We teachers tend to think in terms of quarters, semesters, or school years. But our businesses aren’t limited by the same constraints. Today we’re talking about how to take the pressure off yourself by thinking long-term.
So often entrepreneurs, not just teachers, get upset because their business isn’t growing “fast enough.” But, just like the kids we teach, everyone’s business is going to move at its own pace. As long as it’s growing, you’re going in the right direction. So how do we take some of that pressure off of ourselves so we don’t feel we need to get there fast?
Starting your own business is a long-term play
Back in Episode 37 we talked about how starting your own business is, I feel, the best way to gain financial independence. However, it is a long-term play. If you’re not in a position to wait, I talked about two other opportunities to maybe make money a little bit quicker. It is possible to work on building your bigger business while working those smaller and more immediate income gigs.
So when building your business, it’s important to remember: What are your long-term goals? To retire early, buy an investment property, or even buy a boat, it doesn’t matter what your goal is because when we think long-term, it helps give us a little bit of perspective. If you’re looking to retire early, it’s not going to happen tomorrow. Finding the right business for you and building it up slowly is a big goal and it’s not a one size fits all situation. The first step is realizing that this is a long-term strategy.
Internet Marketers Aren’t Always Honest
Now, I want to point out something that often plays into our mindset and preconceived notion of business exploding overnight. If you’ve spent any time scrolling through social media, and depending on who you follow of course, you’ve likely seen some of what Michelle Mazur calls, “Dude, Bro” marketing and these ads are…well they’re not exactly 100% truthful. While they may say things like, “I made a hundred thousand dollars in one weekend, let me show you how,” they’re leaving out the fact that while, yes, their launch may have been Friday through Sunday so they technically made that money in a weekend, they’re also hiding that this weekend came after months and month or even years of work to get to the point they could launch something this big.
This may play into our mindset because, if they can do it in a weekend, why can’t I do it in a year. But this is not a right headspace to be in. They aren’t being 100% transparent and on top of that, everybody is different. We all grow and excel our businesses at different speeds. Again, one size does not fit all.
Long-term thinking gives you perspective
One of my favorite things about long-term thinking is that it offers you perspective in several ways once you realize this is long-term, there is no shortcut, and those “Dude, bros” are just mirages.
So let’s say your business earns only $50 a month, and you’re thinking, “man this is only $50 a month, that’s nothing,” well, even if you never experience any growth (which is unlikely), you’ll make $6,000 over the next 10 years. What could you do with $6,000? More money for retirement, more money to pay for your kids college, anything.
Now, if over those same 10 years, if you add just $1 a month to your revenue, (so make $51, then $52 the next month and so on) you’ll be up to over $13,000. And while I can’t guarantee anything, if you are managing your business and tweaking it to your audience and what they want, you will likely end up making more than just a dollar more each month.
Likewise, your social media following, email list, and website visitors will grow over time too. Thinking long-term helps us see how far we’ve come and where we want to go. Look at the mountains we climb and admire the view of our successes.
Long-term thinking gives things time to “click”
The other thing about long-term thinking is that it gives things time to “click.” What do I mean by that? Well, for example, my daughter took longer to do a lot of things. She was walking holding my hand for months before she let go… then she was off and running. She said one word (Dada, grrr) for six months before she said anything else. But she also knew nearly 300 signs in ASL before she really started talking at age 3 ½. She took things slow and, as frustrating as it was for us, at some point it always just “clicked” and she was off and running (so to speak).
Now, apply that patience and understanding to a business. Your first idea might not work out, so you pivot, I know I did several times before I landed in my happy place. Your marketing might not be great, so you tweak it. The pricing of your products or services might not get the clients your wanting, so you adjust. But it’s all okay because you’re in it for the long-term. Give these things time to click.
Long-term thinking allows you the grace and space to be a beginner again
While teachers have a ton of skills that translate in the business world, there is also a lot to learn (one of my favorite things). Long-term thinking lets you be a beginner again – something some of us haven’t been in a long time.
We don’t expect kids to perform multi-step algebraic equations in kindergarten, not only because it’s wildly inappropriate for their age, but because education is a long-term game, too. Kids don’t need to know and do everything right away because we have a long-term vision for them.
Now, for our businesses, we might not know all the steps in front of us when we start our journey, but we should all be able to agree that at the beginning, just like our students, we don’t need to know and do it all. Thinking long-term puts you on the first step of a path that you can look back on later and see how far you’ve come.