So many people want go into business for themselves. They dream of a time when they can stick it to the Man by giving their two week's notice and walking away toward a path of freedom, independence and calling all the shots. With millions in revenue to be made in their future, success is inevitable. Until...the real investment must be made. I'm talking about time and money.
We've all heard that anything worth having takes hard work..and time. But how much do we really believe that? Hard work is relative, right?
Let me tell you a little story...
When I first moved to Los Angeles to pursue my first business, I was completely delusional. I thought my business was somehow going to miraculously flourish just because I wanted it to. Once I got out there, I was supposed to be working in my business full time, one hundred percent. But as a baby entrepreneur, I didn't know what that actually meant, or how that felt.
Without any experience of how to be fully in control of my days, I was just winging it. I had no discipline or routines. I would wake up when I felt like waking up. Hang out on my sofa...half-ass working. I allowed myself to get caught up watching TV or planning my meals. I would start late and call it quits early. Not only was I not putting in enough time, the time I was putting in was mostly BS. Nothing really moving the needle. Avoiding the hard things.
When I began to meet people, I allowed my time to get even more interrupted. Soon after I arrived in L.A., I met this girl named Emily, now one of my closest friends. We met at a Los Angeles Fashion Market. We discovered we lived very close and became fast friends. It seemed like almost daily, Emily would invite me to have lunch at her cool Hollywood Hills home. Emily loved to entertain and feed people and I loved being a guest. She and her partner were living what seemed to be the coolest lifestyle in an amazing place, and the energy was always so great up there that I never turned down an invite.
But my willingness to be distracted by escaping my own responsibilities in order to get lost in another world was getting me nowhere. And why should it? I hadn't given it the time and energy it deserved. Emily's business was doing great. Hmmmmm.....
Emily wasn't to blame. I was. But I eventually got my act together. I started really putting into my business and doing the hard things that allowed me to see some growth. In the end, I dare to say I was giving it too much time. But my point is, I didn't see growth until I start putting in the effort.
When you own a business, the goal is to be as efficient as possible with your money. Putting the least amount in, in an effort to get the highest possible return. But there are times when the money you invest may not bring you immediate returns, if any.
Let me tell you another story...
When I started my second business, The Rebel Geek, I was completely out of money. My first business was no longer, and I had to find my way to another source of income. If you read my story, you know that I kind of stumbled upon this business when attempting to to build a website for another idea of mine.
I couldn't afford to hire anyone, so I had to learn to do things on my own. I did enlist the help of others to do the things I absolutely couldn't figure out, but I ultimately had to get things done on my own. This is an option if you're up for the challenge. But many aren't interested.
As my business grew, I quickly realized that without the proper financial investment in qualified help, I was going nowhere.
When I first started contracting help, I was definitely trying to be cheap about it. For example, I needed a virtual assistant, but I didn't want to spend too much money to keep one on full time. So when I would find people, but limit their hours so much there was nothing in it for them to keep working for me. When seeking out other contractors, I would angle for the bare minimum thinking I could get the lowest price. I thought I was being super business savvy, but I was more likely just being insulting. I wasn't used to paying people the kind of money they were requesting for the work I wanted done. Why? Because I didn't know what I was doing.
But here's the deal, I needed to be producing on a certain level. Once I started getting bigger projects, I had to show up for my clients in a different way. Clients who pay me expect a professional-quality result. Something I can't always do things alone. I have to call on my team.
The only way I can get the best out of my team is to pay them what they need and deserve. I don't insult them by trying to haggle for a price reduction. If I can't afford them, that's one thing. But if I want to get the end result I'm looking for, it often means I need to make the financial investment necessary to get it.