Creating freedom in your business and your life is the holy grail for busy professionals and entrepreneurs. We want money to free us to do the things that are important to us, so it makes sense to design your business to fit your life aspirations, which may or may not be money dependent.
PREFER TO LISTEN?
As professionals and entrepreneurs, we’re used to being busy – many of us thrive on it. We spent years studying, working hard to get ahead and build our careers, believing this is how you create success. As business owners, we may still be workaholics, but that decision and drive comes from wanting to live life on our own terms and putting our all into things to reach our goals.
Most people are quite shocked when I say I don’t care too much about money. But it’s because what really matters for me is freedom, choice and fulfilment. And certainly, in today’s digital age, we have so much opportunity for creating freedom in your business, to build a business that achieves everything we want for ourselves and our family.
Here are three myths and a secret to creating freedom in your business.
Myth #1 – You Need to Make Loads of Money
Money is certainly one indicator we use to judge business success: revenue, cash flow, profits, lifetime customer value, and so forth, are all financial metrics. But when I talk to my peers in service industries, we’re not after big mansions, fancy holidays or a private island in the Caribbean. Some people are of course, and that’s ok too. But all external wealth isn’t for everyone. Many of us are just quiet introvert high achievers for whom “wealth” means enjoying life on our own terms.
Most of us are reasonably happy just being “comfortable”, that is, that we can achieve a sustainable, dependable income whilst working for ourselves. (Bear in mind that the so-called “steady job” is actually not that dependable these days anyhow!) Or what we want is to bring in enough extra cash (i.e.”disposable” income) to do the lifestyle or charitable things we want to do.
Although I have to say I do like a nice car, my life is pretty much fulfilled by the most basic freedoms – the choice to pick the exact kind of clients I love to work with, to go away anytime, anyplace and do anything, to sit around all day reading, doing puzzles or glued to a good Netflix series, to shop when most people are at work and the kids at school, to drive out to the coast and wander along the promenade or the beach or cliff tops – I just love and really value that! I even have a tea mug with “It’s the Little Things” that reminds me everyday what I’m grateful for.
Myth #2 – You Need to Work Tirelessly
Like anyone in business: I have meetings and appointments, I have colleagues, customers and clients, and I have commitments outside of my business too. But the difference working for myself is that I’m pretty much in total control of my schedule – no boss telling me where to be on any particular day or what meetings I must go to. Bliss!
Isn’t that the freedom and choice most independent business owners want in the first place starting out? But then we get sucked into turning our own business into just another job, grinding away day in, day out. So I definitely don’t want to spoil my own success by spending all my time working on or in my business! So I’m all for finding ways to earn more (or at least the same) while working less 🙂
Now the 21st century with all the digital capability we have at our disposal – quite literally, at our fingertips – we have the chance to design our business architecture in a way where you don’t need to work tirelessly just to make a decent living. Sure, hard work pays off, but the hard work and earning money should be to create more freedom. There needs to be an end goal in sight when we choose to play that ‘pushing hard & leaning in’ game for long periods of time. Otherwise, we just burn ourselves out.
Myth #3 – Success Takes Time
Success is not a single goal. The choice to create freedom in your business is in front of you, right now. It’s not a future vision or dream you’ll hit one day – you build it little by little by making shifts in your thinking, implementing changes and celebrating the wins – the small successes – along the way.
Have you noticed how time appears to be passing by at breakneck speed? It puts a whole new emphasis on those age-old Latin phrases of tempus fugit (time flies) and carpe diem (seize the day). And it stresses us out if we let it.
Gratitude – and appreciating what you’ve achieved so far – is an important habit here. I remember, on this one day, I decided to down tools and go out for a walk. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and I felt so lucky that I had the freedom to be spontaneous, to just go out and enjoy the good weather because I felt like it. I looked across the countryside seeing the blue skies and sun rays across the fields and it just reminded me how divine nature is … and I thought wow, if I’d been stuck in an office today, I’d never have enjoyed this moment.
Enjoying your success along the way makes you more productive, more creative and happier than pushing and chastising yourself all day for not being at your goal already.
If you don’t have the kind of freedom, choice and personal fulfilment you want, why not start creating it right now?! Make small shifts to clarify, simplify and streamline things in your business so you make time for yourself.
Time is your success, don’t you want to have the time of your life? You can always make more money, but you can never get more time – 24 hours a day, that’s it. Instead of being wasteful doing stuff that consumes time without payback, we want to spend it wisely: being happy, making an impact, enjoying our relationships, friends and family, appreciating the present not always dwelling on the past or only hankering after future hopes and dreams.
Start creating your freedom right now. Make little choices to focus on the activities that bring the outcomes you want, whilst enjoying and celebrating what you have achieved already. Give yourself permission to live the life you want. Because every moment you spend without the right clients, working for too little reward, grinding it out day after day, is another moment of your life gone.
The One Big ‘Not-So-Secret’ Secret
So, the big reveal – what’s the secret to creating freedom in your business and your life? In one word – LEVERAGE.
No coincidence that leverage is the KEY theme golden threaded through my entire business as well as my book Leveraged Consulting in the Digital Age and my podcast The Leveraged Business. Because I’m super passionate about it, I love talking about it, I’m driven to share what I know about it and how it can help you too.
Leverage in business is SO important to me and it should be to you too if you want the kind of freedom, choice and fulfilment we just talked about. Leverage is at the heart of the “secrets” I share in a lot of my blog posts too, such as 7 Ways to Work Smarter Not Harder, 3 Leveraged Income Models…, How to Achieve a Better Life from Your Business, How to Build an Automated Sales Force, How to Create Leverage with Online Programmes.
It’s all about being strategic, not running around the latest marketing tactic that consumes your precious time and energy. What you see on social media, it’s really got out of control. So let’s be clear how to stop doing what everyone else is doing and find the fix that suits our expert consulting professions.
As well as leveraging you and your expertise, there are many ways to create more freedom in your business through leveraged marketing, leveraged sales, leveraged delivery. Leverage is about building greater effectiveness and efficiency into what you do. It’s about creating an effective and efficient process and a pathway for your ideal clients to find you, get to know, like & trust you, and hire you or buy your product, programme or service.
What I teach specifically is how to use digital strategies that maximise the amount of value your clients get (i.e. the results they achieve) in the minimum amount of time right across the customer journey so you achieve impact for them and for yourself based on what you charge. It’s all about getting your business model aligned with your life model!
In the iSuccess Business Academy, you learn how to LEVERAGE your time and expertise whilst achieving greatest IMPACT for your clients and for yourself. Here’s one way I do it in terms of how I deliver value to my clients.
(If this doesn’t seem like your thing, there are plenty of other options, but leveraged delivery yields the greatest returns.)
- If you make a living using your expertise (i.e. you’re a consultant, coach, therapist, mediator, teacher or any other kind of professional expert) think of the people you help and the outcome you help them achieve. For instance, “I help workaholics reduce their stress so they can enjoy their life more, I help 50+ women reduce bellyfat so they can love themselves again, I help professional service providers create more freedom in their business so they can live their life on their own terms again.” Those are pretty clear and concrete results those people get.
- Next, ask yourself: “What is the pathway to success, that is the steps your clients need to take to achieve this outcome?” Break it up into 6-7 distinct steps or milestones. For example: how you would work with a client – what they need to think about, know, do … to get them from 1 to 7.
- Now build a process around these steps that you can turn into a “programme”, where each week covers one of the steps. You set out the intended aim / outcome and give them activities, resources and support to help them achieve each step. Doing it in steps stops people getting overwhelmed with too much information or tasks and means you can tailor what’s needed for each step (rather than the same formulaic approach across the whole course). For instance, in week 1, you design 2-3 activities and provide material that helps them achieve the outcomes for step 1, week 2 you support them to get to step 2 and so forth.
Freedom from one-to-one & face-to-face work
Now you can run this programme as a face-to-face workshop or an online course or both – it’s entirely your choice! By working with clients in a group rather than one-to-one, you’ve already leveraged your time massively. And there’s obviously even more leverage to be gained if you deliver it online rather than face-to-face. (In fact, many people who ordinarily run in-person events have had to switch modes to a virtual experience because of the covid-19 restrictions.)
You can make the online version a “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) programme (just a digital information product like a guide or a book or an actual module-based course). Or you can set it up as a “Done-With-You” (DWY) programme. It really depends on what your participants need to get the result you claim your programme delivers. In other words, how much input do you need to blend in through feedback, Q&A sessions, individual support to guarantee them the promised outcome by the end of the programme.
What’s important is that the VALUE of what you provide increases when people have more contact with you – it gives you a good way to differentiate your offer and charge premium prices. For example, in the iSuccess Business Academy, the basecamp membership provides all the material and a Facebook group for support, but I also offer one-to-one monthly mentoring packages, a fast track 12-week programme and a full 6-month VIP programme.
People are way more likely to achieve the result they want when they take the Done-With-You option than just working through the workshop/course materials on their own DIY style. (So much so that I may decide DWY as my model for Academy membership going forward because I can guarantee results much more confidently when I’m working with that person than just giving them a course.)
When it’s your own programme, you have complete control over the design.
You can choose to provide 1-2 calls a week one-on-one or only run group trainings and Q&A clinic calls every week or even every month. Again, what you choose is determined by what is needed for people to get the result. But one-to-one mentoring isn’t necessary in most cases to really create a great outcome.
Let’s figure delivering this support online costs you 4 hours per week of work. Compare that to working with one client for a week – that’s leverage – and that’s how you end up creating freedom in your business.
You’re able to serve ALL your clients in approx. 4 hours of work.
You can do this online work from anywhere in the world.
Your clients achieve results – at the pace, time and place they want.
You can work with 100s of people and make a massive impact.
Yes it takes up front work to develop the programme and get it into an online learning platform of some kind (although I know some consultants and coaches who just use a Facebook group to deliver the entire programme).
But this is the kind of programme that we charge £2,000, £5,000 and $10,000 for.
Remember: what clients are paying you for is the OUTCOME – and a life-changing outcome is worth a premium price.
When you have this in place, you’ve created leverage and learned the secret to creating freedom in your business. And the best news is that as a consultant or coach or expert, you already have the building blocks in place – you have your own unique system.
Think of your core service, the best and easiest thing you help your clients to achieve… map out the steps, create a process and test it out with your clients or a beta group.
You can literally roll out a leveraged delivery version of your service as an online programme in a matter of 30-60 days if you have the proper guidance. What’s that worth to you?