Join our free Facebook Group for Agency Owners: http://altagency.com/group
Right before Christmas we held our annual team meeting.
It was 2 days of planning 2021 and some fun team activities like trivia and a virtual escape room.
I had the opportunity to share with my team, my top 10 lessons and takeaways from a record year for us.
I thought it might be helpful and useful to share those with you so I put together a video walking through the most important things I learned from finally hitting a 7-figure cash collected year.
Comment and let me know the one that sticks with you the most.
Transcript / MP3
In this video, I'm going to share my top 10 lessons from this year a year in which we broke a million dollars in revenue in cash collected in our business. And I just shared these 10 lessons and takeaways with my team in our annual team meeting. And I thought it would be helpful for you to check them out as well. So hopefully they can provide some vision or clarity as to key things that you might need to consider as you try to grow your business to the next level. Let's dive in. ...
Welcome back everybody. Greg Hickman here with all [email protected] And if you are new here, go ahead and click that subscribe button because we drop a new video every single Thursday. Now, uh, last week, uh, I guess you can get it up here or up there. Uh, I shared a video, um, kind of detailing our journey to having our first seven figure a year. I didn't do it to brag. I did it because we had a lot of ups and downs. If you watched that video, in some cases, we went backwards and I actually think that is more like the real path that a lot of people take when they do eventually get to the illustrious seven-figure goal. But, uh, we just had our annual team meeting and we obviously wanted to celebrate. We obviously wanted to plan and we have much bigger goals for the new year.
Uh, but I took them through 10 kind of lessons and takeaways that I kind of encapsulated the year for me. Now, one thing that we do with our clients each and every quarter, we host a session called the fireside chat where I share the top 10 lessons from the last 90 days. So we've been doing that for the last three or so years. So we have a good kind of, I guess, archive of lessons that we've learned each and every quarter for the last few years. So I spent some time digging through all of those from this year and added some new ones. And that's what I wanted to share with you guys today. So hopefully you find this useful, leave a comment below and let me know, uh, what you find, uh, as your biggest lesson or your takeaway that you're going to carry with you into 2021.
And really you just need one. You just need that one nugget. And if you are not in our free Facebook group, by the way, check that out in the link below all agency.com for slash group. And, uh, we do live training there every single week and share content. And there's a bunch of other agency owners, creative service providers, just like you that are looking to learn, grow their business and escape kind of working nights and weekends. So we hope to see you in there. All right, so these are my lessons learned from this year. Let's dive in. So lesson number one is that a lack of strategy means you will try everything. So this really hits home for me. If you watch the last video where you saw our revenue go up down, up from 2017 to now that had a lot do with a lack of strategy.
And really the number of times we abandoned the strategy that we had. What's funny. I was just telling my team, if you look at our business now to what our business looked like in 2018, almost all of the same ingredients are there. It was just, our focus got taken away and focused on other things, and which prevented us from really growing the team that allowed us to hit the goals that we hit this year. So if you find yourself in kind of a feast or famine type of situation, it's likely the fact that you don't really have a strategy. And that means you'll take any client that comes your way. You're doing one thing for one client, something different for another, and kind of creating predictability and harnessing systems and bringing on the right team to help you grow that to the next level is really difficult.
So the moral of the story is if all you're ever doing is throwing new stuff against the wall, hoping it'll stick. You're probably going to spend a lot of time just throwing a bunch of stuff on the wall, and nothing's ever going to stick. You need to zone in and hone in on something specific so that you can follow through on it and also follow through on it for longer than 90 days. Like I know 90 days is a great planning tool and we all use the 12 week year, the 90 day year. And you know, Q1, Q2, like those are all there for a reason, but they're there to build up to a bigger thing. You can't completely change your vision every quarter or else. You're never going to make any sort of progress. So lack of strategy to recap, that means you'll try everything and that's not going to get you there.
Number two do is pick what's easy because nothing is, you can kind of see right here. One of our core values is star symbol get Ninja later. And the reality is that most people try to over-complicate things. They over-complicate things and try to do complex solutions out of the gate. But if you just pick what's easy to get started, you're going to start to get some momentum. But the reality is even when you pick something easy over time, those easy things become hard. We had to three people at the beginning of this year, we have nine running and managing my team is harder than it was when there were three people. Our business is still fairly simple. Uh, we still choose and pick to do simple things, but simple eventually becomes a little bit more complex as you grow and you scale. And you're going to have to kind of revisit how do I simplify this down again?
So why not just start with what's easy and what's simple because it's going to get harder eventually. Anyway, next, do the little things just a little bit better consistently. I tell our clients, um, a lot that the truth is we need to be reminded more often than, than we need to be taught. And I have to say the same thing to my clients all the time. I had to say the same thing to myself all the time. My coaches and mentors have to remind me to do the fundamentals, right? So it's way less about, and I noticed that this year it's way less about jumping on every new possible opportunity, new platform or new technology, and just stay the course, just improve a little bit. The number of times I've heard people say that webinars don't work, I'm going to try something different. And then they're like, well, that doesn't work.
I'm gonna try something different. Instead of they just said, Hey, I'm gonna make my webinar work. I'm going to try to improve it by 1%, every single day. If you did that, the amount of improvement that you could see would be crazy. And that's how we approach this year is, Hey, we know we have the ingredients. Like I alluded to. We have, we had all the ingredients in 2017. We just kept departing from those. So we committed to staying the course and fixing each and every little bottleneck in the areas and the assets that we had in the systems that we created. And that allowed us to make massive amounts of progress moving forward, because we weren't constantly changing direction. Now that leads me into the next one, which is routines our roadmap when things are going well. And they're a safety net when they aren't man.
Um, there's so many ways to apply this. You think about your health. For example, you, if you always eat healthy, you're likely to prevent different kinds of sickness and illnesses and things like that. But if you get sick, all of a sudden, starting to eating healthy right out of the gate, isn't gonna, isn't gonna make it better. It's that routine that ritual of always eating healthy, that will keep you always healthy. And in business, the same thing applies. What are your routines? When you come in every single morning, are you planning? Are you lining up your team? Are you doing the sales activity that is needed to start sales conversations? Are you creating the content and the noise and the promotion? That's going to bring awareness to you. If those aren't, those activities are the activities that will run your business and help your business grow yet.
They're not a part of your routine. You just starting them out of thin air when things aren't going well, isn't going to make things dramatically change. It's kind of like the people that I talked to that are like desperate for a client and they haven't been doing any sort of client getting activities. I did a video on that. You can check that video out, um, up here that if you're desperate for a client and you haven't been doing that, do those activities, you starting those activities. Now isn't going to save you and give you immediate results. It's the having not ever stopped doing them in the first place. Right? So getting started with the core activities that you need to grow your business. Maybe that's prospecting, maybe that's creating content. Maybe that's obviously, you know, serving your clients, but those need to be woven into a ritual that happens each and every day.
And that is the roadmap that is the roadmap. That's going to get you to your goals. So the next one, number five, the business will never exceed your own capacity as an entrepreneur, man, I got this one from Brad Martin. Now one of my, uh, original mentors. And basically just as we were growing this year, like I said, we were three we're, nine. We're about to be 11. I need to up-level my own skills and knowledge and leadership each and every day. So that I'm raising the ceiling so that my, my team can lift with me. It's sort of the notion of, you know, the, the, the rising tide lifts all ships. But the thing is, you need to be the leader of that. If you always have the ceiling, because you don't know certain things and are not constantly pursuing growth, it's going to be difficult for your business to go up above what you're actually capable of. This is why self development and personal help is so big in entrepreneurship. This is why people talk about all of that growth, um, investing in mentors to up-level that ceiling and kind of see beyond the things that they can't see see around the corners to have a bigger vision that allows them to constantly
Be growing. Because again,
You will find, and I've found this to be true over the last four years, four or five years is the business won't grow past your own capacity. So it's on you as the owner to keep growing your capacity. And if you don't, that ceiling is going to stay low and you're going to constantly remain stuck next, build your people so you can buy back your time, man, the number of jaded and burnt out agency owners that have tried to hire in the past and didn't do a good job that are now against hiring and having team altogether. I feel bad for you. Yeah. There's solopreneurs out there, but you're always going to be working inside your business and be a bottleneck. If the business is built around you. So learn how to be a better leader, learn how to be a better manager and bring on the right team.
And often that has to do with having the right offering, which is what we coach our clients on so that you can build the right people on the right infrastructure that will allow you to successfully remove yourself. Once you have your core offering and you stick to it, knowing who to hire and how to build them up to replace, you becomes a whole lot more doable than if you keep changing the solution that you offer and trying to hope that you're going to pay a high really expensive expert to come in and be able to be the Jack of all trades. That's going to be a much harder path versus saying, Hey guys, this is the path. Here's exactly how to do what I need you to do. Here's the vision for that? You're capable of doing this, run with it. So if you're not learning how to become a better leader, a better manager, a better owner of your team.
You're never going to be able to build your people so you can buy back your time. And if you're watching this channel, if you're building, if you built a business, you probably want, you know, discretionary time. That is true wealth. It's not discretionary money. It's the ability to do what you want with your time. Whenever you want, go check out your kid's soccer game, leave, work early, you know, take off and go on vacation. That comes not just from systems, but from having the right people. So you got to build them up, then buy back your time. The next one, nature never rushes yet. Everything gets done. Look, oftentimes we want things to happen way faster than it's even possible. And then, so we put ourselves in the overdrive and we try too hard and we burn ourselves out. What if just extended the deadline by a year or six months, depending upon your target, maybe your goals are super big and it needs to be moved out and moved out three years in order for you to hit that goal and reduce some of that overwhelm.
One of our clients, he was basically trying to solve problems that he didn't have yet. And I see this happen time and time again, you're like, well, I need to do this so that this doesn't happen. It's like, well, that hasn't happened yet. And it might not even happen. So why are we worrying about it right now? Like move, take action. So as you've seen, nature has its way of repeating itself. It doesn't rush. It just happens. Things get done. The things that are on your to-do list will get done tomorrow. You don't need to work 24 hours a day. Every single day, you will die. You will burn out. You need to have a cadence and a rhythm that is doable. So maybe just, maybe you need to say, Hey, maybe I don't need to rush on this big picture goal. And I can leave because I know that the work is going to be here tomorrow and you'll have a whole lot less stress in your life.
Number eight, if you have a problem and you have the money to solve it, you don't have a problem, man. I think Dan Sullivan actually said this from a strategic coach or Dan Kennedy, one of the two, and really hit home. If you are in a situation right now and you have a problem and you don't know how to solve it, and you can pay a coach or a mentor who has figured it out and can show you step-by-step, you don't have a problem. You just need to pay that coach or that buy that program or invest in that hire or invest in that system that is going to get you out of being stuck. And if you have the money to do it, and you're still complaining, that's on you. If you have a problem and you have the money to solve it, you don't have a problem anymore.
So think about that. Number nine, optimize for self care, product and profit. I think a lot of people optimize for top line revenue. I think it's stupid. A lot of, I know a lot of companies that make a lot of money and have nothing to show for it. So we've focused on optimizing for self care, ask anyone on my team. They're focused on their biology. They're focused on getting the rest, exercise, eating healthy, and that allows each and every one of us to show up whole every single day inside of our business and give it our best and go home and give it our best on top of that. If we constantly focus on utilizing our time and effort to make the best and highest quality products and services, we'll be able to get our clients the results that they want, and let's not get it twisted.
We're all in a business to make money, but more specifically, we're in business to make a profit. Yes, it's about service, but if you don't have a profit in your business, you don't have a business. So you got to focus on optimizing for profit, paying yourself, having the money to live the life that you want and support your team and all of those goals. So if you guys focus yourself, commit to optimizing for self care, quality products and services and profit, you will be in good shape. And lastly, bringing home my top 10 lesson from 2020, our first seven figure year is focus on growing the pie. So it's super easy to scroll through Facebook and see people each other down. Maybe that has happened on LinkedIn. You see it in the news. You see it just about everywhere. Here's the thing. If you're a skyscraper, if the competitor's skyscraper is taller than yours, you don't need to tear down their skyscraper in order to have a taller skyscraper, you could just build a bigger skyscraper.
The pie is always growing. Focus on growing the pie. If you focus on growing the pie, the whole pie gets to be bigger. This is the abundance mindset. So you don't need to take down anybody else. You don't need to, uh, you know, compete with anybody else. But yourself, you focus on growing your piece of the pie. And if you grow your piece of the pie, the whole pie gets to grow and we all can win. It can be a win-win stop tearing each other down. Stop worrying about what the competition is doing and just focus on growing the pie. So those are my top 10. Uh, I'll drop them in the comments below. I hope this finds you. Well, have you have any questions? I want to know what your takeaway is. Your top of the 10 lessons, comment below with your favorites. And I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday season and are ready to kick this year off because it's off to the races. Let's get it going. And we'll see you in the next one.