Self-Employed and Tired of No Sleep? Time for a Thinking Upgrade (Welcome to The Leverage Continuum™)

NO-SLEEP

Being self-employed is a tough life. You’re responsible for everything:

  • Making product or providing services (if you have clients/customers)
  • Selling
  • Marketing
  • Billing
  • Accounting
  • Figuring out what to do next out of your 1,001 item list
  • Some day you hope you can get to working ON your business rather than IN it

There’s tons more. I’ve been on a journey this year of taking the first steps out of self-employment. And I don’t mean getting a job.

This year, I’ve dug in more than in the past to turning my services into products (productizing services) and really thinking through what I can do with them. I have laid out a plan, and I will be writing about this journey of self-discovery and transformation here. A journey that has led me to develop the concept of The Leverage Continuum™.

My expectation: Within one year I will have lots more freedom and about 7X more income. Why only 7X? Because I’m building a platform, and infrastructure on which to build the rest of my “real” business. And building the foundation often takes longer than building the rest.

The Leverage Continuum™

The transformation process is The Leverage Continuum™. Here is the first stage, which I’ll talk about in more depth in additional posts:

Leverage Continuum Stage 1

There are psychological shifts required for each step, and until someone is ready for the next change in their thinking, it won’t happen. It can’t happen. We all have hang-ups of some sort. I didn’t think I did, but I have recently uncovered some things that were holding me back: My personal limiting beliefs.

This model is still being developed, and subject to change, but the thinking is starting to come together.

Overall, there are numerous shifts that have to happen for a person to move from self-employed to having the freedom to leave his/her business for an extend period of time and have it be better off when he/she returns. Thank you to Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame for the focus on business freedom. It’s what he calls being in the B Quadrant. The Business Owner quadrant. (see here for an explanation of the four quadrants) Kiyosaki says that self-employed people are the “Smartest people in the room” and the ones that want to do it their way. What they don’t have is leverage and the ability to step away from their businesses because if they do, they stop making money.

I am going to lay out a path to move from you working for your business to having your business work for you. A guide to gradually change your thinking and actions so that you can have the life you really want – freedom, income, great relationships, and impact from your personal/business mission.

Four Stages Within the Self-Employed Quadrant

  1. Stage 1: All You
  2. Stage 2: Creating Systems
  3. Stage 3: Gaining Freedom
  4. Stage 4: Creating Leverage

I’ll cover the specifics of each Lever within each stage in the coming months. There are five Levers in each stage that, when fully implemented, will yield more freedom, income, and peace of mind.

Breaking Down the Parts of The Leverage Continuum™

Marketing

Marketing is about how you get the word out about your offerings (products/services). It’s generating awareness and attracting people to come to you. Many self-employed people focus on sales to exclusion of marketing, and they have to work way too hard to make a decent income.

Sales

In many companies, there is a sales process that has to be run by people. You find people who may be interested in your offerings, educate them about your offerings, and then get them to buy what you sell.

Production

Production is making and delivering products and delivering services. It is turning your time and raw materials into sellable offerings that people want to buy. This is where many self-employed people focus. They are the Technicians, according to Michael Gerber (he wrote the great book The E-Myth Revisited). The challenge is to spend enough time in sales and marketing to be able to profitably do the work of production, if that’s what the person most enjoys.

Administration

We all have to take care of accounting, taxes, paying bills, updating our websites, and much more. This is often one of those things that a self-employed person hates to do and rarely gets to. But it’s still important for moving forward.

What You Sell

What you sell is a reflection of your thinking. Many self-employed people start with a services approach, trading time for money. This is the lowest level of leverage, and imprisons you in your business. As you gain leverage in your business, you will move from trading time for money to being outside of time, and having money pouring in whether you work or not.

Other Factors

I’ve identified a variety of other factors that come into play in building a high-leverage business.

Biggest Limiting Factor

This exposes limiting beliefs/thinking that get in the way of pulling a particular lever. Overcoming those limiting thoughts is critical to being able to achieve the leverage and growth in your business that you desire.

Focus

For each Lever, there is a particular focus. An area of the business that is being addressed to gain leverage. This focus should be laser-tight until that particular area is resolved and fully built out.

Feeling

This is really identifying what we feel as we’re working on this Lever, and within the larger context of moving from trading time for money to finding freedom. The goal is to reach a feeling of peace of mind – knowing that your income and freedom is not tied to what you’re doing at a moment in time.

Mental Shift Required

Throughout The Leverage Continuum™, you will be challenged to change your thinking. Without changing your thinking, you will not change your actions. You need to first eradicate limiting beliefs, then change your thinking, then take action, then reap the results. At each Lever. It’s not always going to be easy, but I’ll show you how to do it. Often as I discover it myself.

Time to implement

How long will it typically take to implement a Lever? This factor gives a range of times, depending on your ability to focus on that Lever, and your access to help from others along the way.

Scale Factor

The Scale Factor is what I estimate a particular Lever can do to enhance your business. If you’re currently making $50,000 a year and we implement a Lever with a Scale Factor of 150%, your income should then jump to $75,000 ($50,000 X 150%). These are estimates, and some will do better, and some worse. I’d love to know what you achieve with each Lever (which means you have to track it yourself). Notice that implementing all of these Levers in Stage 1 within a period of between five days and four months, your self-employed income could multiply by 2.4 times. You won’t necessarily see all of the benefits immediately, but after you have fully implemented a Lever, you will start seeing the changes happen in your business, eventually reaching that multiplied income, or something close.

 

That’s it for the overview.

Next post: Stage 1, Lever 1. See you back here soon.

Image Credit: By Aris Sánchez [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Flickr

By | 2015-08-04T09:19:47+00:00 October 4th, 2014|The Leverage Continuum™|0 Comments

About the Author:

Craig is founder and Chief Thinkologist of Big Think Innovation, Inc. Craig focuses on business and marketing strategy, business model innovation, and revenue growth architecture and innovation. He has an MBA from UNC Business School and is a member of MENSA. Craig has been building businesses since he was 15, and has served in C-level roles in IT, marketing, and general management.

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