What Success Looks Like

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“The problem with the brand we’re running right now is everything is down to a science, everything is very automated, we’ve done everything that we’ve wanted to do. So when you get to a point like that, how much more can you really do? I feel like I’m hitting a wall. It came down to…Am I happy?”

Those are the reflections of e-commerce millionaire Chris Conrady, after years of hustling and starting numerous side gigs. He finally hit on a “formula” for success with e-commerce and Shopify in 2016.

But fast-forward just four years later and you can see the sheer dissatisfaction in those words.

Is Chris discounting his growth and journey?

Not at all.

Fact: Chris is hungry for more.

And that’s because of one little secret that only business owners who are down in the trenches, every single day, will know. They won’t tell you this when you start out, but you’ll realize it for yourself soon enough:

You’re not trying to “grow your business.” You’re trying to grow yourself.

What Factors Affect Business Growth?

Even as a solopreneur, or a one-person dropshipping company, you can take your cues for business growth from bigger companies.

Whether it’s a four-person business expanding into a second location or an entire country developing their small business economy, studies consistently show that business growth needs:

  • Skills and knowledge in your industry or niche
  • Resources and processes (like technology) designed to help your business operate successfully (i.e. bringing in a consistent level of revenue)
  • Leadership and management
  • Sophisticated business planning (that’s reviewed at ongoing intervals)
  • Employee training and workplace culture cohesion
  • The external environment (country laws, taxation, regulations, trade agreements, etc.) that may affect growth and operation

That’s a nice, broad definition for business success. But it misses some of the “soft” targets.

Often, business owners focus on the tangibles: The techniques and tactics, the strategies and specific actions you can take to connect with your customers or convert more sales.

However, there are also other success factors that focus on the more qualitative aspects of business growth.

Using business growth and expansion as a measurement of success, a study of new firms show a different set of variables:

  • The need for achievement
  • Resilience
  • Extraversion versus introversion
  • Educational level
  • Experience
  • Financial resources for startup
  • Number of partners

These seven success factors point to a principle that underlies all business growth. It’s at the heart of the new age of entrepreneurship.

The fact is that the face of entrepreneurship and the nature of the way business is being done — online, digital, lean, and personal. There’s more emphasis than ever on the personality of those who create companies.

Call this the Steve Jobs effect or the truth of personal branding according to Gary Vaynerchuk. The point is that who you are directly impacts how you grow your business.

How Do You Encourage Personal Growth?

If you want to encourage personal growth, it’s very simple.

Note: “Simple” does not mean “easy.” It doesn’t mean “set it and forget it.” Simple means it’s easy to understand and requires only commitment to start.

Encouraging personal growth comes down to a commitment to do whatever it takes to bring about change, growth, expansion, and amelioration in your life. Every time you feel good, that’s an indicator that you’re on the right path, doing the right thing.

Now, here’s a caveat:

There’s a difference between feeling good because of instant gratification (like sneak-eating a piece of cake at 12 a.m. because you need to cure an addiction to emotional overeating), and doing things that feel good because they’re in your best interests.

Unlearning and relearning how to change the former response into the latter is what self-improvement and personal growth is all about.

And it can be surprisingly “tricky” to navigate because our pre-existing habits, behaviors, and beliefs cna constantly sabotage our growth — even if we want and intend to grow! It’s why the self-improvement market was worth $10 billion in 2016.

And it’s why this upward trend will continue to grow to an estimated $13.2 by 2022.

Psychologist Niels Eék puts this in plain words any entrepreneur can understand:

“From the perspective of an entrepreneur, self-improvement will often entail some sort of mental training but can mean anything from practicing stress management to valuable goal-setting.”

Self-improvement is a journey, for sure, but so is growing a business. That’s why it’s important to support yourself with as much opportunity for development and expansion as possible.

When you can evolve professionally, emotionally, mentally, and physically, it directly contributes to your mastery of self.

Dr. Srikumar Rao says that personal growth is what we’re really after when we, as entrepreneurs, start a business on an idea, a prayer, a wing, a hope, some scrappy couch-cushion-change foraging.

Known as the “Buddha of Business” Dr. Rao says that mastering your personal well-being is the key to success in all areas of your life — including business.

So ask yourself this:

If you can grow as an individual, why wouldn’t those changes spill over into your relationships, your finances

The fact is, how we do one thing is how we do all things.

5 Surprising “Rules” About Expanding Your Income and Identity

There’s a reason why posts about morning rituals, productivity hacks, and “how to” guides are so popular.

Success always leaves clues.

And here’s another thing about this not-so-elusive principle:

You shouldn’t be trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, you should simply reverse-engineer what has worked for others, and adapt it for yourself.

1) There Are No Rules

The first rule of Fight Club is…

Okay, let’s just deviate from that for a second. The first “rule” of developing yourself to grow your business is that there are no rules.

Just as you shouldn’t be platform-religious, you should be totally “model” agnostic when it comes to resources, frameworks, and wisdom around personal growth.

Be flexible and open enough to try anything once. Take what works for you and move on to the next “system” or “coach” that looks like it could point you in the right direction. In the age of Internet gurus and push marketing, this should help lessen the sense of stress and overwhelm you might feel.

Where do I even start with personal growth?!

The good news is that it literally doesn’t matter. Pick one area of your life and stay consistent in committing to its improvement. You’ll soon find these “gains” spilling over into other areas.

Let’s say, for example, that you’ve decided that working on your physical fitness is your focus du jour. Great. Not only are you muscle-building, your discipline-developing. So next time you want to tap out at 4 p.m. because you’re tired, discipline will help you stay focused.

2) Go Where You Feel the Most Discomfort

Okay, here’s the next cardinal rule.

Yes, you can pick any area of your life to improve and grow.

But the area that will have the most significant effect on your life is where you feel the most pain or fear.

For some people, that’s dating and relationships.

For others, it’s fear around finances.

And, some are simply terrified of something as small as public speaking. In fact, they probably feel a great desire to express themselves. Without that desire to express themselves, they wouldn’t care about improving in this area.

Does that make sense?

The places where you feel the most discomfort are the areas that you have the most to gain. Personal growth is full of little ironies like this and you should take these in stride.

When you feel uncomfortable, you know growth and change are happening.

3) Expand Outwards in Concentric Circles

Social media icon Jasmine Star was once a struggling, solo photographer. She was grappling with how to book clients on a shoestring budget, and the best part was…

…she didn’t have any photography skills.

That’s right.

None.

So, how did this tiny little powerhouse manage to build her business into a 7-figure business?

For the first three to four years, she did nothing except focus on providing fantastic services as a photographer for her clients.

Read that again.

She didn’t branch out into courses.

She didn’t chase digital products.

She didn’t set up passive income.

She didn’t spend money chasing the next shiny thing.

No.

First, she focused.

According to Jasmine, it was only when she had reached a certain amount of traction (not money, but traction), a certain level of momentum where clients were reliably coming in did she start looking outwards, expanding, and diversifying some of her streams of income.

Jasmine notoriously says she has zero interest in “making her business her baby” as so many other professional, entrepreneurial women confess. Instead, she says, “I want to make my business a machine.

Boom.

So… what does this have to do with concentric circles?

Okay. Picture this:

When you throw a pebble into still waters, the ripples progress outward. You can still see the center where you threw the pebble, even as the ripples grow bigger and bigger.

The same is true of your business. Build a strong center — which includes your own sense of self and mental fortitude — and then diversify your income streams outward like those ripples. Do not try to do everything at once and don’t waste time chasing things that aren’t relevant right now.

4) Have a “Growth” Mindset

While it’s true that social researcher Carol Dweck first pioneered this term in the late 80s, and Tom Bilyeu popularized in the early 2010s, let’s take a look at this mindset in action.

Greg Gottfried, a digital entrepreneur, is the perfect example of personal growth and business success in e-commerce. By age 24, Greg established 7 streams of income, earning over $1000 to $2000 dollars a day.

In a month, that’s anywhere from a minimum of $30k to $60k, on autopilot.

So what makes Greg so successful? Only this fact:

Greg is always looking for opportunities to grow. He’d gladly work in another two income streams to scale up his business income even more. Having a growth mindset used to meaning yourself off from the failures you’ve encountered. And that’s true.

But it’s not just about overcoming adversity. Having a growth mindset also means being on the constant and conscious lookout for opportunities to expand.

And, by the way, you can expand by serving others. It’s what Greg is doing through his YouTube channel, which is probably his 8th or 9th stream of income.

5) Make “Play” a Priority

Business is serious stuff and if you’re not careful, you could lose a lot of money.

So… making “play” a priority sounds counterintuitive, right?

Hang tight for a second.

We’re going to show you why this is an absolute.

The self-styled “shrink for entrepreneurs,” Peter Shallard makes a connection between play and productivity. Without making time to have fun, you’ll quickly forget why what you’re doing even matters. You’ll start shirking duties and spending entire days in bed, forgoing all your goals and promises to yourself.

Before you know it, you’ve stopped trusting yourself.

And it’s not just about balance. It’s about the whole picture.

If your business is not something you genuinely enjoy — if it constantly feels like a chore or an obligation, if you’re constantly motivated by the fear of running out of cash or failing — then you’ll quit over and over again.

One day, you simply won’t be able to get back up.

So do yourself a favor and put your pleasures and penchant to play and enjoy yourself first.

Conclusion

There’s a lot out there about personal growth and business development. Many of these timeless principles have been covered here, too, so let’s just leave you with this last nugget:

No personal growth can happen without reflection.

As you’re journeying down the highway of expansion — be it business, fitness, relationships, health, or anything else — make sure to review and reflect on the momentum, the pace, the direction, and the lessons.

And as you’re doing this, make sure to congratulate yourself for the small wins. They’re the building blocks for the big things.

If you want to enjoy your business more with less stress…

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