In this article, Amanda McKinney discusses how to create a sustainable business that integrates into your life instead of taking it over. She shares four steps to achieve this: identifying your definition of success, determining financial sustainability, designing your ideal schedule, and overcoming the comparison game. By understanding what success means to you, setting financial goals, creating a schedule that aligns with your desired lifestyle, and avoiding comparison, you can build a business that supports the life you want to live.
Define your own definition of success as an entrepreneur to guide your business and set achievable goals.
Determine what financial success means to you by tracking your expenses, knowing your salary, and saving for taxes.
Design your ideal schedule as an entrepreneur to avoid overworking and prioritize your well-being.
Stop comparing yourself to others and focus on your own journey to create a sustainable business.
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #224). If you'd like to listen to this conversation, use the link below.
Step 1: Identify Your Definition Of Success In Your Business
You have to know what success is for you specifically. If you're always chasing what others say you need or should want, even if you hit your goals and reach those markers of success, it won't feel like you're successful.
Take time to define success on your terms in your overall life, not just your business but everything. Episode #194 walks you through this step-by-step and there's even a free guide to help you too.
Step 2: Identify What Is Financially Enough In Your Business
We will always want more if we aren't careful so this is a trap we need to make sure we avoid and we can do that through math. Finances are personal and emotional but if we can take the emotion out of it and look at data, we will get our answers.
If you aren't tracking your finances on a monthly basis, please start doing this now. I have a blog post that walks you through creating a profitable business and there's even a free financial tracker (spreadsheet) included.
In order to know what enough currently is, you'll need to identify:
Monthly & Annual Expenses - you have to know exactly what you're paying for as a business expense. While this will be dependent on your business specifically, if you're a service provider, aim for 30% - 40% of your revenue.
Monthly Owners Pay/Salary - you need to know what your/your employees cost on a monthly basis. While this will be dependent on your business specifically, if you're a service provider, aim for 30% - 50% of your revenue.
Taxes - if you're running a business, you need to be paying taxes so you have to account for this number too.While this will be dependent on your business and personal situation, if you're a service provider, aim for 20% of your revenue.
Add these numbers up (expenses, taxes and owners pay/salary) and you'll have the total number to break even in your business. This exercise needs to be done on a quarterly or definitely a yearly basis as "enough" changes as your business needs and expenses change.
To be clear, I hope you make much more than just "enough" in your business but once you know what enough is, you can let go of the constant pursuit of "more".
Step 3: Identify Your Ideal Sustainable Schedule As The Business Owner
You can make all the money in the world but if you're working yourself to death you won't enjoy your life so take time to identify how much you'd like to work. It's not likely that you can achieve an ideal schedule now (or possibly ever because nothing is really ideal) but there is a 0% chance you'll get there if you don't know what it is for you specifically.
To figure this out, ask yourself what you'd love your schedule to look like in an ideal world. Then compare that to where you are currently. This is likely going to be tough because you aren't close to where you want to be but you can get there one step at a time.
I've recorded a short video walking you through this exercise and how to stair step your way to your ideal schedule.
Step 4: Stop The Comparison Game
Once you know what success is for you, what enough is for your business and what you're striving for in terms of your schedule, it's time to put the blinders on. Because you could do all this and still fall prey to never feeling like you're doing enough, making enough money or achieving enough success if you're constantly looking over your shoulder at others.
Whether it's social media, email, books, podcasts, or personal connections, pay close attention to what information you're consuming. If anything is making you feel less-than when it comes to your business, it's time to pause/mute/stop that content from making it into your brain because it causes negative feelings.
But before you get down on yourself or defensive about comparing yourself to others, I want to remind you that it's part of our human nature and happens automatically. There is an evolutionary origin of comparison so what we have to do is put up our defenses since it's something that will happen naturally.
"Furthermore, social comparison often occurs fast, requires few cognitive resources, and can happen automatically [Galinsky and Schweitzer, 2015]. For instance, subliminal exposure to the picture of Albert Einstein resulted in lower self‐evaluations about one's intelligence, whereas subliminal exposure to the picture of a clown led to higher self‐evaluations about one's intelligence [Stapel and Blanton, 2004]."
For this, I encourage you to notice any type of content that causes you to feel either "better-than" or "less-than" another entrepreneur. If you have these feelings pop up after seeing, reading or hearing the content, it's causing you to compare yourself and it's time to disconnect from that content, even if for just a season.
Take Away Message / Action
Remember that to create a sustainable business you have to know:
What success is for you
What enough is for this season in your business
What your ideal schedule is
What content is making you compare yourself to others
The answers are going to be different for everyone and the path to a sustainable business will be different as well but these questions will help you get there. By staying true to what you want you won't have to sacrifice the quality of your life to have the business of your dreams.
Until next time give yourself permission to define what sustainable business means for you and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon.
Free Workshop: https://amandamckinney.com/workshop
All podcast episodes: https://pod.link/1473751874
Amanda's Website: https://www.amandamckinney.com/
Amanda's Coaching Options: https://www.amandamckinney.com/coaching
Amanda's Book: https://www.amandamckinney.com/book
Profitable Business Blog Post (with Free Financial Tracker): https://www.amandamckinney.com/post/how-to-create-a-profitable-small-business
"When I say sustainable, I mean sustainable for you to maintain both financially and emotionally because I know you want a business that integrates into your life instead of taking it over."
- Amanda McKinney
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