Last year, I realised that my health was not where I wanted it to be. With a spinal disease, a rapidly growing business, and two energetic kids, wellness had taken a back seat and I was suffering the consequences. I felt fatigued, heavier than I wanted to be, and my back was giving me grief… all of which were making me feel, shall we say, ‘less than awesome’.
So I did the best thing I could do: I renewed my commitment to exercise, to eating nutritious food, and to giving myself enough rest and recovery time…
… And it felt great.
But then, after a whole week of eating like an angel and exercising like a demon, I promptly proceeded to do the worst thing I could do: I got majorly discouraged that I hadn’t seen results yet and contemplated giving up altogether.
Yep, after one week.
‘What the hell?! Why can’t I fit into my slinky new dress yet? It’s not working! What’s wrong with me? Why even bother?!’
Writing it out like this, it’s OBVIOUS that it’s absurd – of course you can’t expect to overhaul your health and fitness in one week, that’s crazy-talk!
But us cray-cray humans do it all the time: we expect the ‘miraculous transformation’ – whether of our health, our finances, our relationships, our business – then get completely disillusioned when it doesn’t happen overnight.
Luckily, I overcame that destructive mental reflex: I cut myself some slack, got back in tune with my greater vision, celebrated my small successes, and kept on marching forwards. (And it’s continued through to the present – my daily beach walks are now one of the highlights of my day!)
During that pivotal time – where I had moments of wanting to give up – I was also lucky enough to stumble across a nugget of wisdom in a women’s magazine. You know when you come across the perfect piece of advice at the exact right time? Yeah. This was one of those situations. The lightning-bolt of insight – which seriously helped me maintain my motivation – was this:
‘Where you are today is a product of
what you were doing 90 days ago.
What you do today determines
where you’ll be in 90 days’ time.’
This was of great comfort to me when I first read it.
It was okay that things weren’t transforming right before my eyes. I was simply laying the foundations for where I’d be in 90 day’s time… Which was a very effective mindset shift to stave off the 3 p.m. chocolate biscuit cravings, let me tell you!
And it meant that if I simply kept on taking the right actions, in the end, I’d get to where I wanted to be.
Though I read this quote in a wellness context, I quickly realised that it has massive implications in the world of business as well.
Where you are today in your business is also a product of what you were doing 90 days ago.
Think back for a minute…
Three months ago, were you:
If you’re currently feeling overwhelmed, unfulfilled, and unrewarded in your business, it’s likely that 90 days ago, you weren’t engaging in the high-impact activities (like the ones in the left-hand column) that are necessary to move the needle forward in your business, and were spending a bit too much time in the right-hand column.
Now for the all-important crystal-ball exercise…
Did you know that you can predict your own business future with remarkable accuracy?
It’s simple, and scarily precise – and you don’t even need a sage stick, oracle cards or a fortune cookie.
All you have to do is apply this principle in reverse: i.e., look closely at what you are doing TODAY to know what your business is going to look like in 90 days’ time:
Get the worksheet that accompanies this blog post.
It’s profound, it’s practical… and it might just change the future of your business.
Changing your business future always starts in the now.If you’ve got a few too many ticks in the right-hand column, it’s time to look seriously at what you’re doing today to make sure it’s getting you to where you want to be.
And just like losing weight or getting fit, you won’t see results immediately…
But just like those exact activities, if you take the right actions consistently, you WILL get to where you want to be.
So if you’ve always dreamed of having a business like Marie Forleo’s or Denise Duffield-Thomas or some other amazing online maven, know that it IS possible, but it takes you committing to small actions right now to get you there.
And how do you know which actions those are?
Well, the four categories in the table above provide an excellent framework to start improving your results and shifting your business in the right direction.
Let’s dive further into each one…
>> HIGH IMPACT ACTIVITIES
I love this quote from writer Annie Dillard:
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
Isn’t it beautiful?!
This concept applies just as much for your business, too: How you spend your days is how you create your business.
What activities qualify as ‘low impact’ will depend on your particular business, but for the average online entrepreneur, it includes things like managing your inbox, answering emails, maintaining your website, trawling social media, reading books (without taking action), filing papers, and hanging around in Facebook groups.
High impact activities may include things like content creation, networking with influencers, creating IP, developing products, launching, strategizing, and big picture thinking.
- What low impact activities can you limit, delegate, or outsource right now?
- What activities have the highest impact in your business?
- How can you make more time for these high impact activities in your daily or weekly schedule?
>> MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS
As the famous business saying goes, ‘What gets measured gets managed’.
Basically, if you’re not actively tracking the metrics that are meaningful for your business, it’s impossible to know if the activities you’re engaging in are actually working.
Of course, it’s also easy to go wrong with metrics. Some people obsessively track and improve things that don’t actually impact their business that much (for example, deliberately seeking more Twitter or Facebook followers, when the majority of their traffic comes from Instagram). And some people become so consumed by tracking their progress that they devote excessive time and emotional energy to it (for example, checking your PayPal stats 25 times an hour during a product launch… It’s a slippery slope, peeps – don’t do it!)
There’s a middle ground between these extremes, which allows you to figure out what’s working and what’s not, without going crazy. For me, that means tracking the number of: website views, email subscribers, sales, and Facebook subscribers. I also like to track how many blog posts, newsletters and Facebook posts I’m publishing each month.
Also, you don’t need to go all fancy-pants high-tech to follow this stuff. My team and I simply gather the relevant data (from Google Analytics, my email provider, Facebook etc.) and enter it into a simple spread sheet.
- What 4-6 metrics are most meaningful for your business?
- What system can you use to track them? (Don’t get too fancy!)
- When can you schedule in time each day/week/month to gather your data and reflect on it?
>> CREATING ASSETS FOR YOUR BUSINESS THAT CAN BE LEVERAGED
Basically, it comes down to this: if you want to create a sustainable, scalable business that rewards you financially without burning you out, you need to create ways to leverage your time and energy.
There are hundreds of different ways to do this. Common options for online businesses include selling books, digital products, membership sites, paid communities, group classes, and – of course – e-Courses.
E-Courses are my favourite option for a number of reasons:
- You can create your e-Course in a relatively short amount of time (compared to say, writing a good quality book, which can take years)
- You can charge premium prices (a lot more than subscription sites, books, or products)
- You don’t have to have a big audience to make great money (You only need to sell 10 enrolments in a $400 course to make $4k. You’d have to sell 400 x $10 eBooks to make the same amount… That’s a whole lot more people to convert.)
- You can capitalise on the skills and expertise you already have. (Meaning, you can work squarely in – and monetise – your zone of genius.)
- They provide incredible ROI and ROE – Return On Investment and Return On Effort. (Every hour and dollar you put in now has the potential to pay off exponentially in just a few short months.)
- Once the course is created and developed, you’ve got an asset for your business that will last for life. (Of course, updates are required, but you’ll be able to focus the majority of your time on launching and audience building – two areas where tiny improvements can yield big results.)
- List 3 assets you could create to leverage your time and energy.
- Which one excites you most? Which one has the most potential?
- What is one action you can take TODAY that will help you start creating your business asset?
Read more: What makes a good e-Course idea
>> ACTIVELY CREATING THE BUSINESS YOU WANT
Ever heard the fable about the fly stuck inside a house? Through the window, it can see the garden, which is exactly where he wants to be. So he keeps madly buzzing against the glass – pushing up against it, butting his head, trying again and again to get through. Of course, if he could only step back for a minute to look at the big picture, he’d see that just 2 metres to his left, the door is actually open: There’s a direct path to where he wants to get to, but he’s too preoccupied with his current efforts to even notice there’s a better way.
I see a lot of burnt out business owners who are like the trapped fly. They’re so busy trying to get to where they want to be, that they don’t realise that if they just stepped back for a minute and got strategic, there’s a much easier way.
For example, I see a lot of service providers who are working their butts off with their clients in order to bring in enough money. Yet they’re putting the longevity of their business (not to mention their own health) in jeopardy by constantly appeasing their clients and spending their time putting out fires.
Actively creating the business you want means having the courage to step back from the day-to-day, look at the big picture, and then adjust your course accordingly.
Sometimes, it might even mean taking what feels like a temporary step backwards, in order to go forwards. For example, investing in a system that will eventually help you earn more money, or reducing your client workload (and therefore, temporarily, your income) while you write the training program you’ve been longing to create.
- Where do you want to be in your business?
- What income streams do you want to have?
- How many hours do you want to work?
- How do you want to feel in your business?
- What values are most important to you?
- Where are you being the fly – where are you holding yourself back from achieving your big vision?
- What actions can you take THIS WEEK to move your business towards where you want it to be?
Fill in the form below to get the worksheet that accompanies this blog post.
It’s profound, it’s practical… and it might just change the future of your business.
And there you have it – a crystal ball for your business, and a framework for creating change.
I hope you’ve found this really valuable – I wanted to create an epic post (and matching worksheet) that would not only inspire and reinvigorate you in your business, but that would actually give you practical steps for taking action. (‘Cos let’s face it – it’s only by taking action that we can actually create change.)
If one of your big aha’s has been that you really need to leverage your time and energy (and set up a reliable passive income stream) through an e-Course, my signature training program, the e-Course Launch Formula, is currently taking enrolments.