In 2015 I made a lot of changes to the way I run my agency. I dumped services that were draining my time and not helping me grow, I shifted my focused towards inbound and data driven online marketing and I completely shifted the way I think about website design. By refocusing, tracking and making decisions based not just on intuition, but also backed by data, my agency increased its revenue by more that 100%. We are leaner, more focused and I am enjoying my work more than ever before. But none of this would have been possible without one thing. Making a decision to change and then backing it up with action.
At this time last year, I was full of anxiety and fearful about what to do. I recently stepped away from a position that had a guaranteed income and I was left with a big decision to make. I could take may “side project business” seriously or get another job. While flirting briefly with a “real job” opportunity, I decided the best move was to go all in on building my agency. I was terrified and excited all at the same.
“Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision.” – Tony Robbins
Let’s be honest, change is hard. It forces us to look at what we are doing honestly, admit where we are wrong (maybe the hardest part) and then shift our focus in a whole new direction. But, as the quote above indicates, real change, lasting change, takes commitment. We have to go all in or else we inevitably revert back to our old process and habits.
If you want to see change in your business (or life for that matter) this year, you can’t keep doing the same thing you’ve always done. To quote Tony Robbins again; “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
This could be your best year yet, but it’s up to you. No one else can force change on you. You have to decide. Below are 3, simple, yet very important questions to think about when it comes to changing your current course and working towards creating and the building the business (and life) you’ve always dreamed of.
Notice the emphasis on YOU. It’s your life and your business. What do you want to get out of it? What does the change you want it to look like? When asking yourself this question it’s important not to compare yourself to others. Answers like “We want to be the like_____” (fill in the blank) will only lead you into frustration or worse kill your business. To put it more poetically, “Envy is ignorance, Imitation is Suicide.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
This doesn’t mean we shouldn't learn from those ahead of us or get inspiration from those we look up to. We just can’t strive to be them. You are unique. There is no other person like you and the gifts and talents you have to bring to the table are valuable. When figuring out what changes you need to make in your business, make it personal. Why should your business change? How will that impact you personally? How will that impact your team members personally? Change is personal and in a period of seeking a new direction, you have to be confident with you.
“I think the most productive thing to do during times of change is to be your best self, not the best version of someone else.” - Seth Godin
Just deciding to change isn’t enough. Without action, it’s just a dream. After determining the change you want to see, it’s time to plan and devise a course of action that will help you actually see the change come to life. I wish there was a magic formula to tell you exactly what you need to do, but the truth is, it’s different for each of us.
The main thing here is to actually DO SOMETHING about the change you want to see. For me, it was changing the way I thought about my agency and then looking for ways to equip myself to take action. I had to stop looking at my agency as a small side business, and start seeing the potential in it and in myself. I had the opportunity to create a business that not only provides for my family, but allows me to be creative and help real people solve real problems. After shifting my thinking, I had to back that up with action. I had to learn a new way of working, I new method and process to get the change I was seeking. Partnering with Hubspot was a pivotal point. They have helped me not only improve my marketing knowledge, but helped grow me as a business owner. As the year went on, I had to tweak my approach to make sure I was heading in the right direction and not be afraid to take chances. There were many others who helped motivate and inspire me along the way as well and I am still pushing myself to be better and constantly looking for opportunities to grow. In just a few days I start AltMBA and I'm looking forward to pushing myself and agency to a whole new level this year.
“There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there's only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.” - Wayne Dyer
This is the most important question of the 3. We have to first decide, then we have to take action, but if we really want see lasting change we have to be committed to the process. Committing to the change is what separates those who succeed and those who don’t. But, why is this so hard? Unfortunately, in our society, commitment is hard to find. It’s easier to give into the resistance. Excuses like, “I tried, it just didn’t work” or “This is too hard” or any other reason to quit are easily justified.
“For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.” – Tony Robbins
After making the change and focusing my agency on SEO, Inbound and Growth Driven Design, and putting into action my new process, I expected results fast. They didn’t come. I wanted to give in, revert back to the “old way” of doing things, but I fought the resistance and pushed forward. Three months in I saw some growth, but still not what I was hoping for. It wasn’t until November, 11 months into the process, that I started to see the change pay off. If I would have bailed, I would have failed. But by sticking to the process, I reaped the benefits.
Change is a lot like growing a fruit tree. You have to first dig a hole and remove any rocks or other obstructions. Then you have to place a seed in the hole and cover it up. Then you water it, make sure it gets sun and carefully tend to it as it grows. After some time, if the work was done and the tree was cared for, it will bear fruit.
This year I want to encourage you to take a hard look at where you are and what you are doing to grow your business. What has worked and what has failed. This year, you have a chance, a chance to make a change. A chance to create a business you love to work on and create products that impact lives. So what change do you want to make? What are you going to do about it? And are you committed to seeing that change actually take place?
The choice is yours and only yours.
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