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Get a Grip (And Some GRIT): A Business Strategy for Survival

by | Sep 2, 2020 | Business | 0 comments

The Backlog

Some would say that success is just luck, being in the right place, right time.

That may be true for the select few, but that’s not the case for most. I know for certain that’s not been my experience, nor the experience of my fellow entrepreneurs.

I’ve never been afraid of work, but after working 2-3 jobs with 40-80 hour weeks for several years, I was tired. Tired of working for other people, especially. So I decided to jump out on pretty much blind faith and work for myself. At 21 years old, with a baby on the way, this was a scary jump, to say the least.

The reality was, I was always willing to work hard, but would rather be building something that belonged to me instead of building someone else’s dream.

My first venture was in one of the most powerful business models one can get their feet wet in: Network Marketing.sharla

For the next 7 years, I achieved some fairly decent success, brokering legal services and building a team of 1,000 agents across the U.S. I built some of the most amazing relationships, learned a ton, and honed in on many incredible skills that still serve me to this very day.

In those days, the methodology of sales was professed to me as “the way” and “the only way.” It was getting stale to me; I wanted to achieve more and provide more ways for my agents to achieve.

To say curiosity got the best of me would be an understatement. I spent hours, days & weeks studying from all the great internet marketing gurus. Learning all about digital lead gen., micro-continuity programs, funnel systems, blogging, and beyond.

I even learned how to build websites from the ground up, all via YouTube. I made a few sites of my own just to play around. But when word hit the streets of this new skill I was building, several folks reached out to see if I would build their site.

Looking back, those sites were horrible…but they started me on a path whose direction was completely unknown to me at that point in time.

The beauty of legit Networking Marketing companies with pay structures that offer residuals: the thought process of walking away to do something else doesn’t seem like a huge risk.

So, you guessed it, I stopped actively brokering agents and selling legal insurance policies, but my team kept doing their thing.

Gravity Junction was born in 2007.

Business Allergies

With no real long-term plan or detailed business strategy, the first few years were all about digging in to see where I wanted to take things.

I worked solo for a handful of years, how exhausting that was.

I eventually built out a small team and that was way more fun & successful.

I’ve made a shit ton of mistakes, had some minor success, but I have truly helped others more than myself, for the most part.

It’s easy to see how I could coach another business owner, set up a marketing plan for their business, totally brand (or rebrand) other companies, all while not focusing on my own, which used to be the case. I do find true value and meaning in my own life helping others, but it’s not much of anything if we aren’t treating ourselves as great as we treat our clients.

Entrepreneurship can be much like a disease, or maybe more like having an intense allergy of sorts…

  • ALLERGIC to working for someone else
  • ALLERGIC to not making time & creating space that fosters creating new ideas on the regular
  • ALLERGIC to NOT being able to do what you want, when you want
  • ALLERGIC to executing all the great ideas you have
  • ALLERGIC to implementing the very things you coach your clients to do to be successful

Trust me when I tell you, but you probably already know…

there is NO allergy pill to fix that mess.

I have to thank my husband for helping me to clear up all these allergies and my parents for being great examples of self-made millionaires who have shown nothing but a great work ethic and the importance of surrounding themselves with a team to make it all happen.

In an effort to shave time off your learning curve, I’m bearing it all here, so hopefully, you don’t have to copy any of my mistakes and achieve your own success faster!

“Why waste time making your own mistakes when you can learn from those who’ve come before you?!?!”  John Gardner

Ok, and for real now, the bandaid comes off…

10 Mistakes I Made in Business

  1. Hiring incompetent bookkeepers.
  2. Not finding a CPA who gave a crap.
  3. Not having S.O.P.’s (standard operating procedures).
  4. Relying on the mind-reading powers of those around me.
  5. Not using tools to streamline processes and make life easier.
  6. Trying to manage too much on my own. #ControlFreak
  7. Making moves out of fear.
  8. Spoiling my clients without due compensation.
  9. Giving shit away for free.
  10. Not being thankful enough.

Some of these hurdles I still have to assign mental energy to ensure the mistake isn’t made again, the rest are running on autopilot.

Maybe you’ve had similar mistakes in your business journey or maybe they were widely different. No matter how dissimilar, the truth is, success is a journey where mistakes will be made. If you aren’t making mistakes, you are probably doing something super safe and not taking risks you wish you were.

It’s schools & our parents (not mine thankfully) that taught us from a young age that failure is bad. FAILURE ISN’T BAD; IT’S JUST A PART OF THE PROCESS. No one made you feel bad as an infant when you fell down hundreds of times in the process of you learning to walk…because parents know, falling down is a part of the process. Yet, the mistakes beyond those first failures are judged so harshly we try to avoid them like the plague. Who gives a shit? I don’t see monuments being built or legacies left behind by perfect people; quite the opposite, they all took massive risks, were willing to fail, and still succeeded.

Here’s what I know to be true, the exact things I’ve done over the last ten years to bring Gravity Junction to where we are today and progress forward with rocket fuel.

5 Action Items

Got a Bigger Vision.
Instead of just taking each day as it came, our success is greatly due to short and long-term goals set and a clear vision of the team, our culture, and our clients.
When any choice or idea is thrown our way, we are now able to bounce that against the vision to see if it’s going to take us closer to that vision.

Surround myself with great mentors, partners & team.
Paid consultants, authors, workshop leaders & even digital video mentors have been a blessing to the entrepreneurial journey. Staying in student-mode keeps me open to the information that could help me personally & professionally grow. I will never be done learning.

Partners. They aren’t easy, and most will let you down. It’s worth a shot to find the right one, and if it fails, just take the lessons you learned along the way.

Finally, my team. There is no question that the success the company has is due to the incredible efforts, experience, and talents our team has. Teams grow and shrink, some staying longer than others; they are all a part of the journey regardless of their tenure with the company. Working with people is one of the greatest skills that any person, especially a business owner, can learn. Circumnavigating different personalities, empowering autonomy, and finding that balance between not micro-managing while holding onto high standards is critical.

Valued the shit out of my team.business-strategy
We would be nowhere without the team. It’s been important for me to articulate that very message, letting people know the value they bring to the table and recognizing their importance. When you value your team they will value you. Let’s be real, though; everyone is going to slip up every now and again. If you’ve poured into your team, praised them, given them accolades, you are making virtual “positive deposits” that make the tough conversations a touch easier. There will be many “positive deposits” when you have to make that occasional withdrawal.

Set fair pricing.
This has taken much time over the past few years. When you are selling a service, not a physical product, I find it can be widely challenging to set pricing that works for the company & the clients.

I can tell you this, though. Elevating our cheap services to reasonably priced ones helped customers understand the real value of our work. Sell your stuff on the cheap and people can treat you like you’re less than valuable. Charging higher, yet fair, prices mentally sets a standard for your services & your team; people start treating you differently.

Started saying NO more.
In the beginning, we said yes to everyone that could afford us. For us, this was detrimental several times over. We found ourselves working with clients who hardly paid us anything, we’re high maintenance, and devalued our work and team.

We were accepting clients based out of fear: fear of paying the bills, fear of not knowing when the next client would come along. Not a great way to build a customer base or a company.

We shifted our sales process, only taking on clients we felt weren’t going to be a pain in the ass, could afford us, and would value us.

In the meantime, some of those lower-paying, cheap, high maintenance, rude clients we kicked out the door. Talk about feeling free; when you fire a client, albeit not a fun process, it’s super empowering. Like protecting your child from a bully, you are protecting your company and team in the same way.

Saying “no” creates space for the incredible clients you can say yes to, and you know it’s a mutually beneficial business relationship.

4 Keys to Success

Oddly enough, even before Covid-19, actually, since inception, we’ve been a 100% remote team. Implementing these 5 things has created a culture with our team like none other; it’s pretty amazing actually.

Long before, during, and to this day, I have found the following 4 keys that have helped to unlock any challenge I’m faced with.

  1. Massive Communication
    Clients need communication and your team deserves it. COMMUNICATE, over-communicate, and communicate some more!
  2. Punctuality & Reliability
    Being late is rude. #dontberude Being on time lets people know you value them. None of us will ever get time back, so this is a commodity that deserves respect. Be on time, or how about be early!
    Punctuality is one aspect of being reliable, but being reliable really means “do what you say you are going to do.” You may fall short a time or two, we all do, but that’s when communication is key, to work through that shortcoming.
  3. Be Kind
    Seems obvious, but clearly not everyone adheres to this simple key. Nice goes a long way. There are times to put your foot down. Be brash and stand up for something in a less-than-kind way, but not often. Kill those bees with a touch of honey. (yes, I’m from the south so had to throw that in there)
  4. GRIT
    This, my friend, can’t be taught. You either have GRIT, or you don’t. Grit is the internal fire that burns, that pushes you to get up early, stay up late, and to keep fighting for whatever it is you are running after. Grit is what makes you bounce back after being pushed down ten times. Grit is what makes you a consummate student who strives for improvement every day. Grit is what will compel you to keep reaching for the stars and achieving your dreams.

I may not have a college degree but I do, for certain, have GRIT.

I end with the 4 Keys to Success, and with GRIT in particular. You may not remember any of the content about this list, and that’s ok. If you can tap into the GRIT that I know lies deep within, you will be just fine; you will find all the success and joy that you deserve.

CHEERS TO THE GRIT IN YOU!

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