As we head into the last six weeks of the year, many people start to ease up on the gas pedal. After all, it’s the season for parties and eggnog and turning the thanksgiving day leftovers into something magical. But if you’re a small business owner like I am (like I’ve been for the last fourteen years) then this season is one of two things: either it’s your busiest season ever because you’re selling a product that needs to kill it during the holidays OR you’re refueling before you begin every entrepreneurs geeked-out, favorite time of the year– planning for the new year! Squee! 

Am I the only one who gets so excited about building vision boards and setting new goals? No? OK, well then pull up a chair because if you get excited about that sort of thing too then this is the blog post for you. Today I’d like to tell you the four decisions I made that fundamentally changed my business forever. And when I say “changed my business” I don’t mean that I suddenly got more Instagram followers I mean that I doubled my revenue.

These are the type of things that may seem obvious but dig a little deeper. Often times we know something but don’t actually do anything about it. Like, you know that eating more kale would be better for you, but that doesn’t necessarily stop you from the margaritas and the guac, am-I-right? So don’t just read this list, ask yourself if you’re truly doing these things in your own business.

I faced what I didn’t know and/or didn’t understand: Perhaps you’re much more mature in your business than I was, but I spent years and years ignoring an extremely important part of my company: finances. Truthfully, it wasn’t laziness or complacency that was driving the decision to avoid what I didn’t know. It was fear. Every time I looked at a financial statement and didn’t understand it, that voice in my head—you know the one, that jerk version of yourself that likes to point out all your flaws—would list out all the things I was deeply worried about. You’re too dumb to run a company. You’re not mature enough to lead this team. Rather than face it, I ignored it. Basically, as long as I had enough to cover payroll and the clients paid on-time, I didn’t dig any deeper. But in order to grow and scale any business, you must understand your overhead, your margin, your profit, etc. When I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t know enough about this area I owned the knowledge gap. Now I could do the work to learn what I needed to but I never could have gotten there if I wasn’t willing to admit what I was struggling with. What are the areas in your business that you feel insecure? That’s usually a signal that you don’t have enough knowledge you need to feel confident. Stop wasting time beating yourself up, that’s not helping! Admit it, figure out how to learn what you need to, take over the world.

I wrote my dreams down every day, as if they had already happened: I will go to my grave beating this drum and telling people this simple trick because I really do believe it is directly responsible for the success I’m experiencing now. Every day I write down ten big dreams I have for my life and I write them as if they’ve already happened. I read once that your subconscious focuses on what you give it. So if you tell yourself (and your subconscious), “I’m going to make a million dollars,” you don’t end up focusing on the goal but on the words “going to.” It’s just another to-do list for your brain. You didn’t give it direction. You didn’t ask your mind to help you figure out how. You only told it that you were going to do something, which isn’t especially powerful no matter how big a goal you set for yourself. So I write down my dreams at the start of every day. Those dreams I wrote down in old spiral notebooks or on my phone– which just proves you can do it anywhere– are the successes I’m living out today. Things like “I am a New York Times Bestselling author” or “I am a highly paid motivational speaker” happened not because of magic but because I began each workday setting my focus for where I was headed. You should absolutely pick up this practice in your own business and if you’d love a daily prompt be sure and check out our Start Today Journal which is this practice inside of gorgeous small batch cover design.

I had the courage to ASK 👏🏻 FOR 👏🏻 THE 👏🏻 SALE: Let me say it again for all my small biz owners– especially the ladies, I found the courage to ask for the sale and to charge what I’m worth for it. So, so, so many entrepreneurs struggle with this and they end up missing out on valuable opportunities to promote their business because they’re afraid of coming off as pushy. But dude, here’s the truth, if you don’t have revenue you don’t have a business. If this is an area you struggle with I want you to start at the beginning… do you believe in the product you’re selling? Let’s assume you do because otherwise, what are we doing here? If you do believe in your product then you need to anchor yourself in why you personally value it so much and be willing to share those features with your customers. For instance, if you scroll back up one paragraph I’m talking about my own product because I LOVE it. I’m talking about the Start Today Journal because it’s my baby and it’s based off a practice I know works. I don’t feel weird about telling you about it because you’ll either be interested or you won’t be but I don’t think you’re going to chase me through the village at night with pitchforks simply because I told you about something you could buy. Too many people make it personal. Too many people decide that someone turning down an offer of business is a rejection on them as a person. Don’t be dumb. You say no to stuff all the time and it’s not because you hate the person offering, its because you: don’t have the money, the time, the interest, etc. Stop fearing rejection, start fearing your business never growing any bigger or failing altogether because you were too worried about “not bothering anyone”.

I armed myself with information: You guys, I cannot stress this enough: everything I know I learned for free. I watched YouTube videos, I borrowed books from the library, I listened to podcasts, I Googled every single thing you can imagine. There is nothing (literally not one thing) you need to know how to do in your business that doesn’t have at least 100 possible solutions available online. I have only a high school diploma and I’ve built a multi-million dollar business. I’m a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and I’ve never taken a writing class. Video, podcasts, how to get a journal designed and printed… literally every single part of my business are things I taught myself for free. The areas of frustration in your company, those are the things you need to be researching how to do better. The things you’d like to accomplish this year, those are the topics of books you need to read. If you want to grow, then be in the know. Stop making excuses and start figuring out the answers. You are smart enough to take this business to the next level and you owe it to yourself and your family to do the work necessary to get it there!