A few days ago I had a massive planning day for my business in 2017. It was a really fun day involving lots of brainstorming, butchers paper, coloured Post-Its and Sharpies galore. Reflecting on the day afterwards and everything we have planned for the year ahead, I realised how far my humble corner of the web has come from my first year blogging and wondering if this thing could become a legitimate business.
It got me thinking about the things I did that have had the biggest impact on my business so far – the actions that had the most return on investment.
I reckon if I’d focused more on just these actions (they’re all so simple, I’m going to call them ‘hacks’!), I’d be even closer to my business dreams now.
That’s why today I’m sharing 7 business growth hacks I wish I’d focused on exclusively when I was starting out. My hope is that you’ll be able to take advantage of the lessons I’ve learnt, easily apply these in your own business now, and that your business takes off as a result.
Let’s dig in!
Hack #1: Be really, really consistent
Daily success habits, hosting discovery sessions, emailing your newsletter subscribers, nurturing your community, publishing content: when it comes down to it, you already know what will help grow your business. Commit to making those things happen consistently.
(For example, sticking to a consistent blogging schedule has been one of the most powerful factors helping me build an audience and attract clients.)
Of course, on paper, consistency is simple. It seems like the easiest thing in the world. In reality, when it comes to actually doing anything consistently, most of us will have to battle resistance. Bringing consistency to life is about discipline, vigilance, the self-belief to keep going and having faith that it will pay off.
I know this doesn’t sound like much of a hack BUT I’ve found that when you’re consistent where it counts, a whole lot of other stuff becomes easier or completely unnecessary.
You may need to get creative to make it happen, but seriously, this year, do whatever you need to do to make it easier for you to be consistent with your business must-dos.
Hack #2: Plan in 90-day chunks
I once heard a great analogy for this that I’m going to use here. For the life of me, I can’t remember where it came from (sorry about that, and if it came from you, email me and I’ll update this post).
Imagine you’re learning to walk on a tightrope. Pretty tricky stuff! To begin with, you’re barely able to lift your foot off the rope. Perhaps you shuffle forward at a snail pace, watching your feet the entire time. Over time your skills improve, and you’re able to take baby steps and look a few feet ahead of you on the rope. And when you get really confident, you’re able to look up in the direction you’re heading as you walk along the rope.
I’ve learnt the same is true when it comes to business planning. To begin with, there’s no point planning out your whole year. How the hell are you meant to keep your gaze way out on the horizon when you’re still just figuring out this whole being-in-business gig?
In my experience, planning out my whole year in detail was a massive waste of time – futile, in fact. Especially when you’re first starting out, things can change quickly (agility and flexibility are your strengths!). Forget worrying about planning out your Black Friday sale right now. Instead, put all your effort and energy into setting and then smashing the targets you have for your business in the next 90 days. It saves buckets of time and feels urgent enough to keep you motivated to take action.
Hack #3: Focus on the right daily habits
On reflection, I see that so much of what held me back when I was first starting out was how damn overwhelming projects or strategies I wanted to implement seemed to be.
For example, writing my first sales page, building out my first sales funnel, investing tens of thousands of dollars into my first big launch – these all felt so bloody big and intimidating. I spend lots of time dancing with fear (read: procrastinating and watching Friends) because: What if I made a mistake? What if there was no return on my investment? What if people laughed at me? You get the picture…
I’ve since realised that the antidote to my overwhelm/epic procrastination/ terror is simply rocking the right bite-sized habits every day.
You see, habits are far less intimidating. Habits are a daily practice, so if I stuff one up, it’s ok – I’ll have another chance tomorrow. A daily habit might take 15 minutes and no financial outlay at all. Most of all, a daily habit is simple, practical, and easily achievable – which means I’m way more likely to act on it every day without needing to climb a mountain of resistance.
And all those reasons mean that focusing on high-impact habits daily, rather than big projects – will help you build momentum more quickly in your business.
Hack #4: Have just one offer
I promise it’s easier to become known for just one thing than it is 10 different things. Having a single offer saves time, effort, angst, investment, and – if you’re anything like me – it means it’s much harder to hide away planning, which can often be a cover for procrastination, self-sabotaging through unnecessary delays and keeping you away from the real work of attracting, winning and helping clients.
BTW your first signature offer doesn’t need to solve world hunger. Something that helps the people you most want to work with, uses your strengths, that feels fun, and is likely to be an easy yes for potential clients is perfect. Just don’t sell yourself short by only offering hourly sessions. Be sure to package your services. See this post for more.
Hack #5: Set up a mastermind
Masterminding with a crew that gets you and understands what you’re going through is priceless.
Take it from me: Alone you’ll only ever have your ideas, your perspective and your past experiences to guide you. And as a result, you’ll progress much more slowly in your business than you could. In a mastermind with other women, you’ll immediately expand your thinking/ problem-solving firepower/ experiences/ accountability and action taking.
Practically speaking, your mastermind crew can provide a slew of partnership opportunities and resource sharing. But seriously, the mindset stuff and informal insights/ideas alone can hack your success.
Plus this whole being-in-business gig is a whole lot more fun when you get to do it with friends cheering you on when you win that dream client, hit your subscriber goal, or have a shitty day.
Hack #6: Work with a coach sooner
Want to grow your business quickly? Get expert help.
The other day I was reviewing my newsletter subscriber numbers. You see, back when I was just starting to grow my list I tracked the cumulative number of sign-ups each week. They looked something like:
Week A :: 172
Week B :: 189
Week C :: 204
Week D :: 643
That jump, where my subscriber list tripled in one week? Happened because I applied my then coach’s recommendation.
There will be a time, very soon, in your business journey when you decide to go your own way… BUT when you’re starting out the fastest way to surge ahead is to work with a coach that specialises in whatever your desired business model is and implement their advice quickly.
Hack #7: Commit to being visible
The more you get in front of your ideal clients, the more quickly your business will grow. I’m not talking about being salesy. I’m just talking about being visible.
I know from personal experience there are many reasons why the idea of putting yourself out there can feel awkward, scary even (for example, I’m still becoming an expert/ I don’t know what to say/ why would people listen to me/ I’m not happy with how I look etc). But honestly, all those excuses are malarky and just self-limited beliefs designed to keep you small.
The truth is you are pretty damn awesome just as you are; your right people can’t wait to hear from you; sharing from the position of your personal experience is wildly valuable for your audience; and you have just as much right as anyone to share your opinions when they come from a place of love and desire to be of service.
Want more on this? Check out this post I wrote about how to put yourself out there.
Thanks for reading! Prioritise these 7 hacks in your own business and I bet you’ll see it take off sooner!