In 2015, I closed shop at my corporate branding agency and decided to try my hand at marketing myself. More specifically, I decided to become an “overnight, global, Internet sensation.” It was a bold move. And when my husband asked me how long I thought it would take, I estimated five years.
I anticipated a LOT of things when I made the switch from “real to virtual” where my business was concerned. What I did not anticipate was all of the ridiculous and meaningless emphasis on figures. More specifically, “six-figure” and “seven-figure” companies.
Since the day I signed up for Marie Forleo’s B-School (my entrée into the digital marketing space), I’ve been pitched HUNDREDS of times in advertisements by consultants and agencies who tell me they can take my business to “six-figures” (and at least the same number who can take it “from six-figures to seven”).
Are all of these companies full of shit? It’s hard to say, really.
But the premise upon which they’re basing their promises is entirely meaningless.
So if you’re feeling badly about not having the perfect figure… stop it right now.
First of all, these “figures” everyone is talking about are revenue numbers. That’s the amount of sales your company makes. And what anyone in the real world of business understands is that revenue is POINTLESS without also understanding expenses. It’s the management of the gap BETWEEN revenue and expenses that make one an actual businessperson. It’s in that gap that we find our house payments, car payments, vacations, retirement funds, and college tuition for our kids.
But you won’t hear these hucksters talk to you about profitability or return on investment. Because those would be REAL promises that would require REAL long-term strategies. And ain’t nobody flashing around headlines that say, “Work real hard. Build your business over time.” What’s sexy about that?
Revenue numbers, alone, are meaningless. There are plenty of business owners with millions in annual sales who bring home less than $100K. And there are PLENTY of businesses—especially online enterprises—that spend more than they make. Or barely break even…
I know, because I’ve been in lots of groups with folks who tell me they’re “seven-figure-earners” and can’t afford a $200 hotel room. I’ve met guys who lease Ferraris based on their “figures” who can’t stay in the game longer than a year. I’ve met folks who had a “fifty-thousand-dollar month” with a launch that cost $40K… and nothing else all year long.
So regardless of what anyone tells you about your figures… you gotta focus on the RIGHT ONES for them to have any meaning.
And you have to get real about how long it will take and what you’ll have to put into it.
Think of five women who have businesses you admire. The ones who are really doing it right.
Did they blow up in a summer? Have six weeks to MASSIVE long-term success? Did they make it big because they built the right funnel or uncovered the “single secret no one is talking about” or “the proven method to fill your client calendar with no marketing expense?”
I already know what you’re gonna tell me.
They did not.
Long-term sustainable profitability doesn’t come from understanding how to use a marketing tactic any more than fine art comes from understanding how to use a paintbrush.
So if you’re feeling pressure to have the perfect figures, you can let that go right now.
Instead, focus on finding a NEED in the marketplace. Focus on understanding what people want and what will make their lives better. Focus on knowing and understanding those people inside and out. And focus on giving them what they need in a way that’s utterly delightful, entirely memorable, and different than the way anyone else provides it.
You know what’s more important than great figures? Heart and soul.
Straight from the heart,