(Photo credit: Matt Bouvet)
Still wondering what a million dollars looks like?
You're not alone there. When you pine for that first million, all you can think about is how you don't have it yet. It's easy to get consumed by the quest when the holy grail remains elusive.
Kate Erickson understands elusive pursuits. After getting passed over for a promotion she expected, Erickson decided to create the career and lifestyle that she wanted.
When she teamed up with John Lee Dumas, Erickson's life- and business-partner, EOFire was in its infant stages. Together, they grew their podcast of entrepreneur interviews to a $4.3M enterprise. Erickson attributes much of their success to the efficiency systems she helped create and the dauntless mindset she cultivates daily. Now the host of her own audio blog, Kate's Take, Erickson shares actionable advice with rising business owners.
Successful people don't just happen. They don't stumble upon the million-dollar holy grail and call it a day. They know they're in for their own personal Guantanamo. At the same time, powerhouse successfuls know that insane efficiency and a pioneer frame of mind truly can achieve results.
Here are five secrets that Erickson discovered that took her dream from an amateur audio blog to a $4.3M business -- in under three years.
1. Success Only Comes to Those Who Take It
Don't wait for success to find you. Erickson knows the reality of career disappointment. Like all of us, she believed that if she worked hard at her job, she'd get promoted, get raises, and succeed. But that's not how it happened.
Erickson put in 3.5 dedicated years of career-climbing in a lower-level HR position at a bank, only to see her promotion given to an outside hire. She got tired of waiting for permission to succeed. "I knew I couldn't sit there waiting for someone else to give me what I wanted anymore. I had to go get it for myself."
Erickson stopped waiting for permission to get ahead, and relied on her own ingenuity to find opportunities that could work for her. Sometimes the best path forward is the one you decide to create for yourself.
2. The Fastest Way to the Finish Line is Through the Starting Line
Most people are tempted to wait until the time is right to start chasing their dream. But Erickson knows that fear of starting cripples any chance at success. "The most successful factor of my transition into full-time business was just starting and not letting fear hold me back from what might happen."
Erickson's approach in the beginning was to, "just start doing the work - dive in head first - so that I could learn about the podcasting industry as a whole, about our audience and how I could best serve them, and about entrepreneurship in general. I knew the best learning was going to be by way of actually doing it."
Waiting for all the lights to turn green only sets you up for roadblocks. Erickson firmly believes that no barrier should delay you from starting. "I'm not willing to give up my ability to make an impact and create the life I want to live because of any roadblock."
3. Effective Systems Build Effective Success
One of the key factors for the success of the podcast is the solid network of back-end systems Erickson helped create. EOFire relies on webinar workshops as a weekly tool that brings in over $1.5 million in invoice total sales. Erickson says, "When we first started doing our live webinars, it was like recreating the wheel every time. Building a system around our live webinars not only took a huge weight off both our shoulders, it allowed us to breathe and have peace of mind that we were each playing our role successfully every single week. It made our live webinars FUN!"
Systematizing their processes paid off for Erickson and her team. "Because of our live webinar system, we're able to present a 1.5-hour live webinar in about 2 hours. So, we're looking at upwards of six hours saved every single week."
4. Your Productive Edge Ignites Your Success
Above all, Erickson knows how to stay productive. Her perfect day involves opportunities for work, play, and the details life throws her way. How does she juggle it all and help manage a multimillion dollar business? She stays uber productive. Here are some of her secrets:
- Manage distractions. Working at home presents a unique set of challenging distractions. Erickson's advice is to "handle distractions at home by setting aside time to remove them." Resolve potential distractions first thing so they don't preoccupy your mind.
- Plan your day before it starts. Deciding where to focus can be a major time suck for many people. Erickson recommends taking 15 minutes at the end of the day to lay out your goals for the next day. "That way, I never sit down at my computer, or start my day and wonder what I'm going to work on."
- Use the tools that work. Erickson tracks her use of time with RescueTime, takes notes throughout the day with Workflowy, and keeps up with projects and tasking with Asana.
- Theme your days. Erickson focuses each day on a similar tasking theme. "When you theme your days, you prevent yourself from doing context switching, which results in a ton of lost time."
5. Never Forget What's at Stake
The hardest part of reaching success is staying motivated to keep going. Erickson's main goal is to achieve freedom in her work and in life. She knows that the freedom she creates every day depends on the efficiency of the systems she's established.
"Our ability to scale and grow our business, take time off when we want to, and pursue only the things we're most passionate about is only possible because of the systems we have in place. How could I not stay motivated to use the systems that work?"
Know what makes your life and work tick. And stay aware of what you stand to lose when you slack off.
It's maddening to watch life pass you by, never gaining any traction. Stop waiting for someone or something to hand you success. Get started. Even if you're not completely ready. Use the systems that ignite your productivity. And never forget what's at stake if you don't keep reaching for your potential.
I'm Anne Bechard. I used to barely make it by with my day job. Then I got to hike the Guatemalan pyramids with money I earned from my blog. You can find me around the web at Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Business Insider. Find out how you can turn your part-time blog into full-time income.
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