A Million-Dollar Lesson
In 2002, I ran into a guy I used to work with many years before. As we got to talking, he asked what my new company’s revenue was. I said, “About half a million dollars.” His response shocked me. “Is that all?” he said. “Is that all? I think half a million dollars is pretty good for a two-person company, especially when one of the employees is my wife.” Then he said, “If you’re not making a million dollars, you’re cheating yourself. You’re only thinking about the value that your time is worth. You should be thinking about the value you’re creating for your clients. And if you do that, you’ll be much more profitable.”
I got to thinking about what he said, and I decided that he was right, and I was going to find a way to build a $5-million company. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew I could and would do it.
Knock Your Business Out of the Park
Up to that point, I had only wanted to make a decent living. I didn’t think I needed to “knock it out of the park.” I never even thought about what a $5-million company would look like. I’ve read the book Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz 70 times. If you haven’t read it, you need to. In the book, he talks about finding and activating your goal-seeking mechanism. He says the key point about goal setting is: if you believe you can do it and believe you’re worth it, ultimately, the ideas will come to you that will make it happen.
Maltz first teaches you to visualize what your life would look like if you achieved your goal. He then stresses the importance of doing this every single day. My goal was to have a seven-figure income. So, every day, I saw a picture in my mind of what that would look like.
Envision Your Goal: What Does It Look Like?
To me, it looked like:
- Having employees
- Having little to no debt
- Financial security for my family
- Having the financial freedom to invest in others
- Pursuing great goals
Picturing that future helped me activate my goal-seeking mechanism.
That’s when I realized I was never going to make that much money in my company, working for myself, by myself. I needed to hire someone to help me, so I could take on more work. I remember driving one day and thinking, “I’ve gotta find someone to help me.” At that point, I hired two contractors and paid them a daily rate when I needed them. One guy was a friend of mine, who I hired off a car lot in the 80s, and he followed me to every company I went to after that. Another lady had just retired with her husband, moved to Jacksonville, FL, and had worked for me in the past, too. Because I had worked with both of them before, I knew they were good.
I told them I would hire them as contractors until I could afford to bring them on as employees. They accepted my offer and proved themselves to be worth their weight in gold. One thing to remember, hiring great people is critical.They were the catalyst for me to go from a half million dollars to $5-million dollars, and today, over $9-million because they changed my capacity. I could take on more work because I could do more work. They handled more of the day-to-day work, and I put finishing touches on projects and delivered them.
Benefits of Building the Right Team
If I had 6 field rides for a project, I no longer had to do them all myself. If I had to conduct 15 interviews, I would have my contractors do the interviews and write the reports. Then I would read their reports and create the client-facing documents myself. Over time, I added to my team and built a 30-person company, which is now Delta Point, Inc. The key to making lots of money is making money on other people and paying them well.
Find the right people to help you do the work, and they will bring in more work to do. It’s a proven cycle that develops new business, while nurturing existing business. There is power in having high-quality people. Of course, you have to create a culture where people want to contribute and have fun doing so. But that’s another story for next time.
Imagine You’re On Your Way to Success
Figure out what you really want. Define your goals narrowly, write them down, and consult them often. Revise them from time to time, and imagine what it would be like if you achieve those goals. By doing that, you will discover your goal-seeking mechanism, and you will be on your way to finding your greatness.
If you need some help activating your goal-seeking mechanism, check out my goal-setting courses on www.jerryacuffvt.com.