Reflecting on 4 Years of Business
Hey, hey Bold Leaders. Welcome to The Bold Leadership Revolution Podcast.
I’m your host Tara Newman and I have a passion for helping everyday humans perform in extraordinary ways. This is the place where we dish on everything from mental toughness to emotional wellbeing and what it takes to really perform your best at a high level. We are here to help you embrace your ambition and leave that grind behind.
As some of you may know, I’m a BIG believer in JOURNALING as a cornerstone habit for high performance leadership. It often times makes me unpopular with my clients but once we move them through their heaps of resistance they see the benefit too.
I use journaling as a tool for my success in so many different ways from my weekly CEO Debriefs to my abundance mindset work. One of the most common questions I get asked about journaling other than HOW is what do you do with your journaling. What do you do with what you have written?
Most of the time my answer is nothing. The act of journaling and processing my thoughts is enough. I do have a system for reviewing what I have written if I feel called. Heck, I don’t even save all my journals. I would have tomes!
While this ISN’T an episode on how to journal, I have a sweet 5 day free training, I’m sharing this because I recently found an old journal of mine dating back to November 2014 -- about 4 years ago.
The reason this time period is so remarkable is because it’s right when I started this business. I cracked it open and was astounded by my wisdom during such a confusing and frustrating time in my life.
You see, I had been blogging for two years, pouring my heart and soul into the content I was creating and OBSESSING over learning everything I could about driving traffic -- SEO, Pinterest, Comment threads, finding your tribe to help spread your message. It was exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. And guess what? I wasn’t making a dime. LOADS of time, effort and energy and my greatest joy came from a comment or a share or a like.
This wasn’t sustainable. However, enough people were engaging with my content for me to realize I had a BIG DESIRE to make an impact on this very big world we live in. Having an online home that people came to visit was so exciting as I met and built relationships with these people. It blew my mind that I could meet so many people who believed what I believed, wanted to hear my stories, and were interested in learning from me.
I remember voxering back and forth with a dear friend, NJ Rongner, about needing clarity and not knowing if I could continue to show up for free. I was feeling more burned out than ever before and was so unfulfilled working in a corporate environment.
I just didn’t know what to do next. Maybe you can relate. I hear this so often from leaders who have reached a certain level of success, realize it wasn’t what they thought it would be and wonder “OK, now what?”
Looking back, I can tell you what came next…
A lot of journaling to gain clarity to move me to action. Like the day I filled out my paperwork for my business certificate.
My journal entry from November 17, 2014. The week I filed my business paperwork.
To embrace entrepreneurship, I WILL:
Create from my heart
Detach from the outcome
Live mindfully everyday
As I embark on this journey, I WILL mentally recharge by:
Reading for fun
Focusing my awareness on self
Respectfully declining ALL invitations + requests for my energy where there isn't fair exchange.
Everything has changed and yet nothing has changed.
Today, I had breakfast with my dad -- he’s been an entrepreneur who has run a business for almost all the years of my life. Even though he retired and closed down his manufacturing facility, he is now spending his retirement working as a consultant.
After spending many years resisting his advice like any good teenager would do, I consider him a mentor.
During breakfast my dad was reflecting on how far I have come. He remembers me making my first sales while we were on vacation together in Vermont during the Christmas holidays in 2014. He literally watched me launch my business.
It’s really amazing to look back and see what was nothing is now something. And not only is it something, it’s been growing at a crazy pace year over year. It provides consistent income for my family and allows me to continually improve.
Honestly, I could have never envisioned this that day in November of 2014 and I’m a woman who considers holding vision a STRENGTH.
I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the last four years so you can see the things I was focused on during different growth cycles in my business.
Last few months of 2014:
Focus was setting up my business, opening bank accounts, and market research. The place I see business owners fail is not doing market research. They run with every idea not knowing which will stick or which will work.
At the time, my market research was done in a few ways and was probably the most critical thing that I did during this time in my business. It really validated some ideas.
Use social media more for listening + starting personal conversations than anything else.
What were people saying in the comment section of my blog.
Invited people from my insanely small (still is) email list to have a call with me.
Outcome: The creation of my first program that I was able to fill + from sharing with people what I was up to, I received one 1:1 client.
By January, I had made more money that month than in my bonus check. But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses from there. By the time I launched my second program, only two people signed up and one asked for a refund, The lesson here was that more market research was needed. Right program but I didn’t understand WHO I helped.
Fun fact: in December 2014, I had my first 1:1 client and I got paid $10 per hour. WIth a masters degree and almost 2 decades worth of coaching and leadership dev experience, I made less than a babysitter. We will chalk this up to me having NO idea what my value was or who I was suppose to help.
2015 -- was about leaving my corporate job which I did in August of 2015. Almost a year after I started the business. My big goal for 2015 was to run my business at breakeven or a loss. I took every dollar I earned and re-invested it into ME.
In the early days, I needed information and I needed it fast. The fastest way to do that was to hire coaches. LOTS of coaches. I didn’t expect one coach to have all the answers. And I certainly didn’t have time to take a course + learn it myself. This included a life coach to help me express myself more freely.
Important to note: the other investment I made right out of the gates was a VA. On minimal hours but I knew I couldn’t do it all. Especially if I was working full time.
SO, coaching, conversations, carefully curated content curation, + a VA in year ONE.
Biggest win: I went from charging $10 per hour to $7,500 for a 4 month coaching package. I didn’t make the leap all at once, I gradually and incrementally increased with each sale until I understood my value, had proven results, and the mindset required to raise my rates.
This year was pretty much fueled by newbie naivete (and I really try to recapture that on a regular basis in my business)
2016 -- my first full year in business. My first year solely responsible for my own paycheck. Let’s talk about where my focus went in 2016.
When I left corporate, I wasn’t making enough money to replace my income. I had a six figure plus corporate income with all the benefits and I was BURNED out, almost 40 with two kids and a spouse. Making six figures in my business while making six figures in corporate didn’t seem feasible.
So, for the first time in my working life, I was not able to support myself and my family financially.
I purposefully chose to take very little in CEO Pay so I could continue to double down on my investments. Key investments included a mastermind because by this point entrepreneurial loneliness was kicking in, 1:1 coaching,
My #1 priority for my business is that it MUST be in service to my health so I hired a health coaching because I was burned out and not taking care of myself.
And participating in things that pushed me way the heck outside my comfort zone like going on the retreat with my mastermind. We went to Maui and it was the first time I was on a place in 14 years!!! And the first time I traveled by myself without my family, EVER. I can’t even begin to tell you the anxiety.
During this time, I also had very part time admin help. I would hire tech help as needed. AND I started working with a digital marketing strategist to talk through my vision for how I wanted to present my business on social media. Y’all, this was hard for me.
I also bartered for some work in other areas of my business like my website. I don’t recommend bartering but if you have clear conditions and the right energy, it can work in small doses. Personally, I don’t feel like it respects the value another person brings to the table. But you do what you can do in the beginning.
A key decision in 2016 was to focus solely on mastering selling and delivering 1:1 work. My programs evolved, I evolved, the type of client I was working with evolved. By the end of 2016, I signed my first 5 figure consulting contract with a multi-million business.
My greatest strategy for growth this year was move ONE big rock every day -- connect with people, meet new people, encourage REAL RELATIONSHIPS, ask for referrals, let people know when I had openings in my schedule and keep my MINDSET FOCUSED ON WHAT I WANTED TO CREATE.
This was the year of RESISTANCE
This was just last year. Why does it feel so damn long ago!!
Key decisions in 2017 were:
Give myself a raise
Put a system in place for my finances + hire an accountant/bookkeeper
CONTINUE to invest in coaching and masterminds. I’ve only bought 3 courses in my entire lifetime in my business and I’ve regretted every one. Not because the content was bad but because that’s not how I learn and develop best so they become a distraction and a waste of resource.
Go local. And doing more in person or local connecting is what I attribute to HUGE growth this year. Like I attribute it to doubling my business.
Start including group calls with my 1:1 clients into the work I’m doing
Get over myself and start a podcast
Half way through 2017 and I woke up to a MUCH larger vision. My burnout was gone, my health felt like it was in check, I started back to the gym, I was making money that allowed me to support my family better.
It wasn’t until I had MY personal foundation stabilized that I could really set my eyes on something way bigger than me. That’s when I decided to put my MISSION over MONEY. I intuitively knew that if I focused on the greater good that I was here to do, then everything would work itself out. And with this, whatever last slivers of deep resistance fell away. Everything became easy. Everything was evolving.
Which leads us to 2018 where things are still emerging…
This year hasn’t turned out at all like I planned and I love that. I believe we need to leave room for our goals and vision to expand.
Gave myself a big raise, got my financial house in even more order.
Continue to invest a LOT into my own coaching and mastermind participation.
Signing some much larger contracts with mid size companies which allows me to take what companies are doing at a $20M-$70 M range and help entrepreneurs who are scaling through 6 figures and into 7 figures.
’ve hosted live events which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE so much.
I’ve deliberately taken less 1:1 clients, I haven’t increased my rates. And I’m up 60% over last year.
Tested a few things out like a FB Live show and then choose to double down on this podcast.
I’ve gone all in over on Instagram
I’ve built out my team
So far, this year can be summed up with “just when I thought the growth my slow down or stop, it speeds up.
In the last 4 years, my biggest win hasn’t been the revenue generated, the profit, or even the amount of money I’ve donated to charity. Those things are all so awesome.
But creating The BRAVE Society this year, takes the cake.
It’s truly the culmination of the last four years, it’s the end of a lot of things like old ways of working and coaching and the beginning of something so much better.
I’m fully stepping into my strength when it comes to bringing leaders together to support each other. It’s also me standing in some bold truths around what I truly thing we need for our development and growth. Too many times I see leaders strapped to invest in themselves. What do they invest in first? Course, website, sales coaching, marketing, branding, etc.
The BRAVE Society is a place for leaders to invest in THEMSELVES and still have money left to invest in whatever else they think will be their best strategy for growth.
The BRAVE Society is A virtual society for business owners like you who want to connect with bold, resilient, abundant, value-driven and endurable leaders.
It’s filled with business owners across a variety of industries who knows that the person who helps the most people wins.
We are here for three reasons:
To build meaningful relationships with an army of people who have real, credible, and valuable business acumen. This isn’t tit for tat networking where it’s a referral pitch fest.
To help you continually develop yourself as a leaders through high quality educational resources to help us become better CEO’s
To become leaders who develop more leaders in the world -- your family, friends, community, team.
The BRAVE Society is a place where you can plug into the relationships you need to hire the most qualified people, find meaningful collaborations, and offer your services to those who would benefit the most.
The BRAVE Society hosts
Quarterly Book Clubs
Robust Panel Discussions on relevant topics to help you grow yourself and your business.
Bi Weekly CEO Debriefs where I take you behind the scenes in my life + business where you can see what’s working, what’s not working, key decisions I’m making.
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Be sure to tune into our next episode to help you embrace your ambition and leave the grind behind.
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