Entrepreneurship has always been a part of my life. Growing up, my mom and dad would have my brothers and I brainstorm ideas at the kitchen table with them, and this entrepreneurial spirit has stayed with me. I’ve learned a lot over the years, through studying, reading, talking to people, coaching, you name it. And today, I'm going to walk you through my FastForward business success principles that I have built my business on, and that I continue to use every single day both in my own business as well as in my coaching.
#1 Know Your End Goal
When you are building your business and you really want to scale and move it forward, you need to know your end goal. You need to have a single minded focus.
Now for me personally, I have had a shifted focus for a long time. I'm running two businesses right now and I struggle with that immensely. I know a lot of people think like, “Oh, hey, I should do that.” Well, let me tell you, it is not a walk in the park. I feel like it's easy to lose focus and this is something that Napoleon Hill said as well: you really need to have a single minded focus in order to reach your goals.
When you set out to build your business and get known for one thing, you need to get known for that one thing. It is going to be so easy to get distracted by other things if you don't know what your end goal is. Because working towards your end goal will probably mean that you will grow slower than if you would say yes to other things that seem more sexy at the time, but that will not bring you your long term results. I believe that you have to have the ability to think really long-term in order to be successful.
When I started with my mastermind, I had four clients. And then I had nine clients. And then I had 17 clients. And then I had 30 clients. And all along, it's been my goal to build that coaching business and reach millions of people all over the world. And I am very focused on that. I want to build a fully scalable business and impact as many female entrepreneurs as I know, so that I can help them live a life on their terms and build a scalable business that gives them freedom.
You need to know what your end goal is, otherwise you're never going to make it happen. So my first principle is know your end goal and have a single minded focus for your goal.
#2 Dare to Commit
This is a difficult one because you might feel shame about dreaming big. You might feel like it's a bit obnoxious. You might feel like it's impossible. But no matter how afraid you are, you're gonna have to dare to commit to that really big goal in order to make it happen.
If I would have stayed wishy-washy about my mastermind, it would have never grown to the point where right now I have a waitlist of over 200 people wanting to get in, and that I can choose my ideal clients. You need to dare to commit to your end goal.
Do you want to build a million dollar business? Commit to it.
Do you want to build a $10 million business? Commit to it.
Do you want an agency with virtual assistants working for you? Commit to it.
Don't shy away from the end goal. Commit to that end goal that you set up in Principle #1.
#3 Reverse engineer everything
Reverse engineering is probably one of my favourite phrases. If you have your end goal you need to reverse engineer everything. You need to work backwards on your goals.
I see so many people just lolly bopping about and just doing whatever the fuck they want. You always need to ask yourself, “Is this going to bring me closer towards my end goal?”
Because newsflash, the things that are going to bring you closer to that long term goal might not be super apparent in the short term. Being able to think long term, is – I truly believe – one of the most important traits of wildly successful entrepreneurs. I have a strength of thinking really long term and being really patient about that. I had to learn to be patient, but I've always had the vision. I just always want my vision to happen sooner, but now I've committed to it and I'm not going to stop.
What I mean by reverse engineering is that you pick your end goal first and then you outline all of the steps you need to take in order to get there. And those steps might mean that you need to take two steps back in order to later on, take three steps forward. But if you don't know what your end goal is, and you don't work backwards from it, you're just doing random things.
It's like wrapping your car in the beginning of your business. Is that actually going to bring you closer to getting clients? Are there other things that are going to get you closer to getting clients because the money and the time and effort you're putting into stuff most probably isn't really paying off.
#4 Keep your overhead low
Right now more than ever, it is very clear why you need to keep your overhead low. Your income can dry up, stuff can happen, but your overhead (that means your fixed cost) will still need to get paid. Your rent, the machines, stuff you're renting, investments… If you make your costs too high, and if every time you're earning more, your costs just go up, that is very dangerous! Because when the income cashflow stops, your costs are wickedly high and you don't have any income.
So make sure that you keep your overhead low. You could, for example, start working with freelancers instead of employees. Maybe you have a home office, and you're not going to rent an outside office. I am all for investing and behaving in a way that is aligned with the vision you see. If you want to play with the big dogs, you need to be a big dog. But don't be ashamed of keeping your overhead low and playing it safe.
#5 Protect your downside
You need to protect your downside. You need to protect your risk. You need to create as much upside as possible, and protect your downside. That means you might choose to rent some materials instead of buying them so that when it doesn't work out, you didn't lose a lot of money.
Richard Branson is a great example of this. I've shared this example countless times, but in one of Richard Branson's books, he talks about how when he started Virgin Airlines, he was like, “You know what, I can do this better than all of these other companies are doing it and let me just lease some airplanes and start this company. And he negotiated with the leasing company, and he said to them, I'm going to lease these aeroplanes at this rate, but if it doesn't work out, I want to be able to give them back to you at no cost.” So what Richard did is he created a lot of possible upside: when the business was doing well, he was going to be doing really well. But if it didn't do well, he wasn't going to lose a lot except for the time and effort he put into this project.
Protect your downside. Always ask yourself what the worst case scenario is, and make that as harmless for you as possible. Want some examples? Hire a freelancer for a project and if it gets messed up, then you only lose that one-time fee. Or I will have my downside be my time so that it will be a failed ‘time' investment. Make sure that you always predict your downside and create as much upside as possible.
#6 Keep your pipeline filled
When you're busy working for your clients, don't forget that you need to look for new potential clients too. Otherwise, at a certain point, you're not going to have any new clients lined up!
For you right now, this might be relevant if let's say, you are a virtual assistant or you are a photographer, and you're swamped with work. You're so busy working in your business that you're going to forget to work proactively on your business, to work on your marketing plan, and the stuff that is going to drive in new business or is going to re-attract old clients.
So make sure you're always keeping your pipeline filled so that the next clients are always lined up. Another example is my podcast. I'm publishing a new episode every week, so I'm attracting new people. I'm attracting new leads into my email list every week by having you download stuff. This means that by the time I launch my mastermind again, I have a filled pipeline with new people ready to buy. If I would only launch my mastermind and then just disappear for months and only focus on my clients, then when the mastermind is finished, I wouldn't have anyone new buying the mastermind!
When I'm running my masterminds every week, I'm making a little bit of a promotion about it. I'm like, hey, look at my clients. Look at what we're learning, sign up for the waitlist. I'm always keeping that pipeline filled so that when I launch again, well, it launches really well because my pipeline was already filled! Look at how you can automate your lead generation even when you are busy working in your business.
#7 Cash is king
One of my favourite ones is principle seven. Cash is king. So many people create really big ideas and they spend years and years working on their really big idea, and they still don't know if anyone will buy. Asking people to pay for your product or service beats basically everything for me. That beats any market research or whatever you're doing.
“Will people pay for it?”
THAT is what matters because that is the fuel that you need for your business. So whenever you are in doubt, what should you do? You need cash flow and cash is king. People paying for your product or service is the best evidence you can get that your idea is worth something. The same goes with your sales: be flexible. If someone wants to buy it but they want to buy it with a payment plan for example. Say, yeah sure! Make it happen. Because cash is king.
I just had a talk with someone who really wants to book a business intensive with me with which I almost never do anymore. I only do it with people who went through my mastermind first. And I'm like, okay, we're gonna book it because I really want to advise her company and all that but I also told them that they need to pay me upfront because once I coach them I have given away all of my knowledge so I am protecting my downside and I'm protecting my time by getting paid beforehand.
#8 Fuel your business with sales
Dear Lord, so many people are just so busy working on all of the crap in their business that they are forgetting about the sales.
If you are not getting sales, and you come to me and you whine about it, I will ask you, how many people did you contact? How many old clients did you contact? How many times did you promote your service? How many sales calls did you do? How many people did you call? If you look up any good textbook about sales, it will say like, okay, you need to call people at least 20 times a day and then a percentage of those will say yes.
I have a bunch of people on my newsletter. I have a bunch of people on my Instagram. Likes won't pay my bills. Followers won't pay your bills. Having people think your logo is cool is nice but it's not going to pay your bills. You need to fuel your business with sales.
To any entrepreneur who will say “I'm not a salesperson. I don't like sales…” I will say: Learn to fucking love it because it is what your business needs.
Cash flow is literally the fuel for your business.
Don't you dare think cash flow is bad or selling is bad because that means you are in the wrong business and you are better off going to work for someone else instead of being self employed.
If you think sales is icky…. No, sales is not icky. Sales is literally the only thing that will keep your business alive. So that was a very long and aggressive way of me telling you to fuel your business with sales. Haha.
#9 What you measure is what you know
I know stats might not be sexy. But what you measure is what you know. Pat Flynn, a great online business guru, said that “if there's one thing I wish I did sooner in my business, it’s measuring my metrics.”
I love numbers and keep an eye on them. In my podcast, the strictly business episodes do the least well, and mindset and confidence episodes do really well. That tells me what’s important for everyone, and I can reach a really wide audience with that. But the thing is, I sell business coaching with a sprinkle of confidence. A lot of people get really confident in my coaching, but I'm selling business coaching.
And then I also saw that while the downloads for that sales episode were lower, the accompanying download did REALLY well, and the sales of my mini course on sales have been highest of all of my mini courses. What does all this mean? Well, it means that sales might attract fewer people, but the leads might be more heavily interested in what I have to sell. And after all, I need to fuel my business with sales.
So what you measure is what you know.
I need to be able to ask you at all times,
- How much revenue did you bring in this month?
- How much cash flow came in this month?
- How much have you done in total this year?
- How many sales did you get?
- How much cash flow came in? Because there's a difference between booked sales and actual cash flow, and what you measure is what you know.
Even if you are not a numbers-driven person, I guarantee you, if you focus more on the numbers, more numbers will come in. Maybe I should change this principle from what you measure is what you know, to what you measure is what will increase.
#10 Become financially savvy
You just can't be an entrepreneur and be like, “hey, I'll just outsource all of my finances to someone.” I'm not saying you can't outsource it to someone else. But let's face it, your accountant doesn't care as much about your company as you do. You are going to care about it the most. And when something goes wrong, you are the one responsible, so you need to be financially savvy.
Stop saying “I’m not good with finance”, and start saying “I’m learning about my finances.” If you feel like you want to run away from money, go and listen to episode 20 of my podcast The FastForwardAmy Show about shifting your money mindset.
#11 Compare to learn
I say often that comparison is poison for your soul. And Dear God, the famous saying is that comparison is the thief of joy. I believe that the only thing you should do in terms of comparing is compare to learn.
Compare to learn, but don't compare to get sucked into negative energy. I used to do this. I used to look at other business coaches' Instagram stories, and I was sometimes just comparing myself and my business to these other people. And I was seeing all the things I wasn't doing and they were doing better, and it wasn't putting me in a good vibe.
I fully believe that the only thing you should be doing is focus on making your clients happy, and making your audience interested in what you have to offer.
I know it’s tough, but don’t focus on anyone else. Only compare to learn.
So I decided to mute the stories of the people I was comparing myself to. I put my blinders on to keep focusing on clients and potential clients, because that had always been a key strategy of mine.
So compare to learn, but don't compare yourself endlessly.
I used to look at Marie Forleo videos and was like, “Oh my god, her videos are so good.” I used to think my videos had to be as good as hers. Then I shifted my mindset to focus on “what can I learn from her”, rather than sitting moodily in my own jealousy. I asked myself, “Okay, what can I take away from this? What is exciting me as a client about these videos? What do I like about this?” And then I learned from that so that I could implement it in my own experience for my own clients.
#12 Being productive is bullshit
Yep, you heard me right. I am the queen of productivity and time management normally (I even have a time management mini course). But lately, I have changed my mind as my team has been growing and I have started getting better and better at delegating, I have seen the light, and I've decided that being productive is bullshit.
Being productive and getting lots of stuff done in a day is not something to be proud of. Sure, it is something you need to do when you get started. But then as soon as you can, you need to stop doing so many things all day long and being completely flustered at the end of the day.
Being productive is bullshit. Delegating and not doing stuff yourself is the actual shit. That is where you want to go.
My best advice to anyone starting their business would be obviously first and foremost to make sure your clients are happy and customers are happy. That is always the most important thing. Then as soon as possible, I would start delegating allllllll the things. A really good book about this, by the way is Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz. It will take you one step further and widen up your brain in order to actually get started with delegating more. For me, it's very aligned with how I'm already running my business, but it is pushing me even further into reaching that next step in my own flow and zone of genius.
Honestly, my business has skyrocketed every time that I've delegated stuff decently and has allowed me to focus on money-making activities, which brings me to my next point.
#13 Identify your money-making activities and spend 80% of your time on them
That is the goal, ladies and gentleman. Just spend time on the stuff that you are exceptionally good at and no one else can do. Identify your money-making activities. So many people spend so much of their time on a bunch of crap in their business and not on the money-making activities.
Recently, I hosted a moneymaker masterclass. I sold so many courses during that masterclass, and it got me thinking like, “Okay, why haven't I done webinars in such a long time?!” Because that is a money making activity for me. And I'm spending all of my time on what exactly?! Which leads me to the next principle…
#14 Dare to revisit
As my businesses and I have grown a lot over the last few years, it is super important to revisit thoughts and ideas from the past. Whenever you have ideas and thoughts, make sure you write them down somewhere, because you will be surprised at how many really great ideas might not be possible now, but will be when you have grown and you have more resources and all of that.
#15 Fear of failure is a luxury problem
I hate to break it to you, but if you are still afraid of failing, it means that the need to do this still isn't high enough – and you're still able to pay your bills. I didn't have the luxury of having fear of failure at certain points in my career, which is why I started making videos. So many people are like, “Oh, I'm so afraid to get on video and Instagram stories.” I don't care. If you need more clients, and you need more money, video is what you’ll have to do!
Stop being afraid of failure because it is literally a luxury problem. It means that you have not enough fear about not achieving success. Fear of failure is nothing more than a mindset block – and that’s something I’ve talked about a lot on my podcast. Stop not doing it, because you're screwing yourself over. Okay?
Do you want more of my FastForward Success Principles? Download the Business Bible here.
I’ve just got one last thing to say to you. So many people put all of their effort into doing something for the first time and then they stop. Don’t do that. If you’ve found something that works, REPEAT it. Tweak it, repeat it, and keep making it better. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. And once you’ve got a proven process that works, start automating it and get to testing the next thing you’re working on.
I’ve shared 15 of my top business principles with you in this article, but there’s a whoooole lot more where those came from.
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