We've all heard the statistic, "98% of businesses fail within the first five years."
I'd like to discuss the 2%.
When you start your business, you don't know what you don't know. I remember drawing up a business plan and thinking, "This is going to be so easy!" Logically, it seemed like everything would come to me if I persisted.
However, when I started, the results were different.
After talking with countless entrepreneurs, I've heard a lot of success stories. In fact, I’ve created a realistic five-year projection of what businesses actually experience. These will vary, according to your chosen industry, but they still reflect the accuracy of what it takes to start and grow a successful business.
Building Foundations (Year 1): Your first year in business is your ‘set-up’ year. This will be the year of unlimited grinding. You'll start to figure out "Who's Who." People will strongly disapprove of you and others will fall in love. Either way, keep building your foundation.
Most of your work will be done for free. This is the same reason why people don't start a business in the first place. They want to get paid for every action they take. Instead, you must go the extra mile. Some people will even spit on your face for doing so (because they can't do what you do!)
Expect to work a minimum of 12 hours per day, seven days per week. You will be constantly learning about yourself and the world in which you live. Beware; you will face deep moments of fatigue and frustration. Your first year will be the best year of your life, until you reach Year 2...
Uphill Battles (Year 2): This is the year where you will start to set a comfortable fee for yourself. Even though you know you should be paid for more than you do, you'll still be happy that you don't have an employer. In fact, you should be able to establish cash flow for yourself by the end of this year.
In year two, you will begin to enjoy your lifestyle. Most of the time, you will be able to afford to take a day off, but you will still need to study on your day off. As you work six days each week, you should still keep up your 12 hours per day. You’ll have time to enjoy yourself as time goes on.
Financially, you should be able to reach the 6-figure mark, depending on your industry. Either way, your business should be profitable. With excess money, you should not save, but invest even more into your business: branding, training, advertising, etc.
You can't make dollars if you can't make sense! - Daniel Ally
Growth (Year 3): Your systems should be in place by now. You should be able to know what you want and how to get it. Moreover, you must understand accounting, taxes, and employees during your third year. You should still work six days per week, but instead of 12 hours per day, you can do 10 hours per day.
For your lifestyle, you will most likely create a lot of free time for yourself. This time should be allotted for special projects and study. Most people are able to plan several months in advance. In fact, you should be able to create a month or two of free-time for yourself. Monetarily, you should surpass 6-figures.
However, beware of the tendency to settle. Because this will be your first comfortable year since starting your business, it will be easy to doze off and take a break. Don't do it. Keep working on your goals and think about where you want to go.
Major Confidence (Year 4): There should be hundreds (or thousands) of people looking up to you right now. Your business should be in momentum and you could have some kind of fame in your industry. There will definitely be times where you must turn down clients.
Financially, if you're not earning 6-figures by now, you're probably in the wrong business (or not working enough). You should be able to make significant progress in your industry, even dominating. Most people should pass the $250k mark, and in some cases, the million-dollar mark.
Your lifestyle should buy you a week of time each month. You should be able to have three months of free-time each year. This is the time where you can comfortably take a vacation. Otherwise, keep working on your dream and don't give up!
Stop conforming, start performing! - Daniel Ally
Dominance (Year 5): You should have national fame with an international touch. This means that thousands of people must know who you are. Some people from other countries may also know about you and your business. In many peoples' eyes, you'll be their heroes. Some will consider you a legend.
In regards to your business, you should have reached over one million people by this time. People will start throwing money at you and some will even beg to work with you. You should have employees helping you with your business activities so you can dominate your daily tasks.
You will feel on top of the world. Because of your dominance, people will respect you. You will win awards, be in magazines, and gain prominence. You will be able to work on your own terms and command money under your own conditions. When you dominate, you will be able to give back in unprecedented ways because of all the people that helped you along the way!
As you can see, it seems like a lot of work in the beginning, but as time goes on, you get to live your chosen lifestyle. Before you set out in business, be sure to set goals that scare you. Goals that scare you are goals that prepare you. Once you do, you'll have the ability to break through every day.
When you do, I'll be the first to welcome you to the 2%!