Transcript: Three BIG Decisions I Wish I Had Made Sooner (and Why You Should Make Them Now)

August 22, 2019


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Well, hey, there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and today I'm going to share with you three decisions that I should have made sooner. Three decisions in my life and in business that I should have made sooner, but I didn't because I thought I first needed to make money before I made these decisions. So I thought I needed to make a lot of money before I actually took the leap and made the decisions, and I was mistaken. 

I am on a mission in my business to help entrepreneurs make the kind of money they want to make in the way they want to make it by building an online business. So I want you to experience financial freedom in whatever way that means to you, and so that is my mission, and I want to help you make lots of money and lots of impact in those that you serve. But also, I want to make sure that you don't make the same mistakes I've made along the way. And listen, friend, I have made a lot of them. 

I've been building my business for ten years now. It is insanely profitable, incredibly successful. I am very, very fortunate. It took a while to get here, and there were a lot of missteps along the way, but I'm in a really great place in the business. And I've been making some really big decisions lately, but I just realized, as I was reflecting on them, I could have made these decisions sooner, and I should have. 

So let's just get to it. I'm going to share these with you, but here's why I am sharing them with you. I'm not sharing them with you to be extra vulnerable or to show you a special side of me or anything like that. I literally just want to cut through the noise and say, “I'm sharing these with you because I don't want you to make these same mistakes.” I pray that you walk away from this episode, and you at least take action on one of these mistakes I've made, and you make the decision to take action on them sooner, like, right now, no matter where you are financially. So that's what my hope is for this episode. 

Okay, so, let's just get to it. Are you ready? All right. The first decision that I waited to make until I was making good money was hiring a financial advisor. Now, there might be a few different names for a financial adviser, but I'm talking about somebody who will look at the money you're making now and the money you want to make and help you create a financial portfolio, whether it be investing or buying property or saving or whatever it might be. They are somebody that you trust that will help guide you and make sure that you are making really good financial decisions now and in the future. 

So I've had a financial adviser for a few years, but I wish that I started with a financial adviser ten, fifteen years ago. So I'm 43 years old, and I really do believe that if I started in my late twenties, early thirties, it would be a whole lot easier now. Now, I'm very fortunate that we make really good money so I could start to build it up quicker than most. However, dang it, I could have done some amazing things if I would have made the decision to hire someone I trust early on. 

So here's the thing: you might not be making a lot of money right now. However, if you get into the habit of investing early, and you get in the habit of deciding how much you're going to save and in which way you're going to save and in which way you're going to invest, even when you're making, let's say, $50,000 a year, can you imagine those habits and those rituals and those beliefs and your thought process, how that will shape you early on and how you can use that when you're making bank in a few years from now? I mean, if I'm on a mission to help you grow your business with digital courses, and if I'm on a mission to help you make a lot of money and make a big impact in your business, then, we are just going to put it out there in the universe that you're going to be making a lot of money. Heck, you might even be making millions in a few years from now. But don't wait to get a financial advisor that you really trust and that will help guide you early on. 

Now, I'm not going to get into all the specifics around a financial adviser and my beliefs around investing and saving and all that. That's not what this is about. All I want you to do is start to look for somebody you would trust to help guide you in your financial decisions. My team, most of the people on my team, are pretty young. They're in their twenties and thirties, most of them. And I tell them all the time, get a financial adviser, like now. Now is the time. And so I’ve been telling everybody this for a few now based on my mistake and my misconception that, well, they're not going to really be able to help me unless I'm making tons of money. That is not true. 

I want to also tell you something cool in the sense of I'm really proud of Hobie and I and how we did this. I think we talked about this on an episode we just did, so forgive me because you probably already heard this. But we had a lawyer that we are working on in the business, and he was a lot older than us. And he was really wealthy, and you could tell he's had money for most of his life, meaning once he started his career, he saved, he invested, he made smart decisions, and he took his finances really seriously. And so Hobie and I worked with this lawyer for a little over a year, and when we were wrapping some stuff up that he was helping us with, I looked at Hobie and I said, “Whoever his financial advisor is, we need those people. That's who we want to work with because he's obviously doing many things right when it comes to his finances,” because he would give us little tips and strategies and advice over the year we worked with him, and it was really solid stuff, and it was grounded and conservative, and we like that. Being a little bit older, we don't want to get too crazy with our money right now. And so we asked him. We said, “Who is your financial adviser?” And he said, “Well, I've been working with him for twenty years.” No surprise. I'm not surprised, whatsoever. And so we did some investigative work, and we interviewed with a financial advising team, and they’re fantastic, and we've been working with them for a little while now. And so I loved how we found our financial advisor because we first worked with someone we trusted, and then we said, “Who are you using? Who do you trust?” And so I feel like recommendations like that go a long way. 

So anyway, that is the first mistake Hobie and I made. We waited way too long to start working with a financial advisor. I wish we had started way, way early, even when I wasn't making good money.

Okay, so, number two is that I waited way too long to grow my team, and this is a new realization. So one of the things that's kind of funny about being an expert online and teaching your students and being a public figure in the sense of in this small little world I’m in, how I've been around for a while now, and so I have given advice that has worked really well for me. And I've talked about having a small-but-mighty team for years and years and years. And I've also been very against growing a bigger team. 

Now, bigger team, smaller team, small but mighty, that's all relative, right? When I say, “What's a small-but-mighty team,” you might say, “Well, I say twenty people on a team is a small team,” where I would say, “Two people on a team, that feels like a good, small-but-mighty team. Coming from corporate and just being so done with that world, I didn't want anything that even resembled a business that was in the corporate environment. So I always thought, “Keep the team small and nimble, and that's going to serve you well.” 

But then, over the last year—so this is fairly new to me—I have realized that I have really big dreams for this business, and I have really big goals. Not just financial goals. If you listen to the episode I did about setting the goals for the year, you know that we are on a mission to hit $10 million this year. We are on track. We are beating our goal right now in terms of staying on track. So all of that is great. But that's one of our big goals. But beyond that, I want to reach more people. I want to genuinely help people create online businesses and reach their financial freedom, whatever that means to them. 

And so I realized I can't do that with a small-but-mighty team when I'm taxing my team, when they're working nights and weekends and feeling very stressed and overwhelmed, including myself. And so I looked at these people that I love dearly, my team, and realized this isn't going to work. And I also realized we were missing some really great talent on the team. We were missing some people that could really help us. And so we have been on a mission for about—we've decided this for almost a year now—but for about six months, we've been deep into the hiring process. So we went from about five full-time employees to, I think we have ten full-time employees now. And I think by the end of the year we'll have thirteen or fourteen full-time employees. That is a big deal to me. Still kind of makes me nervous when I say it. 

But here's where you come in and why I wanted to teach you this lesson. I think I waited too long to add to my team. And I have had a V.A., a virtual assistant, from about the first year of my business. I tell a story how I hired a V.A. who—her name is Rebecca. Shout-out to Rebecca, if you are listening at all—sweet, sweet Rebecca. She was five hours a week. She didn't know what she was doing in my business; I didn't know what she was going to do my business. We were very green together, which makes it extra special, but we figured it out. And then she end up being full time before she left years ago; this is a long time ago. And so I’ve always had a virtual assistant to help me, but I'm talking about a project manager, or if you subscribe to the book Traction like I do, an integrator, which is Chloe on my team, and somebody to run your community, and somebody to run your customer support, and somebody to help you with your content. Those are some core positions that if you want a business like mine, if you want to create digital courses or a membership site or master minds, you definitely are going to want a community, you're going to want a project manager, you're going to want somebody to run your customer support. These are some core positions that you're going to want to look into. 

And I think hiring slow, firing fast is something that I really believe in and something that I wish I would have done, meaning—not the firing fast. That's not where I'm going with this conversation—but the hiring slow but steady. So, years ago I should have been building up my team just a little by little. Hiring five full-time employees in the last six months, I don’t suggest that to anybody. It’s something that I knew it was going to be rough for a bit to get everyone trained, and I said, “Bring it on. It's temporary. I can get through this. We can get through this.” But it's not the ideal scenario, just for the record. 

Hobie’s ex-wife, Tracy, she is—you all know that she's a dear friend of mine, and Hobie and her are really close, and she set us up. You've heard the story. If you haven’t, there's an episode about it, with Hobie and I. However, my point being is she is an H.R. recruiter, and she's come into the business as a contractor, and she's helped me hire all these people. And she said, “Amy, you know this is really tough when you hire this many people so quickly,” and I know she's right. It has been tough, but it's also completely worth it. You guys know when you're on a mission, when you're like, “Bring it on. I'm ready for this,” you're going to get through even the hard stuff, but you don't have to. 

So my advice to you, so you don't make the mistake that I made, is in your first year of business, definitely look into hiring a virtual assistant. I think that's where everyone should start. In your second year of business, I would start considering a project manager or if you read Traction and Rocket Fuel, two books I love, same author—Rocket Fuel, Traction, this idea of an integrator. I love having an integrator on my team, and I think that's a really important role to hire on in, let's say, your second year of business. If you can swing it, do it. 

Now, you might be saying, “Amy, how do you hire people when you don't have a lot of money?” Well, maybe you don't hire full time in the beginning, maybe you can't hire the top, top talent right from the get-go, but you can figure this out. You can find the money to hire, and maybe you take a little less in the beginning so that these people can help you build the team, they can help you get some systems in place, they can help you start bringing in more revenue. So from there, that's when you want to start looking at the other areas of your team.

And here’s a little hint for you. If you do read the books Rocket Fuel and Traction, you'll learn about something called EOS, entrepreneur operating system. And we use EOS in our business, and this is not something that you need to dive into right away and tackle. But there is this concept inside of EOS about putting together your accountability chart—also, in the corporate world, called the org chart—and starting to think about what you want your team to look like down the road—this is something I never did—so what you want your team to look like. Maybe in two years from now, what positions will be filled? Who will be in the roles? So you can future pace your hiring and start looking at what it might look like as you grow your team. 

Guys, it’s a game changer when you're not doing this alone. It's a game changer when you have support. And that's why I'm such a big proponent of building digital courses and wanting to help you do so, because when you do create a digital course—and many of my students have created a digital course all on their own or with one V.A., so believe me, this is something you can start early on—but if you create a digital course and you start generating revenue with your digital course, you can use some of that revenue to start hiring steadily and slowly. And so that's where that revenue, some of that revenue, can go toward, building up your team. 

That's how I wish I did it, and I didn’t. What I did is I said, “I want a small team. I want a small team,” as I'm working nights and weekends and burning out my team. And then I realized, “Wait, this isn't working.” And sure, it's easy to hire when you make a lot of money, but I could have grown faster in the business, I could have had a lot less stress, I would have worked a lot less if I were to hire slow and steady years ago and started building up the team. That’s the best way to do it, and I didn’t do it that way. So just take my advice and start looking at where you can hire now and where you want to hire in the future. Paint the picture for yourself, and then work toward that. So, something to think about.

Okay, moving in to the final decision that I took way too long to make, and this one is really all about mindset, and that is that I felt that I needed to make a lot of money before I could create really clear boundaries or rituals in my lifestyle that allowed me to have the time off that I wanted to take off. And so let me explain this a little bit. I come from a blue-collar family. My dad was a firefighter. My mom was a stay-at-home mom for many years, and then she became a hairstylist. So blue collar to the bone. And they both worked really, really, really hard and long hours as well. And so that's all I had known. 

And I also came from a family that money was tight or was held onto really tightly. So we weren't hurting for money, but my dad definitely did not act in abundance. You know, you hear a lot of talk about that in the industry, in the online-marketing industry, about abundance and there's more where that came from. And I do subscribe to that now, but I wasn't raised like that. 

And so with that, my dad was all about hard work, hard work, hard work, and so we didn't use the word hustle, but my dad was a hustler, for sure. And so that's ingrained in me. And so I've always thought, “Until my business is making a lot of money, I've got to hustle—nights, weekends, whatever it takes.” Thinking about work, talking about work, obsessing about work. Work, work, work, work, work. I just thought that was how you have to do it. And this is something that I have worked hard to un-train my brain around, and it's a huge mistake. 

So up until just recently, the last few years, I've started to create boundaries about when I work and when I don't work, or taking more time off, or now I have a morning ritual. So three days a week, I work out with a virtual trainer. Every morning, I make time for my bulletproof coffee. I have a rule that we do not do early-morning meetings, because that's the time that I'm either spending with Hobie or just having some quiet time so I can figure some things out, whether it be in the business or personal or whatever. And recently I hired an executive assistant, and this is why it got me thinking of this to talk to you about it. We were looking at my calendar, and I was telling her my boundaries. I was saying, “I wake up at 5:30 every morning. I'm an early bird, but I don't want meetings at 7 or 8 a.m. I don't want any meetings until 9.” And I said, “I might work some nights a little bit later if I choose, but I don't want anything to be mandatory after 6 p.m. And I'd like my weekends off.” And some of you might be hearing this, like, “Oh my gosh. That's not what you've done for a long time?” It's not. And so it's something that I've had to train myself to do and actually get out of the habit of just saying yes to everything and just piling it all on. 

And so I want to share with you that no matter if you're making $50,000 or $50 million or anywhere in between, you should have boundaries to protect yourself and your sanity and your mindset. I want you to have morning rituals, whatever they look like for you. Every morning, I walk Scout. Every morning. It's just part of my morning ritual. One, I'm obsessed with my dog, and I think he needs a walk and deserves it because he's so sweet and so cute. Two, it's good for me and my mind and my body. I like that time. I like to listen to podcasts and walk Scout. That is a non-negotiable. 

I want you to have any non-negotiable, what it means for you, every single morning before you do any meetings or any work stuff with anybody else on your team. And I want you to tell yourself when you're going to stop working, and also, what do weekends look like, and what about vacations and all of that? You don't have to be rolling in the money to have boundaries and rituals.

One of the things that has helped me a lot is Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner. We're doing an experiment on my team, and I'll share this experiment with all of you when it's over. But everybody on my team has a Full Focus Planner. I’ll link to it in the show notes, if you don't know what I'm talking about. And I used to just have a pad of paper where I'd write from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and I’d write every hour on the pad of paper and then write in my tasks and whatever. And that work for me for a long time, super simple. I like simplicity. However, I wanted to get more intentional about how I spent my mornings, what I did during the day, what I committed to, what I got done, and I wanted my team to do the same. 

So everyone, for the next ninety days, is using a Full Focus Planner every day in my business, and we're actually Slacking the daily plan to each other in a Slack channel. We're not necessarily reading everybody's, but we're just keeping ourselves accountable. And the reason for that is, one of the things I love about the Full Focus Planner is Michael talks about mourning rituals and end-of-day rituals, and that really got me into the habit of having these habits that I do on a regular basis. 

And I could have done this when I was making a whole lot less money, but I felt like I was having to hustle, and I said yes to everything, and I had very few boundaries, like I was going to miss out on something. FOMO was alive and well with me. And I think that that burned me out many, many times. I can look back in the ten years of building this business, and there were many moments of burnout. And so now I'm committed to making sure I protect my time. And having an executive assistant, or personal assistant, virtual assistant, whatever you want to call the person that's going to support you, having them be an advocate to support your boundaries is really helpful as well. 

So going back to the other mistake I made—waiting too long to hire—I think if you do hire a virtual assistant, have that person be your protector of your calendar and your meetings and the time off and the time on. Don't just leave it up to you, because you're going to want to pile it all on because you're excited or you're nervous—you're nervous that you're not going to make enough money—or you're excited about your mission, or a little bit of both. But that urgency of wanting to make it all work breeds hustle and yes, I'll do it all. So maybe having a virtual assistant can watch over that calendar, like I have my executive assistant do, that is really helpful. 

So this last one, I learned the hard way. It's like a work in progress. I still have to check myself on this one. But if I started, let's say, ten years ago, protecting my mornings and my time off and shutting down the work earlier than usual, like, what I was doing, I think it would create a better environment for me. I think I would have been more creative. I would have come up with better solutions. I would have likely made more money and a bigger impact because I do believe that you can do less and make more. I've proven it to myself many times over the last ten years, but I've also, then, reverted back to hustle, hustle, hustle. So this is me being a work in progress, but just really sharing with you. 

Remember, this episode actually is not about me, although it sounds like it is right now. Let's go back to you. My lesson for you, or my hope for you, I should say, is that you create morning rituals and boundaries and non-negotiables, no matter how much you're making right now. And I believe that you will be a better entrepreneur if you do so. I really do. And if you look at some of your mentors, I bet some of them—obviously, I'm not the perfect example in this area—but some of the people you follow, I bet they're a really great example of putting themselves first and taking the time and the self-care and all of that. Follow those examples because it can be done, it should be done, and it's important. And again, I think you’ll make more money and a bigger impact if you do this early on. So, you do not need to make a lot of money to have boundaries and to protect your time. So, just wanted to point that out. Hustle is not the only way to success. Take it from me and my big, big mistakes along the way.

So, there you have it. I know this episode is a little bit different, but I wanted to take a break from the typical “how to create courses, build your email list, do webinars, and all things online marketing”—all the stuff I love to talk about—and just share with you a little bit of the behind-the-scenes lessons I've learned along the way and to remind you that you can make some really great, smart decisions right now, no matter how much money you’re making. So don't let the amount of money in your bank account drive all the decisions you're making. That's not genuinely what it's all about. I can promise you that. 

All right. I hope this episode inspired you, gave you some ideas, and I hope you at least take action on one of those three decisions. Make them early on, no matter where you are in your business. 

All right, guys. Thank you so very, very much for tuning in. I'm one lucky girl that I get the opportunity to chat with you every single week. I will be here, same time, same place next week, so I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye for now.

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