The other week (or a while ago depending on when you read this blog) I went down to the shopping mall to buy a book.
I saw on Instagram that Jack Delosa was reading Principles by Ray Dalio, and I had one of those ‘I have to have it right now even though I could buy it online and save $15’ type moments.
When I walked past Flight Centre, I was pulled in for some reason, sort of on autopilot, I walked out an hour later with a trip for my daughter and I to Vietnam and Cambodia, departing in approx 20 hours. The Flight Centre dude said he had never had anyone reply with ‘tomorrow’ when he had asked them when they wanted to leave. I was able to do this because I run my own business.
Because of the freedom my own business has afforded me, I was able to book and go, when I wanted, where I wanted and how I wanted.
I didn’t have to ask the permission from a boss to take time off.
I am the boss.
I didn’t have to worry if any other colleagues had already put in holiday leave at the same time.
There are no colleagues.
I didn’t have to worry about my business being stopped in its tracks without me. Loss of income, loss of clients, loss of work. Not even a thought because I knew it would all keep on running as per usual.
The only person I had to consult was my husband, but to be honest I was going anyway (anyone else wear the pants in their marriage?)
This trip needed me, and I needed it.
The online world is the land of opportunity and where dreams come true, but it can also be furious and demanding, and at times it can throw you to the wolves. If you don’t learn how to come back leading the pack, you’re out.
After a massive 2017 I was tired and running on close to empty. Still happy and content but I have come to know that when my creativity is far and in-between, my motivation lingers a second longer than usual, my rebound rate starts to lag and my emotions require extra energy to stay on top of them it is time to down tools and activate a self-care plan.
It surprises me, that the majority of us continue to work in this exhausted state and I used to be one of them which queued PND on the sidelines until I was well and truly burned into the ground and then it cloaked me in darkness.
I should have taken on my Mums advice, a lot earlier, when I was about 16 my Mum looked at my super low cut top and said ‘Darling, less is more’
It is actually all kinds of true in business, as well as our teenage years.
There is a peak state that very successful business owners and top athletes put themselves into. It is commonly known as ‘the flow’ and when we are working within this state we compound our results in a faster and more efficient manner which means we get more done in a shorter amount of time.
Every day I am constantly checking in with myself, asking if I am in the flow? Sometimes, it needs to be manufactured. Sleep, exercise, mindset, meditation, rest, peace, music all activate it usually for me.
But you know, sometimes, life happens.
The kids are jerks, the husband is a bigger jerk, the things around us get demanding and stress and overwhelm kick in which flows into disrupted sleep and I don’t know about you, but after two years of tormenting sleep deprivation from my youngest, I am not the best person to be around when I am tired.
It’s a slippery slope and unfortunately working in this state, does not serve us well because it is a fact that when we are stressed out our IQ lowers by half.
So, my slope was getting slippery because I had stopped taking time out (the perils of loving what you do so much that you never actually want to stop working!) and at the same time I got thrown some massive outside of work issues to deal with. I was starting to feel all kinds of dumb from the stress lowering my IQ.
I knew that I had to restore and disconnect for a short while to refill thy cup in order to keep growing Business Jump as efficiently and as productively as possible.
Most people that run a service-based business dread taking holidays because it means everything stops when they do. Their own business is solely reliant on them running the ship and finding more work and if they stop finding more work, then, well the income stops coming in and the work stops getting done.
It’s known as being stuck in the feast or famine cycle.
While we are chatting about problems of traditional service-based businesses I am also going to state that they enable us to easily cap out quickly when trying to scale. Like a salary, there is a roof that limits how much we can earn, if we stay in this traditional format.
There are only so many hours in a day to do work and this comes down to the simple fact that we are selling our time for money and when we sell our time we are bound by the maximum number of work hours we can fit in a day.
So, how can you set your own business up to thrive without you, like Business Jump thrives without me?
While I was alway for 7 days, my own business generated over $15,000 of revenue from various income streams, our WIP continued to be completed and new leads continued to come in and be qualified.
In fact, it was like I wasn’t even gone. If I hadn’t of shared it on social media, no one would have been none the wiser.
The fact that I can opt-out of my business fairly easily, also helps when I need to realign and reconnect at home.
It gives me the breathing space to go and spend time with my family, or go down to the beach for the day.
This is what an online business should create for you, and whilst I am speaking specifically in regards to the service-based business model here, the same principles apply for all of the business models we help our clients jump into. This doesn’t mean you can start your own business and have that freedom straight away, it will kick in once you put the hard work into setting up your systems and foundations.
So, if you have some type of knowledge, skills or information and want further insights to my rewired service-based business model, I can share the behind the scenes mechanics of it if you’d like us to help you start your own online business too.
In the meantime, here are my best tips to ensure you set yourself up with a business that works for you, not you work for it.
Get Out of Being ‘In’ The Business:
From within the first few months of Business Jump I have constantly been absorbing myself from ‘being in the business’
To start with I did all the things. All of them.
I came up with new business ideas, I put them on the website, I advertised and promoted in Facebook groups and everywhere I could, I liaised with all of the enquiries and answered all of the questions, I designed the logos, created the websites, came up with the business names, registered all of the accounts and everything in between.
As I went, I started to move pieces of the puzzle over to team members.
At first, it was just one team member, now it is fifteen. With everything thing you do, constantly be asking yourself how can you not be doing this anymore? The key comes down to automating it, outsourcing it or creating a system for it.
I always position myself in the profit-producing areas that I am good at and like doing, and outsource the rest to my team.
Back in the day I would promote the ‘businesses for sale’ and our ‘custom packages’ in Facebook groups and liaise with a few third parties who would post on their websites for me, but it was time-consuming copying and pasting, hopping from group to group and being at the mercy of other people and when they ‘felt’ like posting for me.
I realised that I needed to have complete control over my leads and I needed to work out a way to attract them by the hundred’s at the same time it took me to attract one.
Enter Facebook Ads, spending lots of money and a good 3-4 months of learning the ropes.
You may shy away from trying Facebook Ads since I said ‘wasting loads of money’ but I consider it a down payment for the education and skills I have learned. They have since made back my ROI many, many, many times over. In fact, I have spent over $80,000 on Facebook Ads but ROI is more than ten times that so don’t be afraid to invest and then reinvest what you make from it back into the business.
Facebook Ads, once mastered are truly a game-changer that will take a service-based business out of the constant feast or famine cycle and generate a consistent flow of leads for your business once you nail it, you can reinvest that time it is saving you back into the business, or going on holidays, or whatever you like.
Traditionally once someone asks for more information about your service, you’d then reply via email and start the good old back and forth. Composing and replying to emails is time-consuming. Plus, let’s be honest, there are loads of tyre kickers, which is totally fine, but why not give them the information they are looking for before investing our time within the process?
So, I automated this part.
I have two landing pages that give all the details about working with us, here is the pre-made package one and here is the custom package one (currently being redesigned)
When someone opt-ins for more info they go into an email sequence which is an education, relationship building and qualifying process via several emails that get sent out. I also have videos, a Q&A page and loads of information on my website for my potential clients to consume before my time spent with them is activated.
These emails offer the invitation to book a time in my calendar so we can have a chat and get to know each other. It is only when a call is booked and I am calling the number that my time is then activated for the
selling serving process. And, it means I get to spend my time doing what I love most, chatting and connecting with like-minded mums who are looking to start an online business.
I also use email sequences for onboarding new clients to help educate them with everything they need to know about working with us, then it leads to another email sequence which goes into several emails of my best tips, resources and advice for my new clients and then it ends with a handover sequence to further educate and guide my clients.
Zapier is our best friend and connects a lot of the pieces of the puzzle together for us.
For example, once a deposit hits the account Zapier zaps Asana and automatically raises a new client project, it then zaps Freshbooks to raise a new invoice, it then creates a new client folder on our Google Drive and then sends emails out to alert the team and zaps Active Campaign to trigger the onboarding sequence.
A member of the team will then be assigned the client and will manage the rest of the job from there on in to ensure we are still giving that personal TLC touch and can amplify that in the areas that matter most.
Raise Your Sales Conversions
I say ‘sales’ but to be honest, I don’t really like to call it selling. I like to call it ‘serving’ and in order to do this I use lots of ‘touch points’ to give people the opportunity to get to know me before I jump on the phone with them.
This means that my emails, my posts on social media, my media interviews, podcasts and blogs actually do the ‘serving’ for me. They act as a resource for people to consume and get a feel for Business Jump and me. It means I get a lot of ‘I’ve been stalking you for a while’ type comments and I love hearing that, it means that my business is working for me, instead of me working for it.
As mentioned above, from very early on I started outsourcing to create more time for myself. If I can outsource something that takes me 5 hours, I have essentially created an extra 10 hours of productivity in my business. 5 hours of the outsourced time, and 5 hours of the new time I can use to work on other things, which of course, equals 10 hours of labour for Business Jump.
It has taken me about two years to have a very solid team that I am proud of and trust me when I say that a team can be the make or break of your business, learning how to lead a team has been one of my steepest learning curves.
It is a fine balance of finding people who care as much as you do (hard to do) and who can also be pro-active thinkers without sucking up all of your time and therefore defeating the purpose of outsourcing.
My team are now awesome at coming to me with solutions rather than problems and they will discuss and formulate a plan between themselves before coming to me. This means that I don’t get constantly fatigued or weighed down in the general mechanics of the business can I can stay up the front of the ship looking ahead and driving it.
You don’t have to pay per week or per month, negotiate to pay per project or for x number of hours. Team morale is also super important, skills can be learned but attitude generally can’t and I have let some people slide away because they were bringing the team down. Where you can, go above and beyond for your team, you want to create an environment where everyone is loyal and has your back. I know that my team are my eyes and ears when I am not around and in return I go above and beyond where I can for them too.
So, when I went away, all I needed to do was block out my calendar for the next week and take calls from the following week and put an auto-responder on my email. I scheduled some posts into Facebook using the scheduler that FB offers and used Postplanner to keep the posts in my Facebook Group, Remarkable Business Mums ticking over. About 30 minutes of time, to take a week off.