I remember a seminal moment in my entrepreneurial journey when I crossed over from being completely at the mercy of my business—as well as the economy, the seasons, and other people’s business referrals—to becoming the boss of my business.
It had taken me years of painstaking effort, ingenuity, and experience before I had finally created the kind of business that worked FOR me instead of one that was running me ragged just to stay afloat.
And achieving success my way came with its own level of satisfaction; It felt amazing that I finally had complete control over who I worked with, how much I charged, and how many hours I worked. I had built the confidence that I could make as much money as I wanted and grow my business in any number of directions of my choosing.
And it was at this high point in my entrepreneurial journey that a mental image appeared and has stayed with me ever since… of levers.
It appeared to me as a literal still image in my mind of actual levers I had seen before. They actually looked exactly like those old-timey knobs you pull on pinball machines.
I started picturing my business with all these physical lever/pinball knobs, which I could choose from and pull any time I wanted or needed. Except that instead of points, I could move mountains in my business with them.
Start Calling The Shots Like You Own The Place
Everything had come into focus: Having the business of my dreams simply came down to deciding what I wanted to happen. All I ever had to do now was choose a goal, write a plan and then execute it and voila! Whatever amount of money I wanted to make, or however much I wanted to decrease my workload, I saw it all as a matter of just pulling the right lever.
I was no longer crossing my fingers, trying random things here and there hoping they would work out. I now knew they would work; I just had to decide that they would.
It was December 2014 when I first took advantage of the levers. That was the first time I had complete clarity around how much I had to charge in order to have the life I wanted. Rather than continue charging what I thought people would pay me, I based my price goals on what I wanted and needed to live the lifestyle I wanted. That’s when I decided I had to increase the price of my service (The Brandup) from $3,000 to $10,000.
This number, $10,000, seemed outrageous at the time. On the other hand, armed with my levers image, it felt within reach for the first time. I could imagine specific levers (or actions) I could use, as well as the results I could reasonably expect by pulling them.
So instead of wishing and hoping it would eventually just happen, I made a plan to make it happen.
I would increase the price by $500 in January and then another $500 in February, bringing it $4,000. In order to do that, I was going to need to figure out how I could make my service more valuable to clients so they’d be willing to pay more. I’d also have to find new prospects as I priced myself out of the previous groups.
I didn’t know exactly how I would increase my value or find new people with higher budgets, but coming up with ideas was the clear next step.
Not everything I tried worked, but even the things that didn’t work helped me come up with other ideas that did. For example: paying for marketing services from other agencies didn’t get us more premium prospects, but writing tons of articles and marketing content did! Once they hired us, additions like providing our clients with all the raw files from the project (and at no cost to us) were easy ways to increase the value clients received.
As long as I was staying focused and committed to my ultimate goal, everything I tried took me in the right direction.
Becoming The Boss And Then Some…
Something that had seemed outrageous in December was my new reality by the following summer.
I continued to add value to my offer, to my credibility, to my authority, and I continued to raise the price of my service by about $1,000 every month. In May, I raised it to $7,000, and nobody blinked. By June, it was $8,000. And in July, I got impatient and blurted out “$10,000” to the next potential client that asked. They hired us on the spot.
And in the process, I learned that it didn’t happen by wishing for it. And it didn’t even happen by knowing exactly how to make it happen. It happened because I set the goal and put all my focus and effort into figuring out how to make it happen. I would start by pulling the levers I knew I had that were right in front of me, and each time I pulled one, it would lead to another, getting me closer and closer to my goal.
And once I hit my goal, it didn’t stop! Because I had found this lever system, there was no reason to not keep going and going and going… I was going to yank these levers until they all broke off!
Since then, my levers have gotten even stronger for two simple reasons:
- I practice pulling levers all the time, so I’ve built tons of confidence that it works.
- I’ve continually worked on my offer, visibility, and authority, which make those levers mightier and more powerful year over year.
Last year I made a heavy investment in my business (about $100,000), and when I started to get nervous, I decided I would like to make some quick cash to ease my mind. I started looking for a lever to pull by asking myself, “What is the fastest, least time-intensive way I can make the most money possible right now?” I came up with a few ideas, picked the best, and within two weeks had closed $50,000 of business, doing something that wasn’t even on my radar before I decided to look for the right lever to pull. Nine months later, I did the same thing and made four times as much.
I am able to do this because I have practice pulling my business’ levers and the confidence I will get results. And I’m able to do it at these financial levels because I continually strengthen my reputation of authority. But in order to get to these levels of income and authority, you have to first build confidence that you can, in fact, pull levers in your business to make things happen.
In a recent episode of my podcast, Show Your Business Who’s Boss, I interviewed Amanda Silver, whom I had the pleasure of coaching through this transformation over the past year. Amanda is a leadership consultant, coach, and trainer for social change leaders and organizations who has been successfully consulting for 10 years. But it wasn’t until she changed how she showed up in her business and started looking for those levers she could pull to grow her business the way she wanted, that she transitioned from always being stressed about where business was coming from to finally feeling like she was in the driver’s seat and could actually make things happen simply by pulling the right levers.
And on top of that, she can now spend more time and focus delivering value for clients because she’s not wasting time looking for clients because she doesn’t know how to pull the levers to get them.
The Boss Life Is Nice
Making the transition to seeing the levers in your business can have a profound impact on not just your business, but also your family and entire life.
Recently Steve and I had been entertaining the idea of sending our toddler to Montessori school. Living in Brooklyn, there are endless options, but of course, when we took the tours, I fell in love with the most expensive one. I’m talking twice the price of the other places. College will probably be less expensive!
Now, most people (myself from a few years ago included) would either decide it’s an exorbitant and unnecessary expense or start to look for places to cut expenses in our personal life to pay for it.
Me? I prefer to have my cake and eat it too. I just have to find which lever I need to pull.
The beauty of seeing the levers is that once you see that they exist, you can never unsee them. Once you see them, doing activities like setting dreams and writing goals can become an almost overwhelming experience because you know if you’re really serious about them, they will absolutely happen.
Want to start looking at your business through the lever-pulling looking glass? Start Showing Your Business Who’s Boss with my free *(for now) Crash Course HERE.