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The Encore Entrepreneur



Episode 3: Success Equals Doing Whatever It Takes

Success is relative to who you are, where you are in business, and what your goals are. But there's one truth to being successful, and that is that you must be committed to doing whatever it takes to get you there. Deirdre Harter and Carmen Reed-Gilkison discuss some variables of success, common limiting beliefs we encounter, and how to keep you focus on your goal while also being able to execute every step of the way.

Carmen Reed-Gilkison: [00:00:00] Success is a commitment to doing whatever it takes to achieve the result. Period. You know, we run into our clients all the time, or people out there who really want things right now! We live in a world of instant gratification and everyone thinks that, you know, if I start doing these things, I'm going to see the results right away and it really doesn't work that way. Success is a process and a journey, and I like what you talk about a lot, Deirdre, to our clients and in our Facebook group that when you do something at one certain period of time, like, let's say, the first of the month in June, well, you're not going to see the results of what you're doing that month of June until 90 days later, right? Everything takes time to build and work and give you the result of your actions.

Deirdre Harter: [00:00:53] Yeah, I do and it depends on what we're talking about, while there are certain things that you could certainly see a result from quickly like you can put a post in and see if people are commenting, right? So you know, that's something that you can get the quick hit. You can get a bunch of likes, you know, a bunch of comments below. So people think that that's how everything works in business, but it depends on what area of business and what we're talking about. And I think too it's really tied to the level of results that you're looking for. You know, getting some engagement on a post, that's kind of a small result, right? It's not huge. I mean, yes, it could go viral and you could get five hundred, but in general, that doesn't happen. And then when we're talking about getting a bigger result, like signing three new clients or increasing our revenue by 50 percent, that's a bigger result. And that bigger result is going to take more time. And I think that's where people kind of they don't think of it that way. They think, OK, well, I can do some of these other things and it's and it's fast and easy, and I get a result pretty quick. So everything should be that way in business, but it really isn't.

Carmen Reed-Gilkison: [00:02:08] Yeah, I agree. And I like to think about the runway. You know, the bigger the thing that you're trying to achieve, the longer the runway for it. And that's why business is a multi-pronged approach. You know, to have a successful business means you have to focus on what's happening today and you have to future-cast where you want to be. And you know, we always work with our clients to help them do that, to help them set their goals for three years out, two years out, one year out. And then we reverse engineer it because you have to be able to break it down and know the steps to take to get to those big results. And then when you do that, you have a metric to gauge that you're actually doing it. So when we work with our clients, we're able to break those things down. Then they're able to see what steps do I take today that will help me get my result for this week? That will help me get my result for this month. That will help me get my result for this quarter. And I think that's a big key piece of it as well.

Deirdre Harter: [00:03:05] It is, and it's really about learning to think in different time frames. For example, you have to be doing "the dailies," is what I like to call them. Those are the things you have to do every day. You have to check your email and you have to check to look for new messages on social media. And you have to, you know, update your budget. And you know, there's all these different things that have to be done daily or maybe even weekly. But sometimes we get so busy doing those things that we forget that we have to build in the things that we're not going to see a result from for a while. But it has to be that mix. You have to if you if you're always in the day-to-day, you're just going to spin. You're just going to spin your wheels and you're going to stay in the same place. And then if you go the other direction and you're only doing things that you're not going to see a result like, say, I'm going to build out this brand new program and I'm going to spend all my time and focus on it for the next month, well then you're missing the things that you need to happen between now and when that goes live six months from now. So it really has to be this balance of doing the things that have to get done every day on the maintenance level. Doing the things that are going to move your business toward those longer-term goals and having the strategy to know what are those things that I'm supposed to be doing to do to maintain both sides of it?

Carmen Reed-Gilkison: [00:04:33] Yeah, and strategy is the key. That's why that's what we focus on is because it's just you just painted the perfect picture, right? Like, someone decides I'm going to create a course or a program and they get all excited because, you know, it is fun when you when you've thought of something that you think is going to really serve your audience, you want to bring it out into the world. And it's really easy to dive into all that creation and do all the things and get busy with that. And what colors and what's the branding for this thing? And what's my messaging and how am I going to get them the result? And that could take you a lot of focus time, and that's a big project. But you can't just focus on that even if it's the most fun thing that you have on your plate, you have to build in the strategy so that you're still communicating with all your clients or your the people that follow you on social media or in your group or your email list or whatever. And the best way that we found to do this is to bring them along the journey with you. Like when you're creating something brand new, you can't do it in a vacuum. You know, you've got to do it with the validation that it is exactly what those people want. And so what better way than to tell them, Hey, I'm this process of this new program that I'm creating requires me to figure out A, B and C. What do you think about this? You know, people love to give their advice, and I think that's a great way to encourage engagement and to keep you in the here and now as well as working on this thing that's going to be in the future.

Deirdre Harter: [00:06:07] Mm hmm. Yeah, that's exactly right, Carmen. And when you when you understand all the bigger strategy, like, that's again, why we talk about strategy, but really, it's about understanding, where do we need to be in three years from now? And what do we need to be doing in three years? What does that look like? And then that reverse engineering process you were talking about is then figuring out, OK, how do we structure things now to where it will look like that? It won't look like that now, but we want it to look like that in three years. Some of those things I know that we've been working on in our own company here is the standard operating procedures. You know, that's one of those pieces where it's hard to do that because we know we need to focus on sales and marketing because that's the lifeblood of your business, right? You've got to have the income coming in to keep everything going. So sometimes it feels really hard to do something like an SOP, which you're like that is not urgent. It's not something we need today. However, it becomes urgent later if you're not doing it as you go. And so I know we've built that time in that even though we feel like we should be doing these other things that, you know, bring in more results faster now. We're going to thank ourselves in a year from now when we have those in place, because this whole strategy is the fact that you can you can't do all the things by yourself. You've got to have help as you grow and scale your business.

Deirdre Harter: [00:07:40] So, in order to do that, you have to have these procedures in place because how are you going to have somebody come in and help you? If you don't have it all written down, they're not going to magically know - they can have all the experience in the world, but they don't know how you do it and how it needs to be done for your company. And so those are the kinds of things that a lot of people miss, and they put it off and put it off until all of a sudden they're like, I've got to get some help in here because I'm going to lose my mind. I'm not. I can't. I'm working 100 hours a week and now it's an emergency. And so then it just kind of spirals out of control and then they get the person to help and they're like, Well, I don't have time to tell you what to do, so just do this thing. So it just goes on and on and on. So that's where this whole, that's why we're talking about this is we want you to to understand how this all works together and why this balancing and looking to the future and kind of laying out that whole path of not just goals, not just goals and milestones. Well, actually goals, but you've got to put those milestones in place and then you have to make sure that the steps to get to the milestones are in place as well.

Carmen Reed-Gilkison: [00:08:53] Yeah. And one way to think about that that we like to share and teach our clients is that you look at who are you going to be? It's not just what are your goals in three years? Who do you need to be in three years to have attained that goal, right? So, you can't keep doing the same things you're doing today and be that person you envision yourself or have that business that you envision in three years. The same things will not be happening because that would mean you're not making any changes. So when we reverse engineer the impact that that has is you look at, OK, let's say you want in three years, I'm going to triple the revenue of my business and whatever that means to you, that means do you need a team? Are you going to have a business partner? Are you going to have a PR agency? I mean, whatever those pieces are in that business that you envision three years from now, you need to start putting the foundation together today for that. And I think what happens, it's really easy as solopreneurs because most of the people that we work with and a lot of the online world are solopreneurs. And so they get, you know, it doesn't, they think, Well, I'm not nearly ready for that. So why, why even pay attention to that stuff? Like it's a lot of work to run a business. I mean, there's nothing easy about it, right? There's so much to do.

Carmen Reed-Gilkison: [00:10:16] And so when they think about, well, I have to get the sales and marketing done, I need to get more clients. I need to create this thing. I need to do this, that and the other thing. SOPs are always probably the bottom of the list. But it comes into again that strategy and strategy covers not only what you're going to be doing and growing and how you're going to do that, but it covers your day-to-day like there are ways that we can help you and we help our clients put together the strategy so that you do carve out that time. So that when you're doing something, you can ensure that that SOP is being developed as you do it. Because, like Deirdre said, someone comes suddenly you hit the mother lode and you've got all these clients and people are clamoring for your time and attention in those zones of genius that only you can be in. Well, you're going to need that help. And if you haven't developed that standard operating procedure to bring someone in, then that that slows you down even more. And we've experienced this where we've brought people in before and had not had anything created for them because we thought, No problem, we'll just show them. But my gosh, that just slows you so far down and then you're really in trouble. So strategy just applies to so many different parts of the business, and success is not something that you achieve on your own.

Deirdre Harter: [00:11:38] That's right. Yeah. And to get back to that, you know how we started out this conversation talking about success as a commitment to doing whatever it takes to achieve the result. And so we talked about, you know, what is the result? Like we're all pretty good with that, right? We are we all know what the brass ring looks like, where we want to go, what we want to have like we're good there. And then the whatever it takes part, let's talk about that is, you know, that's the things you have to do to get there. And it can't be Well, I don't want to do this thing like, Oh, I don't want to let's let's just say that you have a the result you want to get is that you want to have a million dollar company. But then you say, but I don't want to have employees. And I don't want to have to supervise anybody. I don't want to have to work with anybody. Well, then you're not doing whatever it takes. Because that is what it takes. So it's really about understanding. Do you really know what it's going to take to get the result that you want? Because if you're not committed to doing that, then you're not going to get the result. So that's really that's what it comes down to is knowing first, what does it take to get there? Because sometimes we just don't know. And then the other piece of it is, am I willing to do that? If that's what it takes? Am I willing? Am I committed? And how am I going to keep doing it until I get there?

Carmen Reed-Gilkison: [00:13:09] Yeah, I love that. Commitment is the big part of it right there AND doing whatever it takes like those are the keys. So, you know, you can't say that, OK, I have learned from this expert this certain area of my business. So now I already know this certain area of my business, and I don't need to learn from anyone else, right? You can say that if you're getting the results. But if you're not getting the result, you can't go well I already did something so and it didn't work, so I'm not going to do it again. It's like, you know, the commitment to doing whatever it takes. And that means facing the fact that sometimes we make investments and the biggest education we got out of them was that it was an expensive lesson, right? Or, that you tried something two, three, and four times and it didn't work, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't try it the fifth time. We like to talk about the cycles of learning, and I think this is it's a key thing that people don't think about or realize. When they're on this extreme growth program that entrepreneurship is, and that is when you're learning something new and when you become an entrepreneur, you have your expertise. But your expertise, unless you're a business guru, isn't business, right? So your expertise is one piece of the pie and you need to learn now the other 10 pieces of the pie.

Carmen Reed-Gilkison: [00:14:37] And that means there's going to be mistakes. There's going to be, you know, twists and turns in your journey. Your journey isn't going to be a straight line. So you have to be committed to whatever it takes and you have to keep doing it. And what happens is you learn what your brain is able to take in of whatever it is. Let's say copywriting, you take a copywriting course, you practice copywriting and you get a certain level of familiarity with it and you reach a certain level of competence. Well, that doesn't mean that your whole copywriting education is over now. Because as you then put it, to use in your business and you move forward and you scale and you grow, you're going to have to be more sophisticated with copywriting. So then here comes another level. And so the cycles of learning is really up-leveling. As you learn one base element, you're able and willing to then learn the next, but you can't start from nothing and learn it all. And I think people forget about that. They think if they take this one thing, that's going to tell them what they need and they don't ever have to take another thing again. And it's just not the reality of the situation.

Deirdre Harter: [00:15:44] Yeah. And there's another piece of this. It's the it's the financial part of it. And. We talk about, you know, committing to do what it takes, we'll learn what we need to learn and we'll do the work, but let's talk for a minute about the money side of it. Because success requires certain things in your business and it takes money to run a business. I mean, you can yes, you can start out, you know, bootstrapping it. But there's going to come a point where you've got to be able to pay for things and you can't just keep doing bootstrapping forever because you're limiting your own growth. It's sort of like a, you know, it's a catch twenty-two, like if you don't put money in the business, the business isn't going to grow. And if the business isn't growing, you're not going to have any money, right? So you're kind of like in a rock and a hard place. And this is where that commitment to doing whatever it takes comes in. Because sometimes the commitment is to pay for the thing you need, whether it's to get the help that you need through having an assistant or a contractor or someone to provide a service for you because it's not something you know, you keep trying to learn it over and over again, and it just isn't working.

Deirdre Harter: [00:16:56] Like if you've been trying to build a website on your own and you, you keep spending all this time doing it and you're not really getting a good result out of it. It's just because it's not your area, it's not your zone of genius and you need somebody who is. I spent many years working with business owners where the reason that I they worked with me was because, you know, accounting was not their friend, you know, you know, it was just not it's not what they were good at it. It's like, and I would tell them, You go do what you do and you go make the money doing what you do and then let us take care of the reporting and the taxes and things. Because why should you spend 10 times as much time and energy trying to learn this thing when you could just go out, make money and then pay us to do it? And so that's that's kind of like that's actually kind of a mindset piece, Carmen is thinking through this strategically on I need to have certain things and I need to get the money to pay for those things and then making that commitment to, well, what are you going to do to get the money to pay for those things?

Carmen Reed-Gilkison: [00:17:58] Yeah, I agree, Deirdre. And the thing is too when people are stuck in that and we hear this a lot, you know, I've spent so much time and money learning and investing in courses and programs before, and I will just figure out how to make the money so that then I can pay for your program. We've heard that several times. And this is backwards thinking and flawed because if you could do that, you would be doing that. And so when you are committed to doing whatever it takes, it means that you also are committed to being realistic. I mean, you are going to just be slowing yourself down if you're just trying to piece together all of these courses that you've taken to come up with the answer that is your golden ring and the the thing that's going to, you know, suddenly bring in all the money. It's just not going to happen that way. You've got to get guidance. Whether it is guidance from us or guidance from someone else. It's like you are looking at the things that you you need to invest in your gaps, right? So copyrighting is a gap - when you're a solopreneur, you I honestly believe that you should learn how to do these things. I think people should learn how to understand website design and the basics. They don't have to be the one that builds it, but they better learn so that when they have to hire someone down the road, they know what they're talking about. And also so that you're able to do something like update a sales page. Or, you know, enough about copywriting and what goes behind it to be able to communicate through writing in your social media posts or on that sales page. I can't tell you the amount of times where I was in a program where we were learning how to do something new that that involved a launch,

Carmen Reed-Gilkison: [00:19:49] and there were people in that program who were completely dead in the water because they were relying on a contractor of theirs who did the copywriting, the sales page or the website who happened to be on vacation out of town or whatever. And that costs that person, whatever money they would have been making because they didn't know those basics. And so I think it's really important to invest in your gaps. And in the beginning, when you're a brand new entrepreneur, your gaps are plenty, right? So you do need to invest. You do need to learn. I mean, we go to school through all of our lives and there are MBA programs and there are doctors. Doctors go to school, lawyers go to school. All these people invest in their college education and their degrees so that then they're able to do their profession. And then people come into the entrepreneurial world and it's like, I'm just going to learn how to do this bootstrapping the whole way, just like you're talking about and they don't take it seriously. Like you need to invest whatever you can. And if it's not money, if you're if you are bootstrapping, then it's time, and you have to be OK with that. So we're not saying that you can't figure it out because we've figured it out, but I'm going to tell you that the five years of stumbling around in the dark and trying to put all those things that I learned in a course in several courses together to equal something I can't say they're wasted because it was a great education, but I would have gotten so much farther, so much faster with the right guidance.

Deirdre Harter: [00:21:18] Yeah, so that's a great point, Carmen. So I think the key takeaway is what we wanted to bring about to have you think about going forward is that really look at and define for yourself what is success for you? What does that mean and what is the result? How do you know when you're successful? That's the result, right? What is it that indicates, Oh, now I'm a success? And we're not talking about success is a journey, you know, and it takes a long time and we're never truly off of it. And and that's not what I mean, that's true, but what we're really talking about is this idea of we hear it all the time. I want to be I want to have a successful business. So what does that mean, exactly? You know, take the time to define that for yourself, and it can be multiple things. It can be an amount of money that you're earning. It can be the impact that you're making. It could be the clients that you're serving, the products you're selling, whatever that looks like for you. And then ask yourself, do I know what it takes to achieve that result? And if the answer is No, not 100 percent, then that's where you need to focus. Focus on what is it going to take and outline that plan. You know, where do I, where do I not know what it takes or do I need to get some help? Do I need to get some guidance and helping me figure out I've done all these things and I'm not there yet? And and you know, you can't keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result, right? So take a hard, good, hard look at that. And then that third thing is, am I really committed? Am I committed to doing whatever it takes? And then that means if you fail, if you fall down, if you get tired, if it doesn't work, you're still going to get up and do it again, right? That's what commitment means.

Deirdre Harter: [00:23:11] It means you are going to keep doing it. You're not going to stop. As long as you have breath in your body, you're going to keep going, you're going to keep doing the thing. And if the thing and you're never going to get it right, 100 percent of the time, none of us ever do. We get a whole lot better. Our percentage of hitting it on the nail on the head gets way better over time and with practice. But just know you're never going to get it all right and you may have to go at it again and again and again. And the one other point I wanted to bring up in this is that sometimes when things don't work or we're not getting the result, we think that we have to burn the whole thing down and just like start from scratch. But I caution you not to do that because a lot of the time all you really have to do is get the right strategy in place or fine-tune what you already have. Sometimes we're really close to success, but we have a hard time seeing it. Because if you don't have the experience of having been there, done that, you don't know that you're close and you don't know that you've almost got it right. And that's where expert guidance comes in and can help you and keep you from burning the house down when really all you have to do is make one minor adjustment, and then all of a sudden everything's going to work.

Carmen Reed-Gilkison: [00:24:31] That's right. And you know, I want to also throw this in here. Success looks different for different people, and success looks different when you're in entrepreneurship for different times, right? So someone in year one, their success might be to sell their first course. Someone in year 10 might be to triple their revenue. So when we talk about that we help our clients with future-casting and reverse engineering. We do that because we want people to always be looking forward. To be looking for who they do want to be, who do you want to become, and then you are able to build those steps in so that you know what success looks like for you for that first year and that first year's success is going to give you what you need to then do that second year's success and that second year's success is going to lead to your third year goal. But along the way, you don't just make those goals and start working it and and everything falls into place. You know, you're going to have to pivot, you're going to have to look at it, you're going to have to change. But as long as you are doing what you need to do and you're committed to doing whatever it takes, you're going to do it and just make sure that you don't compare your year one with someone's year 10 and say, Well, I saw them do this and they got this result. How come I'm not? I mean, there's that whole thing that applies as well, and the cycles of learning applies to that, you know, you're at one level, they're at another. Don't don't confuse the two.

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