OK, let’s say you know exactly what you want in your business.
For instance, to attract a certain number of clients and make a certain amount of money.
Well, what is the fastest, simplest way to get from where you are to where you want to be if you don’t know exactly HOW to get there?
If you know how, no problem, right? You’ll get to work implementing what you know.
But if you don’t know, then what? What do you do?
Well, there are a lot of ways, but one approach I’ve found always seems to move me in the right direction:
Take a step that’s a little scary where the cost isn’t too high.
If it’s not scary, then you’re doing something you already know.
And if the cost of taking that step is too high, then you start to move backward instead of forward.
I’ll give some examples in a sec.
If you do something that’s a little scary, but the cost isn’t too high, then it’s not a big deal.
Then you can try another little scary step.
One small scary step at a time.
Why does this work?
Well, the idea is to fail fast so that you learn what doesn’t work.
The more you try what doesn’t work, the smarter you get.
Let’s say you try five things and four of them fail but one succeeds.
Then you try five more things and get the same results.
Now you know eight things that don’t work and two things that do.
After a while, with this constant trial and error, you are putting in much more time doing the things that work and much less time doing the things that don’t.
Try a lot of stuff. Fail fast. Discover what works. Repeat forever.
But this isn’t what I see out there.
I see lots of people afraid to try anything.
So, they don’t get failures or wins and they give up before they can succeed.
Or they take a scary, high-risk step and blow a lot of money and the step fails and knocks them for a loop.
Even worse, many take small scary steps and if they don’t work, they still keep on doing them!
Many, many years ago I lost my credit.
My business was just starting up and I got over-extended on my credit cards.
As a result, I had to be very careful with my spending.
So, I ramped up the things I did to attract clients that cost very little money.
I tried scary new things and failed at some of them.
But before too long, I started to win over and over again.
I reached out to Chamber of Commerce members and got meetings.
I experimented with my selling process and landed clients.
I read a book on how to build a website and saved money on web development.
I started an email newsletter and wrote it weekly.
Twenty-five years later, most of my clients have come from that newsletter.
I never spent any money on advertising.
I discovered many low-cost or free ways to reach out and get in front of people.
Networking, speaking, events, webinars, setting my hair on fire.
And I improved my communication skills.
And then I made great money teaching these skills to other self-employed professionals.
So, let me repeat this simple but powerful approach:
Try a lot of stuff that’s a little scary to get yourself out there.
But not so risky that if you fail you don’t have a huge setback.
Be willing to fail. Every small failure is a valuable lesson.
Try a lot of stuff. Over and over again until you discover what works.
But what happens when what you’ve been doing for a long time isn’t working anymore?
Same plan. You start trying new scary things and see what happens!
You try, you fail, you learn, you fine-tune, and then you succeed.
Remember, as a self-employed professional, you’re not launching a high-tech company.
You don’t need to make millions. You just need to make a good living, right?
And small, scary steps without a huge risk will get you there.
So, what is the next scary step you need to take?
Remember, it needs to be something new that you haven’t tried before and that’s a little scary, but not too risky.
Send out emails using humor to get meetings.
When you don’t get a response, follow up by phone.
Develop a report to give away on your website.
If nobody is interested, try a different report.
All a little scary, right? But none are a huge risk.
Can someone help you take your next scary step?
They can share what’s worked for them and for others.
They can help you see the pros and cons of different steps.
They can encourage you to move forward.
They can challenge you to take scary steps.
They can help speed up the process and get to success faster.
But ultimately, it’s always up to you to take that next scary step.
Next week, in the Open Sessions, on Friday, October 21 we’ll explore this in more depth.
See you then.
P.S. By the way, after you’ve gotten into the habit of taking scary steps, they’re not really scary anymore. They are fun and exciting!
P.P.S. I’m hardly the first person with this idea:
“Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.”
– Robert Collier
“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”
– Napoleon Hill
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
– Helen Keller
“If it is not scary, it is not worth doing.”
– Rhys Ifans