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Stop to move forward

Want to grow your business? This is the one thing you must do now

If you want to grow your business, you need to stop everything and take a break. Not a vacation, a break, just so you have time to think about these 3 things.

I love working, and I always have. For years, I worked long hours, learning, meeting, writing, taking on more and more clients and projects, and my business kept growing and improving.

But the real kicker was once each year when I did the opposite. I just stopped everything and did nothing. So, here is what I can share with you from my experience of doing something so completely against my nature.

Sure, we all need a vacation or a break every once in a while, but I’m talking about stopping entirely. For years, I would fly to Berlin, Germany for 10-14 days and take some time off work. I would only do emergency stuff when my team needed my help, but everything else was personal. I would write my novels (I’ve had the pleasure of publishing 2) or listen to audio books and podcasts while roaming the streets.

Those days of wonder around the old buildings of berlin gave me time to think and build a strategy, a long-term idea of what I wanted to do, how my life could look and how I could structure my future.

When 2020 came around, we were all forced to stop for a while, but most did not think enough. We are probably living in the best time in our lifetimes to make some changes and live the life we want. Here are some things I have learned that might help you understand that taking a break is probably the best thing you could do for yourself and your work.

There is a saying that your business will grow when you start working on the business and not in the business. Most of us simply say, “That is so true,” and keep going.

Team

In order to actually make this saying a reality, I had to learn how to structure my company. We focused on finding the right people to help support the company. The main goal was to free myself from day-to-day operations while offering better service in my agency.

Time vs. pricing

The next step was to look at my schedule and the hours I work, and increase the rates for my time while reducing the number of hours I allocate to clients and consulting. Today I do very little consulting, and that for only a few very specific startups. 

Time is key when you are looking to take the next step for your business. It was more than just meetings. We started to improve internal meetings, cut them short and ask clients to do as many online as possible instead of meeting face-to-face.

Clients

How much is enough? What type of clients and work do you want to do? I believe you can divide most of your work into 3 types:

  1. Time consuming – you know the work and you took it because you need the money, but the profit margins are not as good as you had hoped and these projects suck up your or your team’s time.
  2. The money – these are the clients you like. They help your business grow and pay the bills. You wish you had more of these (if you only had time for more business development or sales). They require attention, but you also need more like them.
  3. Your future – sadly, you are probably not investing enough time in this since it’s usually hard work, pays less or has potential in the distant, rather than the immediate, future. You wish you could spend more time on projects like this, but you lack one of your two most precious resources: time or money.

While taking a break, ask yourself how many n.1’s you have. Can you drop one or two? What will this mean for your team? How can you replace them with another n.2? 

We all have dreams of making it big, but we might make all the wrong choices when it comes to clients from n3. You see, I used to take the idea, the story, and fall in love. These days, we only focus on one project at a time.

You need to stop. Now.

You need to step away, become your own consultant and take a good hard look at where you are now and where you plan on being next year when you take another break. Create your own path and stop letting life happen to you. You got this.

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