47:5 Defining success for your agency
Are you tired of constantly comparing yourself to others in your industry? Do you struggle with defining success for yourself and staying motivated to achieve your goals? In this episode, Lee and Candy dive into the world of pricing, money, and success in the agency and freelancer space.
They share valuable insights and practical tips for setting realistic goals, avoiding distractions, and celebrating successes along the way.
During the episode, Candy and Lee discuss how to define success on your own terms and not get bogged down by comparing yourself to others. They explore the importance of breaking down big goals into small, achievable actions and how accountability partners and communities can help you stay on track. They also share strategies for avoiding distractions and staying motivated, such as celebrating each success and rewarding yourself for small goals.
- Don't compare yourself to others in your industry. Define success for yourself based on what makes you happy and fulfilled.
- Success can be defined in many different ways, such as making enough money to live comfortably or achieving fame and recognition.
- Set realistic goals and break them down into small, achievable actions. This will help you create a plan for success and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Find an accountability partner or join a community to help you stay on track with your goals and avoid getting distracted.
- Celebrate each success, no matter how small. This will help you stay motivated and inspired.
- When making decisions about investing time and money in courses or other opportunities, ask yourself what your goals are, what steps you need to take to achieve them, and whether the investment is worth it.
- Writing down your goals and referencing them regularly can help you stay focused and avoid distractions.
- How can you deal with feeling jealous or envious of others in your industry who seem to be more successful than you?
- What strategies can you use to set realistic goals and create a plan for achieving them?
- How can you stay motivated and avoid getting distracted by other opportunities or challenges?
- What are some effective ways to celebrate successes and stay inspired?
- How do you make decisions about investing time and money in courses or other opportunities?
In addition, our hosts tackle tough questions such as how to make decisions about investing time and money in courses or other opportunities, and how to deal with feeling jealous or envious of others in your industry. Overall, this episode offers practical advice and relatable anecdotes for anyone looking to achieve their goals in the agency and freelancer space.
So, if you're ready to take control of your own success and stop comparing yourself to others, give this episode a listen!
Lee: Welcome to Trailblazer FM. I am not your host, Mr. Lee. Matthew Jackson instead it's Candy. Over to you.
Candy: Hi Lee. I'm excited today to kind of wrap up this season. We've been talking about pricing a lot and money a lot, and something I think is really common for people in the agency and freelancer space is starting to feel bad about yourself looking around online and you know, you watch Instagram ads and you see things like you can get a get rich quick formula to double your income in a year. Or maybe you're thinking about launching a new course and see if you can make a quick 10 grand. So it's hard when you look around you and you think about where you're at with your own business and trying not to feel either jealous or envious or kind of pie sky thinking about all the money you could be making if you just had this one formula or this one course. So I guess I'm just interested to know a little bit more about how can you stop comparing yourself to others or stop feeling bad about where you are and how can you really start defining success for yourself?
Lee: It's funny you should say that because I've been going through Instagram reels a lot recently. My wife got me kind of hooked on them and they're utterly hilarious. Highly recommend you go and check out the reels. Some people have got some really funny stuff going on, but Instagram at the moment are constantly advertising at me at the moment. And every other advertisement is some sort of event where I'm going to be able to scale my business 10X or hit millions, or it's gonna be a course that will help me understand that formula. You know, that magic formula that's gonna make me a millionaire. Or it's some person telling me how successful they've been and they've turned over multi millions of pounds with multiple businesses and they know how and they can tell me how if I only part with $20 and probably several thousand other up sales that they want to hit me with on the really annoying ClickFunnels platform that they use.
Lee: And honestly, I find that quite demoralizing. I just want to enjoy the reels, have a laugh and send cute cat reels to my wife as we giggle at how funny it all is. Or compare our marriage to other people who are really raw and honest on Instagram. So I highly recommend you just go do that. It's loads and loads of fun. But no, I keep getting this and I do find at night I get that little sense of anxiety or that pang of stress and you recognize, don't you, that you are comparing yourself to others. You're kind of comparing yourself to those advertisements as well. When the guy with the big glorious red beard comes on A, I'm jealous of the beard, but B, I'm also kind of envious that he's got six businesses that he's run successfully and each one has turned over multi millions of pounds and he's got the keys that I need. And I find that really demotivating and just stressful at night. I just can't switch off. So I've actually banned reels past 8 o'clock for a starter just because of those advertisements.
Candy: You gotta get some sleep.
Lee: Absolutely. And it gets you to realizing, doesn't it, that comparison is the killer and the first step really is to define what success actually looks like for you. It kind of sounds like I've repeated the question back to you, but it is the for you element, and let's throw in a couple of examples into the mix. For some people success might simply be making enough money to live comfortably. And comfortably could be just paying the bills, having a little bit to put in savings and putting some away for the pension. That is absolutely wonderful success if that's what you're looking for. Other people on top of that may want to work four days a week and ensure they've got a fifth day for hobbies. If that's what success looks like for you, that's great. It doesn't have to be six businesses all turning over a million pounds each does it.
Lee: Maybe success for you is just a little bit of fame. So for example, for me being on a podcast and getting a little bit of recognition, hey, I enjoy it. [laughter]
Candy: Success, you're famous.
Lee: Why not? It's a little bit of tiny little bit of success. I'm a micro, micro, micro, micro influencer and I enjoy that and I'm happy with that. You know, that's my definition of success and I don't need to listen to the many advertisements telling me that I could 10X my podcast audience and start monetizing it and making millions of dollars 'cause I don't care about that. What I care for me is that at least 10 agencies this year will listen to this podcast and will make a difference in their business. That's success for me. And I tend to find out about those agencies because they email me and that's wonderful.
Lee: That's my definition of success for this podcast. It's not big, it's not huge. I'm not comparing myself to Joe Rogan, I think who's got a multimillion pound podcast, etcetera. I'm just doing what I do for me because I enjoy it and it is success enough for me. It's the same with our businesses. We want to earn enough money so that we can pay our bills, ensure we go to Florida Disney World at least once a year and that's pretty much it. We've got no other targets beyond that. And because we're able to earn enough money as a business through both Event Engine and Trailblazer to do that, to live that kind of life that we've defined for ourselves, we feel so much better. But we do have to keep avoiding all of those messages that you mentioned right from the very beginning.
Lee: Those messages of, Oh, I can help you be even more successful. I can help you 10X, I can help you grow. So I'm sorry that's a long answer, but I guess the short definition would be, look at the way you want to live your life, look at what you want to have in your life and make that your goal. Don't compare it to anyone else. What's gonna make you happy. For me, a Vauxhall Meriva made me very happy for many years and got me around in the UK with my family. I didn't need a Ferrari, and I was happy. So again, what is success for you and aim for that. That's a really long answer for you, [laughter]
Candy: Well I think it's perfect and I think what is really exciting is just that success can be happiness, right? It doesn't have to be a dollar figure. And if you can achieve that being grateful with your life or being fulfilled in some ways that is success that a lot of people who are very wealthy never achieve. So, cheers to that.
Lee: Cheers to that.
Candy: So what key piece of advice would you give when you're creating a plan for success or you're doing these projections or financial planning that we've been talking about?
Lee: Well, I guess first of all, keep off Instagram reels because you are going to get a warped sense of what success is gonna be and the financials that you can attract. Secondly, then I would say actually just set some realistic goals. Something that you feel like you can achieve. One of my favorite mottos is small achievable actions lead to big change. If I rewind many years ago, I wanted to grow my businesses fast and I felt like I had to throw my all into it to make that happen. So I was working 18-hour days, five to seven days a week to try and fast forward my success. We did start bringing money in, but then I was just chained to the business and I was utterly miserable and I was never making the half a million or the 1 million target turnover per year that I really wanted to achieve. And because I wasn't, I was throwing more blood, sweat and tears into that and taking more away from my marriage and from time with my children just because I was trying to achieve that goal.
Lee: So I would say small, achievable actions lead to big change. If you've already decided what success looks like for you and success is paying the bills, and if paying the bills is 100K per year, and you can already reverse engineer that, can't you? Folks go back to previous episodes. If you've gotten this far, you've probably already heard them. But go and re-listen to Candy talking about how you can reverse engineer, the breakdown of what you want to turn over. So if that's your goal, set yourself some small, achievable actions and break that down.
Candy: So I always find that goal setting is easy. I'm really good at dreaming and writing things down and getting started with things. But I find that it's easy to stop or it's difficult to keep a routine or keep doing those actions regularly. How do you keep on track with your goals and not get distracted?
Lee: Well, first of all, by breaking those goals down into small little chunks, you are getting that instant feedback loop. So if my goal right now is to increase my turnover in one month by 5% and I manage to do that by doing one sale, then that's a very quick goal achieved and I can have a follow up goal to that. So that's the first thing, is not setting those really long term goals that you feel like you're never going to achieve. But then the second thing I would say is actually go and tell somebody what your goals are. Go and share with someone like a community or an accountability partner and say, "Hey look, I want to increase my revenue this year by 10%, or I want to earn, take home pay 100K, or I want to attract X amount of new clients to my business. Or I want to buy a scale electrics because I never had one as a kid." Whatever it is, reach out to that community. A great place I had when I first started with Angled Crown was a Facebook group.
Lee: I was able to go in there, be completely raw and honest and tell the folks what it was I was aiming for and have them keep me on track. So whenever I would post an update and I'd say, "Hey guys, I'm thinking of doing X, Y, and Z, or I'm thinking of investing in this campaign, or I'm thinking of buying this course because it promises all these things." All the people, all the folks in that group already knew what it was that I wanted to achieve. And they were able to hold me to account and say, "Hey Lee, isn't that a distraction? Does that really help you achieve what it is you want to achieve? How are you actually doing on the Facebook campaign you said you were going to do rather than buying this other thing?" So having those people around me helped me not to get distracted and helped me to keep laser focused because I want to prove to my community, to my friends, to my accountability partner, whoever it is you have around you, that I can do it and that I'm not going to flake out. [chuckle]
Candy: Well, that is so important, especially if you are a solopreneur still, it's really easy to set goals and then not hold yourself accountable because nobody knows that you have that goal. Or just the idea that setting yourself up for failure. So you don't even share a goal with anyone 'cause you don't wanna have to admit that you failed. So I think that's super important and I love that just having people that you tell what you're working on and do it regularly so that they are kind of have that little light under you to get motivated and keep going. Do you have any other tips for how to stay motivated or how to prevent yourself from being demotivated if your goals maybe aren't coming as quickly as you had hoped or you're not quite hitting them?
Lee: So this actually happened to me fairly recently where I absolutely lost my mojo. It was during lockdown and I found I was spending an awful lot of time on social media. There was loads and loads of bad news all the time, which was making me feel rubbish. And equally, I don't know what was happening, but the algorithm was just piling me with more and more advertisements for courses and things that I can do to be successful during lockdown and to grow my business. And it just felt so overwhelming. So the big thing for me was to actually take a massive break away from social media. And in fact today we deleted our Facebook group of over 4000 agency owners, which is pretty insane, but it in itself was a drain on my own resources. And I also felt I was a distraction by pooling all of these agency owners into one place when actually it is probably best we all don't spend quite so much time on social media equally, quite so much time on reading the news, etcetera. So for me it's been about being really protective of my time and what information I consume and where I go for that. So to keep motivated, I avoid social media, I avoid the news, I avoid people I find draining. [chuckle] So if you've not spoken to me for a while, don't take it personally and it's not you. I promise you. Whoever's listening. [chuckle]
Candy: Ooh, that's harsh. Everyone's like, "Oh, that hurts Lee."
Lee: No, I'm joking. Thankfully no one in our community. So I avoid those people who I find draining and I make sure I keep plugging into that small community that I mentioned earlier of people that already know I can trust me, who already know what it is I want to achieve and I keep talking to them, for that feedback loop, for that encouragement. So, manage your time, keep connected with those people; don't let things like a lockdown or busyness disconnect you from those people. And finally, most important, I think I mentioned this earlier, is celebrate each and every success. So when you break down those goals into small achievable actions, every time you hit one of those little micro-goals, reward yourself in some way. I actually go down to the nth degree where I'll reward myself during the day. If I am particularly de-motivated and I know I need to get a whole load of things over the line, then I have mini rewards or mini celebrations. A PlayStation is set up at the office, at Trailblazer Towers, I think we'll call it, and I will spend... And I did this yesterday, I spent an hour and a half on the run sheet for Agency Transformation Live. The event's probably already happened by now, by the time this podcast goes out, and I'm sure it was an amazing success, but it was something that was huge for me to get done. I wasn't looking forward to doing it, 'cause it's very complicated and I need to make sure I don't get any of the times wrong.
Lee: But I also knew that at the end of that hour and a half, I was gonna get 20 minutes on the Playstation [chuckle] as my reward. And then by the end of the day, when I'd finished all of these tasks that I needed to for the event, we then went out as a family for a meal to celebrate that, and I acknowledged with my family, Hey, these are the things that I got done and this is why we're hanging out together at Pizza Express, enjoying a pizza together.
Candy: Nice. I love that. I'm a big fan of celebration. I have on my calendar every month, when I have to do my horrible accounting tasks that I hate, I call it a money party. And I like to have aromatherapy, I like to give myself whatever treats, like buy myself a bag of Doritos or something to eat while I'm doing it, just to be like, Okay, you're doing something that's hard and it's not fun, but you're treating yourself to these other little things. And then, yeah, I will bust out a bottle of champagne like once a month to celebrate that I did some hard stuff, or if I hit those goals, those mini goals, I think it's fun to make sure you're celebrating that. And even if it's not a big goal, if it's just like something hard that you have to do in order to hit your goals, to keep yourself motivated.
Lee: Absolutely, and if you find you're not being able to celebrate any of these micro-successes, then I would say you're probably being too hard on yourself and you're still setting yourself goals that you can't achieve, or micro goals that you can't achieve. So, for example, I rewarded myself for an hour and a half's work of basically working on a spreadsheet. So that's how small we're talking about. We're not talking about writing the entire social media strategy for your agency for the next month. That's huge. That's probably gonna take you a few days. So break it down into writing three tweets [chuckle] that are gonna go into your scheduler, then reward with a few Doritos and then next.
Candy: Exactly. It's like Pavlov, we have to give ourselves reason to keep going and get that salivation going. So I think these are all great tips. I think, just to wrap it up, thinking about how can we all make better decisions... Making the decisions we're doing every day, whether it's, Do you take that course or do you spend time on your accounting? Or... How do you make those business decisions using your own lens and not that social media, fantastical theatrics of success lens?
Lee: Well, let's use that. Let's pretend now I have been presented with an incredible opportunity here via a Facebook ad where I can buy into this course for a $1000 and it's going to teach me how to become an incredibly successful YouTuber, I'm gonna learn everything I need to about videography, how to create the content, how to promote my channel and how to get from 100 subscribers to a million subscribers in one year. Which sounds incredible. Okay?
Candy: Yeah, I will bust out my wallet real quick. That sounds great.
Lee: Yeah. So would I. So what I then have to do is essentially ask myself five really important questions with regards to whether or not I should purchase this course. Because, honestly, people are really good at marketing, and you'll probably have gotten my £1000 if I don't think about it. So question one is, What is my goal? What I'm doing here is I'm looking at this through the lens of what I'm defining my success to be. So number one, What is my goal? Is my goal to get one million subscribers on YouTube? No. So we've already failed at the first hurdle, and I can just stop and move on. However, maybe a little bit of me really does want that, so I'm gonna say, Well, what's my goal and what are the steps to take me there? If my goal is to grow my YouTube channel, then I can look at what are the steps I need to take to get me there. Is it to spend hours on this particular course and to buy all of the technology that it's saying, or is it simply just to increase my content schedule, which is actually what I plan to do and it's far more achievable?
Lee: Do I really need to invest £1000 in this particular course with these huge promises. Number three then is, Well, what are my priorities? Are my priorities to grow my YouTube channel more than to earn money for the business? And, frankly, the YouTube Channel doesn't earn money; it helps me grow my audience and it helps drive people to the podcast, which is great, but it's not actually my main priority. My main priority as a business is to generate money, which in the end allows me to earn the number of pounds I want to earn in a given year, to be able to achieve all of those lovely things that I get to do with the family, as well. So my priority isn't the YouTube channel, my priority is other areas of my business.
Lee: Equally, if I'm looking at this YouTube thing here, I'm going, Wow, within one year I could have a million subscribers, well, what's my timeline? What does my time look like? If I read through this description of this amazing-looking course, it's saying that we're gonna teach you how to publish content every single week and within one year you'll have one million subscribers. Well, looking at my own timeline, I don't even have the bandwidth to start coming up with all of that content, creating, editing it. Do I really have the time to do all that? Do I really need that many subscribers? Am I looking to grow my channel to 100K subscribers and not a million, and am I happy to do that over two or three years? The answer is probably yes, because I quite like doing things slowly nowadays. I've hit 40. [chuckle] Once you get to my age...
Candy: Slow down...
Lee: You're quite happy to slow down. So that again, really helps sanity check these sorts of promises, where they're saying, "Hey, we'll give you fast growth." I don't need fast growth, I need manageable growth, which is a huge difference. And then finally the final question is, then what is the best use of my resource? Is the best use of my resource to go and teach myself all of this stuff for a 1000 pounds? Or is it to do things slowly at my pace and outsource some of the stuff that takes a little bit more time, like the editing and all of that good stuff. So that's just five simple questions with one example. But you can take these five questions pretty much to anything. Number one, what's my goal? Number two, what are the steps that I need to take to get me towards that goal? Number three, what are my priorities? Number four, what is my timeline? And number five, what is the best use of my resources? And the great thing is, is by the time you get to question two, you've usually discounted most of the advertisements that you see, and you don't even have to ask yourself the other question. [chuckle] The other question's, What's my goal? And you'll instantly recognize that whatever that thing is, is just yet another distraction.
Candy: Totally. And I think that the important thing is writing your goals down and referencing them, because I could see myself talking myself into, "Well, my business used to make more money and maybe I'll be able to sell advertisements on my YouTube channel." You can start going down that road, but that's where it's like your top five goals for the year, if it does not say YouTube channel one million subscribers, then it's a pass. So I think that's great advice and great process to work yourself through that, especially on like a high ticket purchase, like a 1000 pounds or dollars, that's not like a $5 expenditure and it's gonna be a big time expense. So making sure you are actually going through that process, before you drop the money and the time is great.
Lee: Absolutely. And this is coming folks off somebody, who is a former course purchasing addict, so I have to ask myself these questions, because I will buy these $1000 courses because I will convince myself I need them unless I start trying to use my own filter, or my own lens 'cause I'm one of those people who is extremely susceptible to good marketing.
Candy: I'm just always like, "Maybe I'll have time to take that course later." So if it's under $200, I'll buy it and then never take it, but if it's over that certain threshold then...
Candy: I usually talk myself into, "Well I don't have time to do it so I don't buy it." But...
Lee: Oh, well they're the worst though, 'cause if you end up buying loads of $200 courses, it adds up to a grand quite quick [chuckle]
Candy: Exactly. I know it's horrible.
Lee: And I have lot of those.
Candy: I know I have so many uncharted courses, but...
Lee: Maybe we could make money selling access to our... [chuckle] to courses we've bought that we haven't taken.
Candy: I like it. New business idea. There's how we're gonna double our revenue.
Lee: Well Candy, this has been amazing. I've really enjoyed being the interviewee, and having somebody else doing the work instead, which kind of feels weird saying that because I've done most of the talking as well. [laughter] But I actually find presenting a podcast, as in asking the questions and listening intently to the answers, far more exhausting than I do giving the answers. So maybe I should go and get interviewed a little bit more, I've quite enjoyed the process. So thank you so much for interviewing me, but also thank you so much for all of the value that you've given us over the last four episodes as well. Sharing pricing in a weak economy, how we can price for our web design, looking into business planning and projections, and also deep diving into employees and benefits.
Lee: So folks, if you've only chanced upon this episode, can I encourage you to go and listen to the rest of this season, where Candy has been a complete legend, and given us amazing, easy to action advice, and at the end of each episode, there's always been that one small thing. And on that, the one small thing folks, for today is to write down those five questions, and then ask yourself those five questions, every time something pops up that attracts you, like one of those courses or going and doing something in your business, make sure you look at it through the lens of what it is you want to achieve. Of course, if you've not defined what it is you want to achieve yet, then do that, even simpler. Do that and then use those five questions. So please check the show notes for full details of all of our episodes and link to all of the previous ones. If you want to get involved in the conversation, again, please check the show notes for a link, and let's have a conversation in the comments. There are also links to Candy's websites, so please can I encourage you to go ahead and check out Candy's website and her future projects, and all that's left for us to say is goodbye.
Candy: I was like, "Wait, I already said Ciao last time."
Candy: What other languages do I know.
Lee: Wow, I'm multilingual. Oh, Dutch...
Candy: Oh, impressive. Adios. I don't think you said that one.
Lee: Adios. I think that's it.
Candy: Hasta luego.
Lee: Oh yeah, there's that one as well. Let us know in the comments how you would say goodbye folks.
Candy: This was super fun. Thank you so much.