10 years in the online world, 6-plus years as an entrepreneur and several 7-figure businesses (both as CEO and high level advisor) later have taught me a few things about the mindset needed to build successful online businesses.
It's also taught me that while the majority of the mindset advice you see out there may do a fine job of helping you understand yourself better, it does nothing to help you understand the super practical and actionable mindset shifts you need to make to become an effective CEO of your business.
That all changes here with my list of the nine mindset shifts I've made -- and seen other successful business owners make -- in order to build the businesses of our dreams.
1. It's All You
Your company, your call. Seems obvious but many struggling entrepreneurs fail to recognize they're now in charge and no one's going to show up to tell them what to do or make the big decisions for them.
When you commit to your business, you're committing to showing up, to being decisive, to being consistent and to being committed.
You make the conscious decision that you're in charge.
2. Schedules Equal Freedom, Not Constraint
I've yet to meet someone building an online business who wasn't motivated, at least in part, but some form of freedom, escaping the 9-to-5.
But don't believe the hype you see about waltzing around the world without a care in the world while your biz rakes in the cash behind the scenes: it takes really hard work to build your business to that point, and hard work is *much* easier to get done when you consciously commit to it and put yourself on a schedule to get it done.
The faster you embrace a measure of discipline and organization to your day, the faster you'll be the one globe-trotting in first class.
3. Outsource Smart
All that advice out there to outsource anything and everything "you don't feel passionate about" in your business immediately and fully?
Here's why: When you outsource everything you don't love about your business without any knowledge of how to do it yourself, you're putting yourself at the mercy of the person you've outsourced it to.
Here's a better way: Know enough to be dangerous about everything in your business. Then take a look at what is the busiest of your annoying busy work and outsource that first.
4. Numbers are Information, not Judgments
This is a biggie for lots of us: learning to view our business numbers as pieces of information and not as judgments of our self-worth.
Here's why it's important: what you focus on tends to grow. And when you're trying to grow your business that generally means you're trying to increase your revenue.
The fastest way to do that? Pay attention to, and know, how much revenue you're bringing in now.
5. Competition is Useful
Another myth I love shattering: Competition does, in fact, exist.
However, I also understand the spirit around the widely-held belief that if you are yourself competition doesn't exist because no one else can be you.
This is true -- but I argue it's because you being yourself is the greatest competitive advantage you can have (because it's also a fact that no one else CAN be you). It's not because competition doesn't exist.
This is a subtle point. It's also an important one, because once you understand the difference you can begin to use your competition to your advantage.
6. Find Support and Ask for Help Before You Need It
You heard it here first: mentors, coaches, biz besties and masterminds are your new best friends. Building a business is a stressful and lonely experience made even more so when your "real life" family and friends don't get it.
Enter support from your new business besties. My businesses have grown and thrived the most when I've made the conscious effort to embrace the support of business friends at or just beyond the level I'm currently at. They hold me accountable, hold space for me when I'm freaking out (which, real talk, happens to all of us) and I do the same for them.
If you really want to grow you need support that understands you. Go find your tribe.
7. Don't Compromise
One surefire way to signal to customers and fellow small biz owners that you're a hobbyist and not serious about building a real business?
Compromise on your prices. Compromise on your value prop. Compromise on the kind of work you take on.
Agree to trade services. Agree to barter.
Businesses, by definition, exist to make money. So if you're committed to your business you need to be committed to knowing your worth, charging your worth and not compromising on any of it.
8. Winging It is Not an Acceptable Strategy
You know what's awesome about building your own business?
You have freedom to play around and experiment to find what works best for you and your biz.
You know what's not awesome about having that freedom? The temptation is leaves to never move beyond that experimentation stage and finding yourself in a never-ending cycle of experimenting and winging it.
Scalable businesses (and business owners with scaling on their minds) know when it's time to stop the never-ending experiment and start to put processes, rules and systems in place.
9. Do the Right Things First
Checking tasks off mundane to-do lists is not the way to make progress in your business.
Learning to recognize and focus not on the big things or the easy things or the obvious things or the hard things, but on prioritizing the right things, is how you make progress.
Start every day by asking what project or task has the highest potential to benefit your business bottom line, and care for that one first. The rest can wait.