The last 6 years in business have been transformative for me – both personally and financially. I have never been more fulfilled and purpose-driven than I have been doing what I do. And, as a result of stepping out on faith (it took a huge leap of faith to leave what others thought was a secure lifestyle to delve into the unknown), I’ve learned some powerful lessons. This journey has taken me places that I’ve only dreamed of going, while accomplishing some key milestones along the way.
Folks always ask how I did “it.” Recognizing the importance of paying it forward and sharing what I’ve learned, I managed to synthesize an actionable list of the 10 lessons I learned while making my first $1 million.
1) Invest in personal development first (and consistently).
Before entering the matchmaking profession, I spent several years in self-development. I went back to school and obtained a graduate degree, participated in multiple coaching programs, became an intern (as a 30-year-old adult), attended numerous conferences and more.
I noticed that many of my peers stopped the “study” grind once they “made it.” But I’ve learned that sustained success is dependent upon the research of your craft , and is something that should never stop.
2) Stop chasing money and start chasing problems.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t create lasting legacy or make fortunes because they can come up with clever solutions. It’s because they become infatuated with problems.
In previous ventures, I always fixated on either making money or making cool products. When I became a matchmaker, I changed my focus to a problem that has kept me up at night for the last 6 years.
3) Never be dependent on one source of income.
When I started matchmaking, I quickly realized matchmaking was cyclical (with summer months being the slow season), so I launched coaching services and launched flow dating events.
As my business has matured, I’ve created revenue streams outside of matchmaking (and the above listed).
4). Remove all middle-men.
I love affiliate programs, but know you’re never going to make a fortune peddling books that aren’t yours.
TV shows actually don’t make people money, but I know several people who do by developing their own videos and delivering them to their fans directly.
For me, it was traffic. I relied on Facebook and Twitter to drive sales, but those platforms squeezed us out. Still, it helped me build a sizable email list that helped save my business.
You never want to find yourself relying solely on third party platforms to drive your business because the developers of those same platforms have the power to change how things are done. That’s why it’s important to do everything you can to remove the middleman.
5). There is no such thing as “get rich quick.”
Get rid of your “I’m going to be a millionaire by ___ (fill in desired age). Also, stop with the thoughts that your pyramid marketing participation is going to make you a billionaire. It’s simply not healthy.
For me personally, growing up I always said I was going to make my first million by age 25, then moved it to 26, then to 27, then to 28, then to 29, then to 30 and it continued.
Wealth (not riches) should be what you’re after. I define wealth as a concept that goes beyond monetary attachment. For me, it’s all about living a healthy, fulfilled life and helping find solutions to the problems that keep me up at night.
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”― Epitectus. I couldn’t agree more.
6). All money ain’t good money.
Early on in my matchmaking career, I took on any client I could get. People who had no business in a professional matchmaking service, I still took them on. I did it because I needed the money.
Turns out those clients ended up needing greater amounts of my time (and on a per hour basis, I could have been paid more flipping burgers) and where the greatest liabilities.
Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, but be selective with who you’re making money from .
7). Get serious about analytics.
Someone once said, “What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done.”
Once I was able to better identify where customers came from, how long the sales process was, and what messaging better resonated, I was able to dramatically increase conversion rates. For measurement of my efforts, I use Google, Facebook, and Twitter analytics.
8). Focus on one customer at a time.
My grandfather once told me, “you don’t have a real business unless you can sell a product to 10 people.”
Early in my matchmaking career, I focused on selling to those 10. In the process, I learned the importance of listening and adjusting. All great entrepreneurs made slight modifications to products and services along the way.
Listening and adjusting is imperative (that’s how I not only got to the 10 in the early days, but how I just surpassed 600 clients over 6 years). Each new customer should realize the value of your knowledge from your experience with all previous customers.
9). You can do it!!!
Of course, making $1 million isn’t everything, but to an entrepreneur, it’s a solid milestone. The key to achieving goals is first knowing that they’re possible. As the wise business strategist Napoleon Hill once stated, “whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
10). Continue to strive for greater.
If you can make $1 million, making 10 of them thangs ain’t too outlandish of a goal :-).
Even after you achieve your goals in both business and life, there’s always growth when new challenges are identified and tackled. One never “arrives,” so it’s important to continue to set your goals – whatever they may be – higher and higher.
There’s really a variety of important factors that contribute to the achievement of this goal: stepping out on faith, proper positioning and planning, and training. And while money isn’t everything and is certainly not the key indicator of “success,” having tangible resources to work with while on the path to making your dreams come true is important – and very encouraging. These lessons, paired with the practice of successful habits, will have you well on your way to accomplishing, and surpassing your own personal and business goals!