How is business?
How are you doing within your business?
Are you happy?
Do you ever feel tired?
Do you sometimes feel lost about who to hire – or dare I say the word, fire?
Do you often feel overwhelmed with the amount of people and tasks practically screaming for your exclusive attention?
Do you ever crawl into bed, well after your family has dozed off, and wonder if this entrepreneur thing is really worth it?
Maybe the 9-5 was better…
Because at least you had time for your family then.
If you’re nodding, then this article is for you – the overwhelmed and oft-under-appreciated entrepreneur. These are the lessons I learned in 2018 about entrepreneurship, leadership, and growing a business by 450% in a single year.
At the beginning of 2018, Call Porter was bringing on between 5-8 new clients per month – mostly from word-of-mouth type referrals.
Now, we bring on between 25-30 new clients every single month.
And this article is about what I learned along that journey.
I hope these lessons help you build a business you can be proud of.
Lesson #1: Schedule time to not work
You won’t believe me…
But you can die from working too much.
This Japanese woman, for instance, died from a congestive heart failure after pulling 150 hours of overtime in a single month.
(Japan even has a word for dying from overworking yourself –– Karoshi)
And while you could drop dead after your next all-nighter, the more likely result is consistent and prolonged health issues over the years to come.
Here are a few of the very real health problems that correlate with working too many hours.
- Increased anxiety (bad for heart)
- Increased stress (bad for heart)
- Compromised immune system (natural result when stress increases)
And those are just a few of the obvious ones – that’s not to mention the damage that working too much does to your family- and friend-time. Or the lack of sleep you’re probably getting.
Point is, overworking yourself is not in your best interest.
But, you’re wondering, how am I going to grow my business and get everything done that needs to get done without overworking myself?
I wondered the exact same thing at the beginning of 2018 when I was working 18 hour days, pretty much hating my life.
(I wrote more about why the “hustle” sucks over here)
But the truth is, only 1-3% of the population can sleep between 5 and 6 hours per night without a drop in performance (you’re probably not the exception). And, generally speaking, people who work 70 hours per week don’t accomplish any more than people who work 56 hours per week.
Which is why, after some careful thought, I decided to slow down. I couldn’t take it anymore. It was time to make a change.
So I scheduled every Friday as an off-day for myself.
Instead of working, I spent Fridays helping my wife around the house and playing with my two girls – finding my joy for life again.
Then, with renewed passion for life, I went on 5 vacations in 2018.
All the while, Call Porter thrived and grew by 450%.
And I was working less than I ever had before.
Why did Call Porter thrive when I was slowing down?
Because when I did work, I’d do so with renewed energy and passion. I’d treat my team the way they deserved to be treated. I was a better boss. A better leader. A better colleague.
Plus, scheduling down-time forced me to create automated systems and processes that would allow the business to run itself while I was gone.
Down-time might do the same for you and your business.
But it won’t happen unless you intentionally schedule it.
(Find out how Call Porter can help you automate your inbound lead management and follow-up by scheduling a free demo over here)
Lesson #2: If you made a bad hire, have the guts to let them go
No one wants to talk about it.
To many, it’s a dirty word – a mean word, even.
But in 2018, I realized just how important it is for your business’ growth to have the guts to let people go who aren’t a good fit.
For 8 months of 2018, we had someone in the wrong position. Sure – our company still grew, but this person created many unnecessary headaches, stresses, and growing pains that our business and our other employees shouldn’t have had to go through.
Eventually I replaced them with someone else – a real “A” player. And it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my business – to replace them with someone who actually benefited our business.
The thing is, you’re going to make mistakes when you hire some people – there’s simply no way to know whether someone is a good fit for your business until you start working with them.
And while there’s something to be said for second and even third chances, you might want to ease off of the fourthsies and fifthsies.
The book “Who” by Geoff Smart was a massive help for me in this regard.
Lesson #3: Find and pay for a coach
Wondering how I learned the first two points of this article?
While I’d love to claim that it was my own introspective genius, it wasn’t…
In fact, the two above lessons I learned and changes I made to Call Porter in 2018 happened for one reason and one reason only – because I hired a business coach with an unbiased opinion of my business who could help point me in the right direction.
You need a business coach, someone who you can bounce ideas off of, someone you can trust, someone with an outside perspective of your business.
This is one of the primary reasons that Call Porter grew by 450% in 2018. And it’s the reason that we’re comfortable paying $90,000 per year in coaching fees.
If you’re going to grow your business, then you need someone who’s been-there-done-that to teach you how to do it, too.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes that illustrates my point perfectly.
What lessons will you learn?
As your business grows, you’re going to learn lots of things about yourself – the good, the bad, and the terrible.
You’re going to know your own weaknesses inside and out.
But the more that you embrace those weaknesses, the more that you work within the realistic bound of your abilities, the more that you schedule down-time for yourself, learn to hire and fire diligently, and accept coaching from people who’ve been-there-done-that, the better person you’ll become…
…and the bigger business you’ll build.