Career & Money

The Real Costs of Doing Business

Rebecca Liston
By Rebecca Liston |London, Ontario

We see this all the time in marketing: “Earn 6 Figures With ONE Webinar!”

“Sell From the Stage and WIN BIG Profits!”

“Close More Sales and Make More Money FASTER!”

And we also hear the “Success Stories.”

“How I Went From Broke to 6 Figures in 90 Days!”

And so on, and so on…

It isn’t sexy marketing to talk about the COSTS of doing business.

It sounds fabulous to have earned 6 figures in 90 days…

But what that headline doesn’t tell you is what it COST her to do it.

And selling from the stage to rake in a ton of cash at the back of the room?

Sure…I am quite certain that this CAN be done.

But what happened BEFORE this event that lead up to this mahoosive sales frenzy?

And what did THAT cost?

One of the things that drives me around the bend is the common misconception out there that making money and building a business is easy. The narrative is all about what you earn, and no one likes to talk about what it costs to earn that money.

(And please, if you’re inclined to write to me and tell me that making money really IS easy if only I just adjusted my mind set…well, no need. Money is energy. I “get” energy and mindset. And this is not at all what I am talking about here today…)

What I am talking about here are some key pieces that are missing from the narrative about the costs of building a business. Things like this:

1. It takes years to build a business. You may be lucky and experience some quick success, that is true, however a truly long-term sustainable business is not built in 90 days.

2. It costs money to build a business. A lot of it. Most businesses will not turn a profit for several years…and that’s NORMAL.

3. It takes time for people to get to know you and want to buy from you. The guy who sold a bazillion bucks worth of coaching programs from the stage? He’s been working that crowd for ages through his marketing and outreach. He doesn’t tell you how many times he spoke and earned not a penny, how he did it for exposure and experience. He doesn’t tell you that the room was filled with his ideal prospects because he gave them free tickets to come and how he’s been massaging them into this buying decision forever. And he certainly doesn’t tell you how much money he’s spent to do all these things…and whether or not that bazillion bucks he “just” earned actually turned into a profit.

4. It takes two things to run a successful business on a daily basis, and it takes them in good measure: Time And Money. Success is not overnight. And money is required to not just get things rolling, but to keep them rolling. The key thing here is to ensure you are spending both your time and your money where it has the most impact. Very few of you, dear readers, need to be spending money on Facebook Ads.

Yes, I can hear you telling me that they “don’t cost that much,” but I can tell you for certain that you’d be better off spending that money elsewhere in almost all cases. Why? Because for service based business owners, the ads rarely convert…and the space is busy…and full…and you’d be better off buying someone a cup of coffee and telling them what you do and asking for referrals than buying another ad. And as for your time? You are masterful at what you do. And unless you’re Jamie DuBose, whose skill set IS creating marketing funnels and launches, you’d be far better off to hire her than learn how to do it yourself. You’ve only so much time in your day: Use it well, use it wisely, and focus on what you’re masterful at.

5. It can also cost you a bit of your sanity to run a business. And yes, I am being slightly flippant here but the truth is, it can be crazy-making. You will wonder what the hell you were thinking…you will look at the Want Ads frequently…and you will, at times, agree with your friends and family who already think that you’re nuts. You will relinquish small pieces of your sanity along the way, but with luck, you’ll pick them back up again J

6. It could also cost you your relationships. This is again why it is so important to be mindful of how you spend your time, and who you spend it with. While business isn’t built in a day, neither is a marriage…or a great friendship…or a relationship with your child. So we must be diligent in ensuring we are investing Time in all parts of our lives, not just our work.

7. Sometimes, the cost of doing business is YOU. Your emotional state can be put through the wringer when you’re running a business and it is vital to your survival to ensure you’ve support in this. Rarely do the headlines scream, “Here’s How I Went From Broke To Flush in 90 Days — and how many nights I didn’t sleep, cried, shamed my own self, and basically hated every minute of it.” But those things will happen. So it is best to be prepared with good supportive friends, counselors, etc. in your corner.

Now I must add here that it is possible that I sound like a real Negative Nelly in this post.

That wasn’t my intent.

Heavens, I have been self-employed for 15 years and my WORK is to support entrepreneurs on this journey so I am surrounded by this every single day and love every moment of it!

My intent was simply to be real about what it IS to be in business. About the money it costs. The time it can take. And the impact that it can all have on your life outside of work. I believe that knowledge is power…and knowing what it takes to get started, and what’s required to keep it going, will allow you to have more success than ever.

Rebecca Liston
Rebecca Liston |London, Ontario
Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients include CEOs, executives and entrepreneurs. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit www.rebeccaliston.com to find out more.
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  • Great article, Rebecca! It’s a winding, twisting, exciting, and sometimes disappointing road that pays off when we know our anchors and alliances. Not worth a penny if the marriage or family suffers and loses. I want it all, and like you, very mindful to invest in ALL the people who are part of this journey, most importantly, my wonderful, supportive family:) A wise investment, for sure!

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