When Sean and I moved back to Pennsylvania a year ago, he quit his job to pursue his creative interests including fiction writing.
He’d dabbled in writing for quite some time, working on character development or penning short vignettes, but he’d never devoted himself to it. He couldn’t find the discipline to take a single idea from start to finish.
And he knew that no matter how many days he worked on character development or short vignettes, he wasn’t going to end up with a completed novel until he changed the way he was approaching the whole pursuit.
So he gave himself a massive challenge…
…he decided to tackle NaNoWriMo.
If you’re not familiar, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month and it happens every November, right alongside No Shave November (for which he is also a faithful participant). The goal is to write approximately 1650 words every day of the month so that you end the month with a 50,000-word manuscript.
You do it knowing full well that the manuscript will likely be terrible…
…but at least it will be done.
This was going to be a real test: going from a scant 100-200 words per day to 1650 words per day? How could he manage it?
Well, he did. He actually finished early and proudly printed off the entire 50,000+ word manuscript on November 30.
The reason he accomplished it was simple…
He made structural changes to the way he approached writing. He was no longer just trying to get in some writing 100-200 words at a time, he structured his day around achieving the necessary 1600 words.
It wasn’t a matter of time or hustle. It was a matter of design:
- He stopped writing in a notebook and started writing in a Google Doc.
- He stopped writing at the pub and started writing in an office.
- He stopped putting it off til the end of the day and started prioritizing the action first thing.
- He stopped second-guessing every artistic choice he made and started moving through the plot bit by bit.
These 4 simple changes meant that he octupled his production in largely the same amount of time he was spending on writing before. Not only that, but he actually set a goal and reached it.
Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with the difference between a 6-figure business and a 7-figure business.
Just like with Sean’s success and NaNoWriMo, what separates a 6-figure business from a 7-figure business is a matter of design.
A business that generates 6-figure revenue is rarely an underperforming 7-figure business.
Just like Sean wasn’t really an underperforming novelist before he tackled NaNoWriMo.
A business that generates 6-figure revenue is one that’s designed to generate 6-figure revenue. A business that generates 7-figure revenue is one that’s designed to generate 7-figure revenue.
Of course, it’s also true that a 5-figure business is rarely an underperforming 6-figure business. A 5-figure business is most often designed to earn 5-figures.
No matter how much you hustle, no matter how much time you devote to it, no matter how many new skills you learn, if your business isn’t designed to reach your goal, it won’t.
What exactly do I mean when I say the “design” of your business?
- Your prices
- Your business model
- The structure of your offers
- The way you nurture prospects and customers
- Your campaigns
- Your team
- Your brand
- Your time management
- Your project management
It all has to work together and be aligned with your goal–no matter what that might be.
There’s a good chance–whether you realize it right now or not–that your business design has had more in common with Sean’s 100-200 words per day than it does with the NaNoWriMo guideline of 1650 words per day.
You’ve been putting in time and energy… but it hasn’t been in the pursuit of a clear objective.
The reason NaNoWriMo’s 50,000-word goal works so well is that it’s easy to figure out exactly what you need to do to hit it. You take 50,000 and divide it by the 30 days in November. Then you make the structural changes to your routine to allow you to accomplish it day in and day out until the goal is met.
Your business works the same way. You choose a goal and the adjust the design of your business accordingly.
If you don’t choose, you’ll keep just getting by. If you don’t adjust, you’ll get down on yourself for never even getting close to where you want to be.
Choose a goal (maybe your next goal is a 7-figure year) and adjust your design.
…just because you haven’t reached a previous goal (say $150,000/yr) doesn’t mean you can’t set a new goal (say $750,000/yr).
Your past performance doesn’t change your worthiness. Nor does it change your ability to design your business to reach a higher goal now that you understand what your effort fell short. When you decide to set that new goal, go big.