Working for yourself is hard until you get used to it. Even if you have no employees, you need to think like a boss. The first step is to evaluate yourself as your own employee. If you were your boss, would you be happy with the level of commitment and energy that you are giving to your business. Would you approve of you bunking off to waste time watching your favourite soap? Would you be happy with you bunking off to run an errand for your wife? Would you be happy with your timekeeping? Would you believe that you had your workflow organised as well as possible? Would you be happy with your attitude? If you can honestly say that you have everything organised then you are unusual.
It takes a bit of a mental shift initially but you will soon get used to it and it will become second nature. The best productivity tool I have ever used is Simpleology. This site created by one of the true internet greats, Mark Joyner, is designed to get you into the habit of organising your workflow. When he was taking on coaching clients, who were paying many thousands of dollars a month, he insisted they follow the first 21 day training before the coaching even started. There is a free level which is fine initially. I use the pro level which is $7 a month and all I need. Perhaps if you like even more automation, then the elite level at $57 a month may be worth it but certainly not needed when you are just getting started.
Believe me, you will be amazed at how quickly your productivity and focus improve if you just log in every working day and do the tasks. Several people I know have compared it to alchemy!
The next thing we need to look at is your understanding of your value. You may feel I am going off track here, but follow through and you will see what I mean. You may have heard people talk about the Law of Attraction. There has been plenty written about it and at least one film, The Secret, which all suggest that you can attract things into your life just by focusing on them. Most people, however much they try visualisation and other techniques, cannot get it to work. Yet work it does! Briefly, most people don’t understand it therefore don’t correctly apply it. The impression is that you can make anything happen just by focusing on it. Sadly for most people, what happens is that we worry about our problems so much that it is them that become the focus and a self fulfilling prophesy almost.
What your mindset can’t do is affect is things outside your own control. You can’t control who falls in love with you for example. You can’t control who is awarded a contract, other than by you producing the best tender. You can’t affect the economy. What you can affect is your own attitude and outlook on life, and some people believe, the physical world around you. However most of us are held back by our own valuations of ourselves. Our expectation of what we truly believe we are worth. Certainly there are forces at work that I don’t pretend to understand, and I can only present my experience as an example.
I spent a number of years training and managing direct salespeople. That has to be one of the most brutal ways of earning a living. The way it works is you get handed an appointment that has been generated by, usually, some form of cold calling. It can be miles away. You travel there at your own expense and do a presentation to the customer in their own home. Often they have never heard of your company until a couple of days previously, yet you are expected to emerge a few hours later with a signed contract for many thousands of pounds. Your pay is between 7% and 12% of the order providing it goes through smoothly, you have costed it correctly, It doesn’t fail finance, the surveyor doesn’t find any problems, if he does the cost usually comes out your commission, and it fits without problems. With conservatories for example there is also planning and building control permissions to factor in. There are also very few repeat customers, maybe a few referrals, but virtually every customer is a one time deal.
If you leave without the contract, the next day your sales manager is going to phone them, and offer the product with most of your commission stripped out of it. You may even have to waste your time going back to do the paperwork as a punishment. That costs you a lead, and puts you down the queue for the next lead. The top salesperson gets the first lead and so on down. It’s nothing unusual to leave a customer’s home at 11 o’clock at night with over 100 miles to drive home, knowing that the paperwork has to be in the office by 9 am the next morning. If you don’t get sales you will be working every day, if there are leads available, until you do. One company I worked for generated 30 % of their annual business from the January sales. Between Boxing Day and the end of January, you worked every day except New Years Day often from 9 in the morning until after midnight. Conducive to an active social life it is not!
Many of the top salespeople are in the six figures a year bracket. Remember that next time someone comes to sell you a kitchen, double glazing, or a conservatory.
Part of my duties involved doing appraisals, partly to check that salespeople were doing their job properly, partly to find out why some were so much more successful than others. It puzzled me when I watched some of the top earners. They seemed to have the same skills, the same attitude, the same professionalism yet one would be making £220k a year, another £80k and another only £35k. I began to wonder if I was missing something when several of the top earners told me it was because they were in partnership with their God.
What I discovered shook me even more. I analysed all their pitches, sales, and earnings. All three were writing roughly the same amount of business, yet the amount fitting and on which they got paid varied dramatically. I could find no reasons for the difference, and yet it was there year after year.
The gentleman earning over £200k told me he had been earning that amount for over ten years because he had made a commitment to provide £80k a year for his village back home in India. He knew he would earn that amount. It was his expectation. The person making £80k had been made redundant from a middle management job and needed to make that to maintain his lifestyle, pay his children’s school fees, etc. He expected to be able to replace the £70k salary that he had been making.
The third person said how well he was doing for a kid from a council scheme who had left school at 15. He said £35k was meeting his wildest dreams. It meant that he could have everything he ever wanted!
Yet all three covered the same amount of appointments, had similar closing rates, sold roughly the same percentage of finance deals and wrote the same amount of business. Yet each earned his expectation!
The God thing appeared to be more about the belief structure that religious people had, more than their actual spirituality. If you truly believe in God then it is easier to believe that you have the God-given power to control things than it is if you have no organised belief structure to begin with.
I have since seen the same sort of results in other circumstances. It would appear that whatever you do, your earnings are limited by your honest belief in your own worth and your own expectations.
That brings us back to worth. If you are doing a job that only pays £9 an hour that doesn’t mean that that is what you are worth. For a start there is 25 days a year holiday to take into consideration as well as 12% employers National Insurance. That takes the cost to your employer up to £11.15 an hour. Now let’s take a simple example. Say you are one of four mechanics working in a small garage. As well as the mechanics there is the boss and the secretary. Neither of them produce anything directly. They are just administrators. The cost of rent, rates, fuel, telephone and their wages all have to be met from the value of the work that the four mechanics complete, as well as create the profit for the business. As a general rule in the private sector, if you aren’t producing a minimum of 7 times the cost of your wages, you won’t have a job to go to. That means that the person on £9 an hour has to be generating somewhere around £77 an hour. A person on £15 an hour must generate £130 an hour. That explains why the labour cost of any job is always so high.
So if someone earning £9 an hour has a true worth of at least £77, if they could instead retain that value themselves for a 35 hour week, working only 42 weeks a year, ie during term time, they would earn £113,190 a year. Even retaining only half their true worth they would be on £56,595, well above the average national wage. That of course is the reason why the vast majority of rich people run their own businesses. It gives them the opportunity to retain their own value.
The next thing I am going to look at is practical strategies for increasing your own valuation of your worth and ways of increasing your self-esteem, confidence, and expectation.