t a bad person, but I wasn’t a good person.
I was selfish. I caused emotional harm to a lot of people I care about just because I was a selfish, miserable, insecure cunt in constant need of affirmation and adoration.
And when I was a selfish cunt, guess what happened to my business?
My business stayed stuck. I was constantly in limbo.
I was always struggling in feast or famine mode. I was never making progress.
Every day I was making choices that kept me stuck. Choices that kept me from making progress. Choices that kept me broke as fuck.
When I started working on my personal development some amazing things happened.
- I stopped being a cunt.
- I started liking myself. I’m finally someone I’m proud to be.
- I started making a lot more money.
I went from being on the verge of shuttering my business to 10xing my revenue.
If you don’t like yourself, if you have no self-respect, it could be you have imposter syndrome, or it could be you’re a cunt.
Only you will know if this is part of your problem, and if so which one to be true, but if you’re struggling with self-respect, I strongly suggest you start working on your personal development so you can actually grow into the person your business deserves.
Reason 5: You have poor work ethic.
Work ethic is critically important to growing a successful business. Business takes work.
I’ve only met two people in my life who can match my work ethic: my husband and my baby brother.
I am always surprised when I discover people I know do not have great work ethic.
They just want to get paid to be themselves.
“I want to be an influencer” is code for “I want to get paid to fuck off.”
Wake up. Fuck off on Instagram. Get paid. #MillennialDreams
Sounds like a great business model, right?
But here’s the thing most people overlook:
It rarely ever works out that way.
Sure, there are people who make 7 figures by posting to Instagram or making YouTube videos and that’s all they do, but those are the exceptions.
The biggest problem with the internet lately is that it makes it seem so easy to make a fortune, and while it’s not as hard as it used to be, it’s not work-free. Even when you’re making a passive income product you HAVE to put in effort.
I challenge you to put in 3x more effort in your business for the next month and see what happens.
Seriously. Do it. And let me know what happens in the comments. I’m willing to bet you’re going to grow your business.
Reason 6: You have a scarcity mindset.
To grow a business you have to invest in your business. You have to invest your time, you have to invest your money, and you have to invest your emotions. If you’re not willing to invest all three, even though you know it may be futile, than your business will not grow as it should.
Time and emotions are a given, or they should be if you have any hope of getting anywhere at all. If you aren’t willing to put in effort and emotion, the odds of success are very, very low.
Money is where the scarcity mindset really comes into play.
There are occasions when you can’t invest money. Maybe you’re a new business. Maybe you’re broke as fuck because you just paid a huge tax bill. But if you have money, you should invest in your business.
I commit to reinvesting 25%-50% of my profits back into my business. In the early days? It was 100%. I had no other income. I had only what my business was generating, and while it would’ve made life easier for me and my husband if I took all of the profits as a salary, I knew that if I wasn’t willing to invest in coaching, training, and systems, my business would never be at the point where it can support us. (Happy to say I’m about to be able to retire my husband as well as pay off our final $20k of debt.)
You absolutely must invest in your business if you want to grow your business.
This means investing in ways to promote your offers. This means investing in the right staff members who can support you. This means investing in turning your expertise into products. This means getting a coach who can help you get out of your own way.
Time and time again when I see people who have the funds but not the willingness to invest in their business it’s because they have a scarcity mindset. It’s because they believe that they’re spending, not investing.
Spending money is like going to Starbucks and getting an iced soy matcha latte. It’s not an investment. It’s not something you’re going to earn back. You’re not going to get a return on the money you put out. The return is entirely an emotional one.
But when you take a few thousand bucks and invest in your business, it’s very different.
You’re getting more sales, more leads, and you’re creating more time for you to spend with your loved ones. (Or fucking around watching Netflix. #NoJudgement)
Reason 7: You only have one way for people to pay you.
This may seem obvious, but if you don’t have a way for people to pay you, guess what? They’re not gonna.
Your revenue will be forever stuck in sales purgatory. You need — and I mean NEED — multiple ways for people to hire you if you want to get off the hamster wheel.
Now, I understand the appeal of only having one product (whether that’s a service, a coaching package, or a digital product).
It’s one thing to manage. It’s one thing to sell. It’s one thing to focus on.
But this is greatly limiting your potential customer base. If you’re only offering 1:1 coaching for $20k, you’re going to be weeding out everybody below that who could benefit.
Again, I understand the appeal.
You may be thinking, “But I only want to work with my ideal client, and that client can pay $20k.” And that’s great, but, here’s the thing most people don’t consider:
When you have lower level offers, you’re going to turn people into your ideal clients.
When you’re literally creating your ideal future clients, it’s nearly impossible not to grow your business.
The reason is because of buyer psychology.
People are far more likely to buy from a business they’ve bought from before. Think about your favourite coffee shop. Why do you go to that one? It’s partly habit, but it’s also because it’s a known quantity. You know what to expect.
The same is true for online businesses. I know if I want to learn any new digital marketing techniques, I’m going to go to DigitalMarketer. Why? Because I already took many of their certification programs, and I know what to expect.
When you have multiple offers, you are taking someone who isn’t your ideal client yet, and you’re giving them the tools and the resources to become your ideal client, and as a result you’re generating more immediate revenue, which in turn you can invest back into your business and see it grow.
If you do your job right, if your product suite is structured properly, you’re going to turn someone who is only able to invest $1k into someone who can eventually invest $20k, and when that time comes for them, they’re much more likely to invest it with you.
I do not in anyway advocate for devaluing your offers, or offering 1:1 work for cheap.
Instead, I advocate for building out a digital product suite that will make money for you without your regular involvement, and turn students into your ideal high-ticket clients.
If you want to learn how to turn your expertise into digital product suites, I invite you to look at my digital product coaching program.
Reason 8: You don’t manage your time well.
Being chronically ill, I can tell you that we do not all have the same 24 hours in a day. Just as a single Mom with 4 kids under the age of 6 doesn’t have all the same 24 hours either.
I am a firm believer the people who say, “We all have the same 24 hours in a day! How you use it is up to you!” are cunts who are saying it only to make you feel inferior and unproductive.
But, we all do have some bits of time which can be used for work.
If you’re lucky, there is a predictable set of hours every day that you can use to grow your business. If you’re still working in a 9-5, or if you’re a stay-at-home-Mom, maybe you only have an hour a day for your business.
But you do have some amount of time that you can be using to grow and move forward. It’s important to start with what you’ve got.
If you’re not using this time — whether it’s 60 minutes or 6 hours — well, then your business will not grow the way you’d like. If you’re spending your time chasing vanity metrics instead of working on generating revenue, your business will stay stuck.
Reason 9: You haven’t zeroed in on your zone.
Some people conflate zone of genius with managing time with the implication being that if you only work in your zone of genius, you’re naturally going to manage your time, but I believe they’re a little bit different.
You can be a time management ninja and still not be working on the right things — in the right zone — for you and your business.
I see this a lot in multifaceted entrepreneurs, and I definitely struggle with this. I have soooo many interests and there are so many things I am capable of that it’s hard for me to only do one thing over and over again.
In fact, it bores me to tears.
But, when I zeroed in on my zone of genius, when I became really clear on what I’m awesome at instead of just “ok” at, I stopped wasting energy on the things I’m “ok” at.
Action item: Make a list of everything you do right now that you don’t love and you’re not a ninja at. What can you outsource? What can you stop doing all together?
Reason 10: You’re inconsistent.
Consistency is key. If you’re not consistent in your marketing, networking, promotions, content creation, product creation, or servicing your clients, then you cannot ever expect predictable growth. Your growth will — at best — be one of fits and spurts.
You’ll be stuck in that dreadful feast-or-famine cycle. Instead of your revenue increasing month after month, you’re more likely to have one month of revenue growth followed by a slump, followed by a little burst of revenue, followed by a slump. It’s not sustainable. It will hurt your business and it will hurt your morale.
So for heaven’s sake, be consistent.
Consistency can take many forms. It doesn’t mean doing the same exact things every day (though, there are things I suggest you do every single day, and we’ll talk about that another time), but taking consistent action on the right things to move you forward in your life and in your business.