Don’t believe everything you see or hear. Growing a company isn’t as easy as you think—and that’s ok.
Money and me. We’ve never really had the best relationship. I guess it’s because I never really cared for it.
I lived my entire 20s in pure “experience mode”. I did awesome things, like cruised around the world, participated in the 2010 Torch Relay, lived in Ireland, and hosted a travel tv show. All of that paid me—sometimes really well—but I never held on to the money.
I remember being 18 and my best friend at the time told me, “Adera, you have to put away 10% of everything that you make.” For something called…“retirement”.
“Yeah right,” I said. “That’s so far away, and I can barely put gas in my car. I’m not giving up 10% of my earnings for someday that might not come. Why think about tomorrow when today is happening RIGHT NOW?” That was my attitude for the next ten years. Yikes.
I have come to realize the importance of money. Why? It provides freedom. You can make better choices, access more experiences, contribute to more causes, and, well…have nice stuff, if that floats your boat. (I’m not always sure it floats mine.)
Nothing has taught me more about money than the entrepreneurial journey I embarked on when I turned 30. After a few false starts with other ventures and one last stint of soul-sucking employment, I launched Spiro Creative with my husband, Ryan Smith.
At the time I had maybe $1,300 in total in my bank account, including savings. And I had a debt of over $50,000 over my head. (Yeah, ok, I partied a little too hard!)
Anyway, this increasingly common dream of making six figures in six months didn’t come true for me. Are you freaking kidding me?
Ryan and I barely cracked six figures in our first year in business. My god. It’s the hardest year. NO ONE KNOWS YOU. If you didn’t start with any capital then you don’t have any money to invest in marketing, people, or equipment. I mean it’s such a freaking reach getting to six figures in your first year if you are a service-based business. And depending on what your expenses are like you could barely be making minimum wage.
Our next year was better, and the year after that was better and then…we hit a point where we felt capped. You physically can’t pump out any more work, charge higher rates, or have capacity in your head to create any other income streams.
You too? Now what?
Now you have to hire people to increase your business capacity. Wait a second. You’re not a manager! You didn’t go into business to manage people…well shit. Now you have to hire someone to manage the people. Now you need very clear systems of who does what, and how much they do it for. And YOU have to come up with the cash flow to support it all. No fucking pressure. I guess you could hire someone for that too. But heck.
That’s where I’m at. No pressure, right? Decisions to make, ideas to ponder, and three different quotes out to three different business coaches.
If this post teaches you anything it’s DON’T beat yourself up for not making six fucking figures in six months—or ever, quite honestly. Because the minute you do, you’ll have another whole whack of decisions to make and problems to solve.
Rather than worry about “success” as measured by those six or seven figures, create a life that nourishes your soul. My advice is to find out what you are most comfortable with making in your life, what roles and abilities you have that come naturally to you, and what you want to be doing with your time. Once you figure out how these three things fit together, just exist in that place. Peacefully. Passionately. With a spirit of acceptance for who you are and the things that you truly want.
Above all…KNOW THAT YOU’RE ENOUGH. Just as you are. Always.