Still wearing your pajamas, huh?
Look, I shave my face and wear a collared shirt. But I prefer to wear athletic pants, so people say I’m still in my pajamas. Fine. That’s one of the benefits of working from home. And yes, there are many other benefits. Let’s talk about the challenges as you pursue the lifestyle of Professional Independence.
1 – The ongoing search for consistent revenue streams.
That’s the responsibility of every business owner. No matter what size of business you run, the owner is always responsible for bringing in sales. As you’re making your transformation from employee to independent, this needs to be your primary consideration.
See, in the job world there are there are two types of employees - salespeople and operations people. For salespeople it comes naturally to pursue customers. In fact, they often face a separate challenge - delivering what they just sold. But for ops people the sales part is a huge hurdle. Unfortunately, no business exists without customers and no customers exist without sales.
The solution to this challenge is to view sales as part of the operations. It’s all a system to generate leads and convert those leads into customers. It starts with social media and your communications platform. This doesn’t mean you need to be a great entertainer. In fact, your customer base might love your unique approach. Just be yourself and communicate your message on a consistent basis. Help them solve their problems and develop trust. Next, you’ll need to direct them to your website and landing page.
It's all about brand, image, lead generation and the sales funnel. If you’re able to view this as an operation system, then your new life as a revenue generator becomes much more comfortable.
2 – Kicking ass and taking names is the number two challenge.
What does that mean? Well, a business has two core systems. Sales and Operations. Doing a good job with operations is essential to your reputation and customer satisfaction. Ideally this leads to future jobs and more loyal customers. Therefore, a business owner must make sure their operations kick ass even though their main job is to generate sales.
So, what’s this part about taking names? Well, you’ve heard the saying to ‘kick ass and take names.’ But have you ever wondered about the “taking names” part? This is when a fighter is making a list of the future opponents who will be defeated. Just think of a fighter standing up after winning and saying, “who’s next?”
From a business owners’ perspective, kicking ass means delivering on your promises. To take names means you’re also generating new leads and finding new customers. Business owners simply must kick ass and take names.
Doing this can become a challenge if you’re a company of one. The answer, you need to split your time and set realistic expectations. Since the number one job of a business owner is to generate sales you need to block out time for sales every day. The rest of your time should be spent delivering on the promises to your customers.
This means you should keep a daily calendar and block out spots where you can do business development. For me, I like to take that on first thing every morning. Then I keep a schedule for what I’m going to do the rest of the day. I never allow kicking ass to fill the time I’ve allocated for taking names. To be successful you must kick ass and take names.
3 – Knowing your money is the third battle and that’s no surprise to anyone who knows me.
I believe it’s all about money, mindset and energy. We already discussed mindset in battle 1. We discussed energy in battle number 2. Now we’re addressing the money. What do I mean when I say, ‘know your money?’
One time I asked a fellow business owner how much they had in the bank.
They replied, “about $100,000.”
I said, “how much of that is yours?”
To which they replied, “all of it.”
I said, “oh ok. So, you’ve paid your rent, taxes, payroll, vendors, etc?”
“Well no,” they said.
So, we went through the exercise of figuring out how much was needed for operations, taxes, and the emergency fund. In the end, the business owner had about $5,000 that was theirs to keep. When I say, “know your money,” I mean you need a system to keep your money on autopilot. You can’t get in trouble with taxes, you need to pay your bills, you need to pay yourself, and you’d like to have something left over for random expenses and investing.
What I recommend is downloading the Money spreadsheet and follow these steps.
- Identify how much you need to operate the business each month.
- Identify how much you need to pay your bills at home each month.
- Talk to your tax professional about what % you should expect to set aside in taxes each month. Then set that amount aside in a separate account.
This sum of a, b and c is your base goal in sales for each month. This means you can pay yourself, your business, and the government – all required.
Everything else needs to be split like this:
- Fund a savings account for slow time periods. I like to fund three times the sum of a and b. This means your house and business will still operate for three months if you fall flat on your face.
- Fund a Growth account with everything else. What’s growth? Well, that’s personal, professional, health, etc. That means you can do more vacations, dine-out, market, invest, entertain, or whatever the heck you want/need. Why not? Your bills are paid, your business is paid, your taxes are paid.
This is Your Money.
Note, until steps a, b, and c are covered you need to focus on Kicking Ass and Taking Names. There’s no need to manage the money you’re not making.