This time last year I chose my Word of the Year, a phrase that would capture my theme or focus for 2016. The word I chose was more of a phrase really. My Word of the Year was “a milli,” short for a million, as in “I will make a million dollars this year.” I even had a necklace with the phrase “a milli” on it. I was committed to making this happen.
As you can already tell from the subject line, I fell short of that goal. I will not cross 7-figures this year short of some business miracle (and I don’t believe in business miracles, I create my own miracles). What I want to share with you are the reasons why that is.
I worked my ass off and had every intention of making this goal happen, but it didn’t. Sometimes we think just wanting something and working towards it is enough but sometimes it isn’t. Things like your mindset, your environment, your team, and your strategy are actually pretty important when it comes to reaching your goals. I made some business mistakes this year. Hell, I made about a metric shit ton of business mistakes. I want to share them with you, and I hope they help you make your goals happen in 2017.
So here are the reasons why I won’t make a million dollars this year.
1. I Wasn’t Ready
Mentally I wasn’t ready for a 7-figure business. There were lessons I needed to learn. Things I needed to clear out from my business and life. I wasn’t ready for a million dollars because I needed to create the space for a million dollars. And that’s what I spent this year doing. Winding down the legal work, downsizing my team, developing new habits, relocating my family to a place that was a better fit for us, ending relationships. I didn’t necessarily always realize it, but I did all of these things to create the space for the next level of my life. And at that next level, I will make a million dollars.
The person you are now is not the person who is going to reach that next big goal you have. You are going to have to become a higher version of yourself, You 2.0 if you will, in order to reach the next level. What got you here won’t get you there. (Hint: it’s all about forming better habits).
2. I Wasn’t Focused on My Greatest Sources of Revenue
If you would have asked me a few months ago what the greatest source of revenue would be for my business this year, I would have told you it’s legal services. My second guess would have been coaching. And I would have been wrong on both counts. Last week I reviewed my overall year-to-date sales numbers and realized that my greatest source of revenue was actually my products and they were getting the least amount of my time. Meanwhile, legal services were nowhere near as profitable but took up 40-50% of team time. I knew that products were the most profitable thing we offered, but I did not realize they also generated the most revenue this year. That means my attention, the attention of my team and my dollars were all majorly focused on the wrong damn thing. #ThatSucks. No wonder I wasn’t barreling towards a milli.
Stop guessing. We overly optimistic entrepreneurs often think we know what’s really going on with our business, but the only real way to know is to take a look at the numbers. Just like Shakira’s hips, numbers don’t lie. And don’t just look at your numbers, actually act on them. Here’s what I learned and what I’m going to do about it:
My products generated multiple six-figures for my business this year and with very little expenses. No area of my business is more profitable than products, which begs the question: what would happen if I focused that 40-50% of team time on products? Could I 2x, 5x or even 10x the revenue generated? Could I 2x, 5x or even 10x the customer experience? I think so. Needless to say, it will be all about products in 2017.
3. I Didn’t Realize Who My Ideal Client Truly Is
When you are offering several different products and services, your ideal client can get muddied. There were times when I lost sight of who my ideal client truly is. To be honest, it wasn’t until the week I came back from France that I had an epiphany about who my ideal client is and all the ways I hadn’t been focused on her this year. When you lose focus, you start talking to the dreaded “everybody, ” and nothing good can come of that in a small business. The retreats I hosted this year gave me an up close and personal view of who my ideal client is, what she needs, what she cares about, what she’s struggling with, and how I can help her. Now I know, nd now I am focused.
When you get an exciting idea about something new you want to create, ask yourself: does my ideal client need this or care about this? Will it serve her at the highest level? Will it resolve the issue(s) that she’s struggling with? I totally and absolutely believe that your business can (and should) be a vehicle for you to fulfill your dreams and do work that is soul-satisfying. BUT never forget that you must match your dreams + soul-satisfying work with a real problem that you can solve for a real person. Without that match, you will struggle.
These are the business mistakes that I made this year that caused me to fall short of my million dollar goal. But here’s the thing: this post is not a pity party. I am incredibly grateful that despite all of these massive mistakes, my business not only served thousands of clients but even had the nerve to grow. Picture that!
And therein lies the real lesson: perfection is not required. You can make huge business mistakes, be indecisive, launch too many things, screw things up, lack focus, and still have a very successful and profitable year.
Rachel Rodgers is known in the legal industry and beyond for being an innovator and master of productizing services and creating high-quality, high profit products. SBB and the other legal kits she has created have been transformative, generating half a million dollars in revenue in just two years and serving 1,800 small businesses around the country.