Welcome to episode 465 another little bonus episode for you going out on a Tuesday in your ears. I’m excited. You can’t see me, but I’m doing a very awkward dance right now.
I want to talk about something that every successful leader has in common and let me start this by saying, I’m kind of riffing today. This was a conversation that came up inside of my mastermind, much like last week’s episode. And I really felt compelled to share it with you and my original thought was to do a story around this and that would be cool, but the more I sat down and recorded the story the more I realized it was a little long for a story.
So I wanted to bring this to you in this format because I think it is such an important component that we don’t talk about and that’s the fact that every single successful business owner or leader that you look up to knows and prioritizes strategy.
And I don’t just mean in their marketing. I mean in their business development and their growth, in there speaking in their launches, in their client delivery, client onboarding, team members, everything. All of your favorite leaders all of your favorite business owners all of your favorite brands. our strategic.
Now I’m assuming you’re sitting there and you’re going Stacey. Duh. I know that. But that leaves me with this question. Why aren’t you being strategic?
Specifically, I want to talk about our marketing because I spend hours and hours every month, lovingly pushing you into building a strategy into supporting your clients from “hey, I don’t know you” to “please take my credit card”, strategically. I spend a ton of time talking about that. But today I want to talk about why missing this will keep you from where you want to go.
So we’re going to take it way back to 2010.
I decided that I wanted to go back to work. I had been a stay-at-home mom for about a year and a half at that point. I had struggled deep deeply with postpartum depression and I’m simply not built to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s not my adventure. It’s not my journey. It’s not right, it’s not wrong. It’s just not for me. I always have to say that because inevitably I get some email or some DM from somebody who gets really mad. So not good or bad. Just not my thing.
I didn’t actually know where to start though. I am somebody who is the child of, public servants. My dad was a cop my mom was a detention officer in a jail, my grandparents worked for the school district and for telephone companies and for manufacturing companies. For generations, my family has been the model of, you work for 25 years and then you get a pension. Before that it was, you work until you die essentially, because before that they were all farmers or migrant workers. It was not ever you could start a business. And so, I decided that if I was going to try to “work from home” I better be a freelancer because that’s in my wheelhouse. I can I can do that.
I started looking for gigs and at the time I used a tool called oDesk, which I think is now called Upwork. I know Upwork bought them. I don’t know if oDesk runs independently somewhere else, but it’s like an Upwork. And I started figuring it out and guess what the early signs of me being strategic started then because I knew that at certain times of day certain kinds of jobs were posted. So I never checked the job boards, late at night. I never applied for anything late at night. I knew within a certain window. I was going to get a certain kind of answer for most people and so even as I was looking for freelance gigs, I was really strategic about.
How I invested my time how much time I spent getting good jobs versus how much time I spent doing jobs. And after a few months of that I realized that I could cut out the middleman, I hope oDesk isn’t listening, I could do the thing that oDesk tells you not to do which is go direct to the client and say hey I’m starting a business and I’d love to take you out of oDesk and drop us into formal contract. Because again, I thought really strategically about the fact that I was losing a portion of my pay, but also I wasn’t strategically positioned to demand more money. I wasn’t as long as I was working through oDesk, I would be seen through a certain filter. an employee or freelance filter. and if I wanted to up-level the revenue I was taking I had to present myself as a structure as a business. I had to change this from a business to employee transaction to a business to business transaction.
Again strategically I did that and I built it out and I launched what was called On Demand Virtual Assistant. Which, by the way, is a terrible name don’t ever name a business “on demand”. It’s a bad idea learn from me.
That was 2011 and now I’ve spent the last eight, almost nine years, strategically building and growing my business. I have increased my revenue every year sometimes two and three times in the course of a year which by the way is crazy growth and we talked about that a ton in the online space. And it’s crazy because it’s not normal and there are absolutely things over the course of my growth that had I been more strategically growing I would not have put myself in some painful painful situations. So let me just say that. And as I was talking to, you know sort of DMing with my coach she brought this up and I thought back and I thought yeah, everything I’ve done, everything I of achieved stems back to one habit me taking a step back and building out a plan for what comes next now.
Sometimes that plan was crazy, like full disclosure. It’s not always a good plan. But having a plan as always given me a place to land. It has seen me through… and this is where we’re getting a personal, two miscarriages, 3 out of state moves because we did the whole back-and-forth thing, a husband that worked full-time on swing shift, which meant I worked and mom’d all the time. Also when Charles was still working long stretches where he was gone because he traveled for his job. It has seen me through. my first couple of six figures.
All of that is possible because regularly, I step back and I make a plan. Then I step into the plan and I execute. Repeatedly and this is the thing. This is the one thing. That every successful business owner is doing that I want you to steal. That I want you to take away and make your own. They are not following their bliss. They are not following their inspiration not for their growth, not for their marketing, not for anything. And it’s because they’ve taken this and they have found their version of strategizing.
The strategy doesn’t have to look like one thing.
It can put on lots of different outfits over the course of the years I have planned in my business and just taken a day out of my business or come in on a weekend. There are times where I’ve had Post-it notes all up around my office. There are times when I have gone to coffee shops or libraries. I really like libraries, I just got real nerdy, or the beach, or planned in a journal, or planned in a calendar, or planned in Asana, or planned in Google Doc,s or planned in spreadsheets, or whiteboards with just thought bubbles and ideas all over the place.
It’s looked like a lots of stuff. It’s looked like one full day. And it’s looked like an hour a day over the course of two weeks. It’s looked like doing it alone. And it’s look like doing with my mastermind and it’s looked like doing it with just one person. It’s looked like a lot of things over the years. It still depends on what I’m planning, but most often it’s a lot of Post-it notes on the wall of my office. followed by Google Docs. and Asana.
I don’t care what it looks like. I just care that it’s there. I care that you are investing in the strategic development of your business, of your brand, and of your marketing because if you’re not taking this step you are costing yourself growth. You are costing yourself the platform the audience and the money to make the impact you want to make.
It’s funny because over the course of this year we’ve been doing our Backstage Live workshops, which is, by the way, a great way to do planning just as a heads and multiple people have come to me later and said, “I’ve never planned before I’ve always just said, I’m just going to create and it’ll be all good. It’ll come to me. Being able to batch. Show up on podcast release day and just know there’s an episode going out is incredible. Being able to sit back and know that my emails are working is great being able to take a vacation, unplanned time off, a sick day and know that my podcast still going out. is incredible”.
I want you to have that too. I want this piece for you because I want you to have the impact that you want to have in the world. Because the world needs it. I know that you’re listening to the show right now because you want to do something. You’re not okay with the way business looks or the world works or your industry works and you want it to be different and you want to be a part of making that difference. And that comes from really investing, your time, your energy, and yes your money and making this happen.
I’m challenging you to make a commitment to build out a 2020 plan and a series of quarterly plans. Here’s the great news. I want to do this with you. This doesn’t have to be something you go do alone. This doesn’t have to be something you figure out alone, lean on me, lean on my expertise, lean on a group of leaders who are also working through this for 2020 join us inside Backstage Live VIP. And get the support for the entirety of 2020 and guess what? If you’ve never planned before I’m going to give you the most fun gift ever because we’re actually going to start this in 2019 so that you go into January 1st or January 2nd or January 3rd or whatever day you get back into the office already knowing what’s happening in January instead of spending all of January figuring out what 2020 is going to look like you’ll already know. You’ll know what you’re selling. You’re going to know who you’re going to sell it to.
This way when inspiration does strike when you do get hit by creativity, when you do get this great idea that you can’t wait on we can step back look at your plan and go cool if it’s right here, let’s do it. Instead of being like well, no, I’ve got to get through this because I’ve got this happening and and I don’t there’s no room for it. We look at the big picture and when you slide it in. Wherever it fits. It is an incredible incredible gift. So join us.
If you have questions, if you want to have a conversation about this if you’re not sure if it’s the right fit for you, reach out. Let me know. Let’s have a conversation because here is the big thing to remember. Early bird price an annual Savings of $3,600 goes away on Thursday. Thursday will be the last day to get in at this price. So I want you to commit to making this choice. So again, if you have any questions, let me know. I hope to see you in Backstage Live VIP.
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