Building and growing your business won’t happen overnight. It can take you anywhere from 5-15 years to get it to a point where you have any kind of freedom. It is so important to remember that this is a long game.
Especially in times like this.
In the midst of so much craziness and uncertainty, we have to return to our why. We have to remember why we got started in the first place. We have to remember our North Star.
The entrepreneurial journey is just that—a journey. It requires patience and fortitude. And a rock-solid foundation. Knowing why you began this journey and staying focused on what will take you to your goal.
Keeping your eye on that prize.
They say that the year that completely changes your life was 10 years in the making. Ten years of sacrifice and hard work lead to the year when it all comes to fruition when people start to take notice.
“How is this person accomplishing all of this?” they ask, in awe. “They’re killing it out of nowhere!”
“Out of nowhere?” you think to yourself. “I’ve been doing this hard work unnoticed for 10 years!”
As entrepreneurs, we need to move past needing validation from the outside world. We have to let go of the need for immediate gratification. You have to be willing to put in that hard work, sometimes for years, before you see it paying off.
Why do so many businesses fail? Because people give up. They want success now, and when they don’t get it, they quit. They can’t wrap their minds around the long game. Most people have such a short-range focus in life and business that they never cross that entrepreneurial bridge to freedom.
YES….Entrepreneurship is the ultimate bridge to life and financial freedom…but you can’t cross that bridge without resilience and a commitment to your long-term vision.
Each of us is unique. We each have different goals and visions for the future.
But each of us has to go through the same Five Phases to cross that bridge to freedom. There are no shortcuts, no easy ways through, no skipping of steps.
How long you spend in each phase depends on a lot of factors— your level of aggressiveness, your personal situation, your life experience. How long each phase takes you isn’t what’s most important. What’s most important is that you can’t skip a single phase.
Let’s walk through each of those five phases right now, taking you from your first day as a start-up to the day when your business runs itself without your help.
Phase 1: Grow.
This first phase is crucial. And it will exhaust you. If it doesn’t, you’re not working hard enough. When you start your business, it’s all about massive action, getting the wheels turning, cranking your impact up to a certain level. You have to fuel the tank to get the car to go, and it’s exhausting to create momentum.
The exhaustion is a necessity, but it won’t last forever. And it’s a lot of fun.
Phase 1 is where you step forward in the market, build an audience, create your brand, and acquire clients. You make a name for yourself, show up consistently, grow your fan base—people who will stick with you through every stage of your entrepreneurial journey.
This is where you show up in a powerful way. And you answer these questions: Who is my brand? What is the gap I’m filling in the world? What is the difference I’m here to make?
This is where you dream big and set goals and put a system in place where you create recurring revenue, so the baseline of your business is growing every single month.
Always look ahead to the long game. I remember the day I rolled out the podcast. It was 2015. I had a tiny folding desk and a baby business. I told a staff member: “In 15 years, we’ll be in the Top 10 for Marketing and Business podcasts.”
Five years—and more than 500 episodes—later, we’re so much closer to that goal. If you’re consistently doing the right thing over a period of many years, the compound effect will catapult you into a category of one.
When I set that goal, I was already committed to a 15-year journey. Are you?
But just being committed isn’t enough. You also have to be willing to fail. If you’re not willing to fail, you won’t make it to phases 2-5. You have to wrap your head around that.
Give yourself grace. Be patient with yourself. Understand that there are phases of learning, growth, and development. You WILL screw up. You WILL fail. You WILL experience setbacks.
Accept those mistakes and failures. They help you grow and learn.
Speaking of learning, even as you move on to the next four phases, you never really “move past” Phase 1. It never ends. And that’s a good thing! The day you sit back and stop growing and pushing yourself to learn more, you die inside.
Phase 2: Leverage.
The next phase is all about systems. Phase 2 is where you take the massive action from Phase 1 and systematize it. You’ll need to develop systems for billing, onboarding clients, orientation, an ascension model, referral marketing, and so much more.
The ultimate goal in this phase is to get your business running like a well-oiled machine.
This is where you make budgets and develop your people plan. This is where you figure out how to manage your staff and everything you’ve got going on. This is where you organize, streamline, and get everything functioning as smoothly as possible.
You transition from massive action into systems that can scale.
This phase might not be as physically exhausting as Phase 1, but you’ll probably be mentally exhausted by the end of it.
It will be worth it, I promise!
Phase 3: Multiply.
This phase is all about team, team, team. You can’t cross the bridge to entrepreneurial freedom without having a profit warrior team. You cannot have a wildly profitable business—and quality of life at the same time—without a winning team.
You literally cannot. You will burn out, break down. You won’t find happiness or fulfillment. You’ll be so damn exhausted you’ll tap out.
If you’ve been around for a while, you know all about the concept of a profit warrior team—a team of people who make your company money, not cost your company money.
This is where you’ll show true leadership—building an internal team, recruiting and managing and designing metrics, coaching and leading your staff through all these steps. It’s a whole new skill set. And it’s vitally important.
Your business will not reach Phase 5 without a profit warrior team. It just won’t.
Phase 4: Scale.
There are only three endpoints for any business: sell, pass it on, or close it down. You have to build with the end in mind. You need to know where you’re going. And you have to build a business that can ultimately run without you.
This phase is where you continue to build and grow, and your team learns how to keep building and growing on their own.
At each of these phases, you start over again, because you’re learning a completely new set of skills. You’re layering in new skills and strategies. And modeling them for your team.
With each new phase comes more freedom. There is very little freedom in that first phase. You don’t have the infrastructure yet. You’re doing the bulk of the work yourself.
But you’ll get there.
I look at my company’s success today, and I know it didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been busting it since 2012 to get to where we are now.
Once you’ve put in the work, built your team, given them all the tools they need, and have helped them learn and grow, you reach the other end of that bridge.
Phase 5: Self-led business.
Imagine waking up in the morning, 15 years from now, and your team runs your business for you. You’re no longer required in the day today. You built the business, you built your team, you poured in all the blood, sweat, and tears, and now?
Your company runs itself.
That is absolute and complete life and business freedom.
And that happens after you do the work….for years.
Not living in complete freedom yet?
You’re exactly where you need to be right now. You have to trust yourself and trust the process. Go back to your why, your North Star. Don’t sell yourself short. You won’t see the freedom for years. It’s a journey. There’s a reason most people don’t get there.
As long as you have the vision, and you’re committed, your dreams of living a life of freedom will happen. You’ll have plenty of time to love it, enjoy it, and live it to the fullest.
If you’d like to learn more about how to progress through the 5 Phases efficiently and successfully, book a consult call with one of our team members today!