Testing the impossible to change your business and change your life
He could see it all over my face. Despite my best efforts I was doing a miserable job of hiding it.
I had been wearing seven different hats… and it was one of those days that you feel building up for a month.
Tom, now a business partner in MBS, was at a similar stage in his life. Young family, grand plans to make a dent in the world, and an unwavering desire to be a successful business owner.
He knew how I was feeling because he’d been there too. He knew the stress and strain that comes with ‘being everything to everyone’ when getting your business off the ground.
“Down tools, get yourself a decent bottle of red on the way home and read this.” I needed little additional encouragement. Tom’s instructions served as an essential distraction from the chaos that lay around me. Files strewn across my desk and an inbox piling up quicker than the highway on a long weekend.
Hearing the office door shut behind me that day was more relieving than an hour-long Shiatsu massage.
As I sunk into the sofa, I knew exactly why Tom had handed me that particular book.
Written by wildly successful entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss: ‘Tools of Titans’ is part ‘business owner’s self-help guide’ and part ‘checklist of things to stop doing.’
If you’re not familiar with his work, Ferriss, who was once referred to as a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk, is renowned for challenging the status quo, for questioning why we do things the way we do things, and constantly seeking a better way.
There was no doubt I was ‘seeking a better way.’ It felt like I hadn’t stopped to take a breath since starting the business just 6 months prior and I was either about to be made a bachelor again or headed for a straightjacket if I didn’t make some changes and quickly.
Since opening the doors of my financial advice business, the work had been flowing in steadily. But it was really as I began to grow that the problems started; and the problems as a I came to realise, were all a result of my long-held beliefs. Beliefs engrained in me from a young age. I would constantly remember my Pop telling me “if you want anything done right, you’ve gotta do it yourself.” I’d recall my workaholic Uncle rattling off his personal favourite “the only way to be a success is to work half a day every day of your life – it doesn’t matter if it’s the first 12 hours or the last 12 hours!” Without knowing it, these two beliefs had become engrained in my subconscious.
I believed that hard work would deliver success. So, I continued to do it all myself. I was writing SOAs, pitching new clients, networking for referrals, writing marketing content, trying to learn about SEO…
Reading through Ferriss’ book that afternoon, I’ve never experienced a greater shift in my own beliefs, and with that, an incredible sense of relief. It was almost as though someone gave me permission to do less without feeling guilty. Maybe success could look different?
Within the book there were two new ways of thinking that had the biggest impact on me that day. So much so, they have become daily reference points in my business. They form part of a more expansive list of questions Ferriss credits as “having dramatically changed (his) life.” You can read the full list here.
- “What would this look like it if were easy?”
As Ferriss explains “If I feel stressed, stretched thin, or overwhelmed, it’s usually because I’m overcomplicating something or failing to take the simple/easy path because I feel I should be trying “harder” (old habits die hard).”
- “How can I throw money at this problem? How can I “waste” money to improve the quality of my life?”
The best way to think of this, as Ferriss puts it: “If you’ve got enough money to solve the problem, you don’t have the problem. In the beginning of your career, you spend time to earn money. Once you hit your stride in any capacity, you should spend money to earn time, as the latter is non-renewable.”
Shifting my beliefs from ‘I must be and do everything to be successful’ to ‘I must not be and do everything if I am to be successful’ is the single largest factor behind the sustained growth of my business since that day. Growth that has only come by asking for help, by outsourcing, and by employing people far smarter than I.
It has led to the creation of a more profitable and valuable business. But, most of all it has given me time. Time to work on my business, time to thinking clearly, and time to spend with my family – the only thing that matters when all is said and done.
I’ll admit it wasn’t until running our first 6-week lead generating masterclass that I began to realise many financial advisers across the country, particularly ex-bank financial advisers, are facing the same challenge I once was. My only hope for them is that they discover the much simpler, less stressful, and more rewarding path to success. A path that has the potential to change their business and change their life – if they believe it will.
If you too are struggling to run your Financial Advice business and ‘be everything to everyone’, contact MBS to find out what coaching options are available to you.
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