Hmmm.. a weird psychological shift when we move from employee to business owner…

I had a really interesting chat with a client last week about why we don’t always do the things we know we should, when we run our own business.

A few years back, I was a sales executive with Telstra and had monthly sales budget. Back in those days this budget was $120k in new sales.  What motivated me to achieve this budget was really quite simple;  If I didn’t reach it, then my job was in jeopardy and if I did reach it, then I was rewarded with bonuses, which multiplied each time I exceeded my target. 

Catching the train to work one morning and I was listening to a CD by Bryan Tracy.  He said ‘Why don’t you go to work today and ask your boss what it would take for them to pay you twice as much and give you a promotion?’  I remember the excitement and fear that built up inside me when I heard this.  Could I really go and ask my boss this question?  I decided to face my fears and booked a meeting with the boss that day.

As it was I who had called the meeting, my boss Steve asked in a curious voice ‘Andrew, what can I do for you?’ I swallowed, smiled and with a nervous touch to my voice, asked ‘What will it take for you to pay me twice as much as you do now and give me a promotion?’

Steve looked quite shocked with this question.  After what felt like ten minutes of silence but was probably only thirty seconds, Steve replied ‘Andrew – give me 200% of your sales budget for the next six months and I will double your pay and ensure you get a promotion within the company’. I was so excited; I could hardly believe it could be so simple.  We confirmed the agreement in writing, and my 6 month goal was set to begin the following week.

Six months later I achieved my goal and was so pleased when my boss honoured his side of the deal and I received a 100% increase in pay and also a promotion.  Within 2 months of taking the promotion, and with growing confidence, I decided to quit my job and start my own business as a coach.

And this is where the trouble started.  Like most people, I started my business journey full of excitement believing I was now going to live the dream.

The problem was I, didn’t have someone giving me a set target nor did I didn’t have a structure that said, ‘make this many calls and you will get these results’.  I didn’t have a plan that described what activity I was going to do to get results.   If I didn’t do the work, there was no one to discuss it with and no one to tell me my job was in trouble because I wasn’t doing the work.

There was no one to keep me accountable, ensuring that I hit my budgets and goals.  That first year in business was one of the toughest years I have ever been through.  My plans completely backfired.  Like many people, I went into business because I wanted the freedom to do what I wanted, and in my own time.   The truth is, running your own business sounds great but it can create a BIG PROBLEM.  By taking advantage of this freedom I almost went broke in the process.

This same scenario is being played out all the time.  People move from being employee’s, where they have a set of KPI’s and objectives, to running their own business, because they want the freedom to live a great life.  The problem is, they, (like me) don’t hold themselves accountable and therefore don’t do the things that MUST be adopted to run a successful company.  We ALL get caught up doing the things that are EASY but not $$ productive and then wonder why we haven’t achieved the initial dreams we set out with.

Did you know that people who are held accountable, are 98% more likely to achieve their goals than people who aren’t?  That is why I decided to invest in accountability from my 2nd year.  I couldn’t afford it, but knew that was the exact reason I needed to do it.  My first accountability mentor knew what KPI’s I needed to set, and what activities I needed to do. Very quickly there were positive results in my business because I was doing the right things again and was back on track. Nine years later, I still invest in accountability and always will.  There are three types of accountability in my life;

  1. A business coach,
  2. A mastermind group, and
  3. Some mates in business who I speak to monthly and we help each other set goals and review what we have been doing.

I believe there is a psychological shift which happens when people move from Employee to Business Owner.  We need to re-create our role as if we are still an employee – i.e. write out our job description and put some KPI’s around our role.  We then need to get someone to help us review this and help us stick to it.  The results will come quicker than you can imagine.

Have a profitable week,


p.s. if you are interested in a 30 minute accountability session to see the power of how it works, I am offering five (5) 30 minute sessions during October.  Click here to register your interest.

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