Never hit your sales goals? Here is why!
Think you want to be an overnight success?
You might want to think again.
Serious question for you. If I could magically make your business a huge success overnight, would you a) send me flowers and bottle Veuve or b) freak out and wish I hadn't done that?
I have spoken to so many women over the past 11 years, and more often than not, what they're looking for is quick success. They will tell me they need to turn their business around fast, like.. right now. They need a big win immediately, and want to be an overnight success.
I get that..
There have been times in my business where I was so frustrated and exhausted, and I felt like nothing was working. Remember, I came from a general management background, so I knew business, but online courses and offers, well, that was a completely foreign concept to me.
I had to learn everything from automated sales funnels, sales page writing, pricing digital content, setting up email marketing automation, digesting Google Analytics data. The list is long.
The crying cupboard
I almost chucked it all in many, many times. If you have been following me for a while, you will know I had a crying cupboard. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. A closet that I used to sit in to sob.
It was in my old place, it was a walk-in linen cupboard, it had plush carpet, and when you closed the door, it was almost pitch black. Perfect for laying down to have a good weep. I used it so much my little furry office assistant would follow me in and snuggle into his corner.
Business is much easier today, so much easier. I know what I know, and it's more than enough to conquer the online space. But, back then, I wanted what everyone else seemed to have. Overnight success.
Reality vs perception
Of course, the reality is that very few of the businesses I was lusting after were actually successful; that was just my perception. They did seem to have speedy success though, and they hadn't been in the online space for long at all.
Experience now tells me that you should assume nothing unless you personally see someone's profit and loss reports, balance sheet, and tax return. Big sales don't always equate to fat profits; professional photoshoots and international travel to gold ticket masterminds don't always equate to financial success.
Now that I know better, I want to share some learnings that will inspire you to embrace small, consistent changes instead of praying for a rapid result.
Not knowing what made you successful
When you slowly and consciously grow a business, you know what you put in place to achieve those results. One of the many downsides to rapid growth is not knowing what made you successful in the first place.
What was the catalyst, and how do you replicate it, again and again, to continue to grow profits. So many business owners come to me because they were successful when they first launched but could not replicate that success.
What's the point of creating a fantastic business if it will be a flash in the pan, a shooting star that combusts quickly or a rainbow that soon disappears.
You know the Tennyson quote; "it's better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all". For one, I can't entirely agree. I would prefer not to know the deep heart splitting pain of losing love, but I really don't want to experience a business that I loved and lost.
Nope. I would prefer to have never had the success in the first place if I had no idea how to create it again. Give me a business that I love, and I get to keep until I retire or die. That's my goal.
As you're growing your business, you can be doing things that will help you identify what is working and what isn't so you can replicate your success. You can make conscious, proactive decisions and keep hold of your business long term.
No team or systems to support you and your business
Guess what happens when people do get super fast overnight success? They get burned out, get overwhelmed, their attention goes in a million different directions and ultimately, the business fails.
As your business scales, you're going to need a support crew around you. Your support crew are not necessarily employees; they could be contractors, they could be mastermind buddies, they could even be help at home with childcare or cooking and cleaning.
Your attention can't be on everything at once; having a support crew gives you peace of mind that you don't need to be juggling all the balls yourself.
Oh, you hit the jackpot!
Imagine you have an online store selling body scrub, you make ok money, but you need a full-time salary to make it viable. Then, one day a celebrity promotes your body scrub and overnight, you have hit the jackpot.
Your inbox is going crazy, you have orders coming out of your ears, and business feels exciting. Here's the catch. To fulfil those orders, you need to drop marketing from your to-do list, ads you have running (because who needs more sales right now), bookkeeping, email list building and probably a whole lot more.
Now you spend your days making products, filling and shipping orders and dealing with customer service issues like missing packages.
The rush dies down, orders start to slow, and you're a little relieved because you're exhausted. You didn't have a team to keep your bookkeeping up to date, deal with an overflowing inbox, or ship the products out.
You also possibly didn't have systems set up like an abandon cart sequence that captures those people who didn't complete going through your cart. Cart recovery emails can bring in as much as 30% of those lost sales.
Massive lost opportunities everywhere
You also didn't have your Facebook pixel set up, so you can't retarget people who visited your site and advertise to them; your email marketing list wasn't set up correctly, so now you have no idea how to re-engage all those buyers.
Of course, you are cashed up now, so you will be able to invest in someone to do all those things I just mentioned for you, right?
Hmmmmm maybe, but probably not because here is the next hurdle in overnight success.
Not having an understanding of cash flow or having any way to manage it. Your overnight success hits, and your bank account is bussing.
Where are you going to spend all that lovely cash? What you're likely going to do is invest in a heap more inventory and packaging because by this point, you're probably quite low if not sold out entirely, and you think you're going to need it.
But, cool your jets, lady.
You didn't set up any system to re-sell to buyers; you haven't been marketing because your focus was on packing orders, and you stopped your ads because you were running low on stock.
The grinding halt
Now you have tied a massive chunk of your cash flow up, and you can't afford to build in the systems until you get that stock moving again, but stock won't start moving because you don't have what you need in place to continue to grow.
If stock isn't something you need to think about, you have an online offer of some sort, for example. You might be thinking none of this relates to your business.
But, stick with me.
This is where online experts, course creators etc invest in big mastermind groups, expensive coaches, new websites and pricy photo shoots.
Cash flow is gone, you can't recreate that initial buzz or flurry of visitors to your offer, and now you're stuck.
The mastermind didn't pay off, the coach wasn't who you really needed, the new website looks fantastic, but you're not getting any new traffic, and the photoshoot has given you a hundred new Insta images but not a lot else.
If you take nothing else away with you today, please take this… learn how to manage cash flow when there isn't much.
Most business owners will wait until they're making lots of money and it's become a huge worry for them before they learn how to manage it.
By that stage, the risk is so much higher because your expenses have grown, and you're likely reliant on the business to pay you to keep a roof over your head.
Learn the basics when you're small so your knowledge can grow with you; if you don't know how to manage $50k a year, you sure as shite won't be able to handle it at $500k per year.
While we're still talking cash flow… overnight success, and a rapid influx of money with no cash management skills means you're also highly unlikely to be prepared for the tax implications.
Not being ready for big tax bills
If you're totally confused about what taxes you have to pay and when you're not alone. Let's add on top of that a substantial overnight success of a business, and you're heading deep into fat tax bill land.
Here is the most common scenario I see; overnight success hits, leaving a big juicy bank account. The business owner gets very excited about upleveling and starts spending on all the goodies and fun I mentioned earlier; fancy photoshoots, pricey masterminds etc.
On top of that, they start personally taking money from their business without any real plan. They also don't understand what is tax-deductible and what isn't, so they spend money on non-tax-deductible expenses.
There isn't really a problem with any of that; your accountant will take out all the non-tax deductible stuff and just allocate that to your personal income from the business. But it's going to bite you in the (tax) butt.
Big tax bills bite hard
If you haven't also been saving for taxes, then you get hit with a hefty bill; you're either going to have to empty your account to cover the bill and then you're back where you started.
That big overnight success you had isn't quite as exciting anymore. If you don't have the money in your business account to cover the tax bill, you will have to pay that bill off. Here is where it gets tricky, you will have to pay off a bill and put money aside for the next bill.
If you scale your business with a plan, you're going to avoid landing in tax bill hell. You will be understanding how to estimate your tax and what you need to be putting aside each week or month.
$50k per year or $500k?
The mechanism at $50k per year is not too dissimilar to what you will be doing at $500k per year.
Of course, you will likely have a bookkeeper (or you certainly should by that point!), and your accountant will be figuring out the most tax-effective strategies, but it's still up to you to make sure you're on top of the numbers.
It's your business, your responsibility.
I am sure all my tax talk has your stomach churning, and I don't want anyone to hurl their cookies while consuming my content so let's move on to the next hurdle our overnight success gurus are likely to crash in to.
A little self-sabotage, anyone?
When you hit fast success, your potential to self destruct is enormous. If lack of systems, poor tax planning or exhaustion don't get you, your own self-sabotage might.
Getting everything you thought you ever wanted can bring up those self-limiting behaviours or self-sabotage. To avoid being your businesses own worst enemy, think about up-leveling instead of overnight success.
I am not someone who was taught to dream big, so overnight success would freak the fudge out of me. Instead, I am a conscious up-leveler.
Focus on making small, consistent improvements month after month, so you're always creating your own new normal.
It's much easier to create a new normal of $10k per month instead of $8k than it is to give yourself financial whiplash by jumping from $8k a month to say.. $50k a month overnight.
When a win = disaster
Let me pull out one of my interesting stats; 70 per cent of lotto winners are broke within five years. Why? Because they went from nothing to a lot very quickly, and it was overwhelming.
They stop watching their pennies, they splash out on lavish properties that require a lot of money to maintain, they give generously to family and friends, and they have no idea how to use their windfall to make more money.
Overnight success is like a lotto win; you think you hit the jackpot, but you will likely end up back in the same position in no time.
A worse place than they started from
Here is an unfortunate fact about lotto wins, one-third of winners will end up in a worse position than before they won. As a result, they will end up declaring bankruptcy, with many saying they wish it had never happened to them.
I know we all like to think that hitting the jackpot would set us up for life, that we would be the smart ones and know how to hold on to our wealth, but even the most brilliant cookies can get caught out if they don't know how to manage their coins.
Finally, let's all agree that what looks like overnight success from the outside might be years and years of hard work behind the scenes.
Those that hit the business jackpot maybe just weren't in your line of sight, or people didn't take notice of them until they were a huge success. I have no doubt there are more than just a few of those around!
Grow your business step by step, scale up month by month and focus on longevity and sustainability; that is where true business success and profit lies.