How to Move Through the Five Stages of Business (and Beat Your Money Blocks!)
Today I want to talk about the five different stages of business and the mindset issues you might face in each.
This will help you get clear on what tweaks you need to make in order to work your way up, towards financial freedom. You’ll feel more supported and in control of your business.
As you may know, there are five stages of small business ownership, ranging from Starting Out or ‘Existence’ (you’ve birthed or are about to birth a company! Go you!) all the way up to Maturity. This is where you’ve built a successful company and have a dedicated team doing the work, so that you can focus on the vision.
I’m gonna walk you through each stage and the money mindset blocks that you might encounter during each phase.
Listen, I know this stuff really well because I’ve been through all these stages in my business and believe me, I’ve had to work through these blocks!
So, let's get started!
Stage 1: Starting Out (Existence)
At this stage you are really just getting started. You are focused on finding customers. As the owner you probably do everything and are unlikely to have staff working for you. In fact, at this stage, you ARE the business! Here are some of the mindset issues you may encounter.
- You might struggle with having the courage to own what you do and actually call yourself a coach or an author, for example.
ACTION: put your job title (or desired title) on your email signature. You’ll see it every day and start to believe it yourself.
- You may still have a 9-5 job, so it may be tough to juggle everything.
- Perhaps you’re stressing about getting your first client – or charging people.
- I know that making the transition from free to paid can be tricky, but just pick a number and try it out. Grab my Ultimate Guide to Pricing here for lots of advice on nailing your pricing strategy.
- Procrasti-branding – you know when you spend days thinking about colours and fonts! Perhaps you’re procrastinating around launching a website to get started or getting proper business cards printed!
ACTION: just focus on getting your first client.
- You might still be on your practice business – and that’s okay. It’s all good practice – and it all counts. I’ve had hundreds of practice businesses! They all led me in the right direction.
ACTION: Relax and know that your previous work experience or your practice (or even failed) businesses all count as experience
- You may be caught on the roller-coaster of terror (this is SO SCARY) and elation (OMG, I LOVE STARTING MY BUSINESS). I know this feeling so well. I’ve been there!
Stage 2: (Survival)
You’ve built a business that works; it’s still simple and might just be you working on it. Your main goal at this stage is survival. Many businesses stick at this stage – think of your local mom and pop store. That’s absolutely fine if that’s what you want. Here are some of the mindset issues you might encounter here.
- You might have to deal with a fear of being visible at this stage – maybe you’re worried that if you blog you’ll get haters, or if you do videos, people will criticize you. The fear stops you doing more things in your business
ACTION: Take heart from the fact that if you do get haters, you won’t get them for a while, probably until you move to the next stage in my experience.
- You might struggle with being consistent in your marketing because you’re still figuring out your target market, or you might keep making shifts to refine it further.
ACTION: Just keep going – and pay attention to what resonates. If you do nothing, you won’t be able to figure out what your audience really wants
- You may find that you’re having problems setting boundaries with clients, because you’re so excited to even HAVE them! You may be overdelivering like crazy and telling them things like “call me anytime” or letting them message you at all hours of the night. This is PRICELESS learning by the way!
- It’s possible that you are procrastinating around creating passive income products. There might be fear coming up for you, even though you know you should (because you’re starting to see the limitations of only doing 1:1 work).
- You’re still doing most everything yourself – so you’re thinking you could start to delegate some stuff out.
- You start to invest in yourself more with maybe a coach or masterminds.
Stage 3: Success
This is a fun stage of business! You most likely have people helping you out, cash is more plentiful and you have a successful business. Well done! There are still a few mindset issues to be aware of during this phase though. Let’s dig into them.
- You’re thinking about more systems and processes – feeling like a grown up!
- You want to hire out more – and you start to think about what it means to be a CEO – and it doesn’t stand for “Chief Everything Officer”.
ACTION: Start outsourcing things that stress you out – maybe your customer service inbox, graphic design or technical website stuff.
- As you gain momentum it might be time to raise your prices to make sure you have the right clients.
ACTION: Raise prices regularly – get comfortable with this!
- Boundaries with clients make you realise you need to tighten up some of your legal processes.
ACTION: Now is the time to make sure you have contracts sorted, and Terms & Conditions. You’ll learn this by trial and error – maybe through nightmare clients. Again, these are priceless lessons.
- You start to tighten up costs – maybe you got a little too excited about earning money that you got crazy with spending on personal development.
- It’s time to start paying yourself a salary.
ACTION: Put on your big girl panties and talk to your accountant about your biz structure – is it time to upgrade? Save for tax?
- Start to say NO to things that aren’t in your zone of genius, or things that don’t work for your business anymore.
Stage 4: Take Off
This is a pivotal point in your business. You have to rise to the challenge here if you want to keep growing. The key issues you face at this stage are how to grow rapidly and how to finance that growth. Plus delegation, delegation, delegation, baby!
- You may suffer from loneliness at this stage; it might be hard to find the right groups or masterminds for you.
ACTION: You need to keep upgrading and making sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who have similar energy, ambition or mindset as you.
- Copycats might be a problem here – people are noticing what you’re doing, so you’ll get people flat out or “accidentally” copying you, including old or current clients.
ACTION: Either don’t take it personally, or get legal. Tighten up legals even more, including business insurances, contracts and trademarks.
- Fame! You might get fan girls who LOVE and adore you. This can feel great, or overwhelming, depending on your personality. It can even feel a little isolating when people put you on a pedestal.
- Burn out – some people get super burnt out at this stage and wonder how they’ll keep going at this pace forever.
ACTION: Get help and support with your work-life balance. You need to check out my seven ways to double your income without burnout tips!
Stage 5: Maturity
Oh happy days! You’ve reached the zenith of business ownership! Here, you have both the staff and the resources to make a real difference in the world. You have great systems and can plan for the future. There are still a few mindset issues that might crop up during this phase though.
- You need to be willing to embrace your role as a leader and be willing to take on that role in your communities
- Be willing to hold the space for people – set rules in your business in how you want to interact with people
- Your motivation might change from money to other things in your business – for example, you might build more philanthropy into your business.
- It’s possible at this stage to get bored and “break” your business by thinking you’ve done everything.
ACTION: The solution is to deepen instead. To look at how you can give back. Improve systems. Have more fun with your business.
- You start to get more brutal with your time and evaluate opportunities with a keener eye – for example, instead of going to conferences as an attendee, you speak on stage or become a sponsor, so you can leverage your time.
- You learn how to manage your money better – with financial advisors or accountants.
ACTION: Take time to learn how to be a “rich person”. Hang out with wealthy folk and read autobiographies of the rich and famous.
- Some people look to retirement – what’s next? Maybe you don’t hustle as much.
- You may find it hard to switch off here, if you’ve been consistent for many years – the years of layering in boundaries, products, services, passive income products, etc.
ACTION: Keep delegating and trusting!
Have fun applying this model to your business and checking out what money mindset issues you need to address. Remember, with mindset work, you’re never done. There’s always more to unearth! Happy digging, gorgeous!
It’s your time and you’re ready for the next step,
PS: Take your business to the next stage of growth with my money mindset coaching program and mastermind community, Money Bootcamp. The more you surround yourself with inspiring, successful and supportive people, the easier and more fun entrepreneurship will be!
Free Money Mindset Training
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