How To Build Business Momentum and Escape the '6-Figure Hamster Wheel'
As you grow your business, you gain more and more momentum. And business momentum is great -- except that it can also become the thing that ends you …
But that can't be, you may be saying, because isn’t business momentum the holy grail to success? The answer is yes, but only if you’re prepared for it and approach it in the right way. Otherwise, it may throw you into the six-figure hamster wheel, which is exactly where so many entrepreneurs and business owners are.
This is how that pattern tends to work:
In the beginning, you hustle hard and fight for each sale. You rely largely on referrals, and working with people already in your network.
Because of this, you have no consistent lead generation (you rely on “luck” marketing).
And while all that is going on, you are the person who does most the work. That means not just marketing and sales, but fulfilment, operations and everything else.
So, you’re stuck -- always busy because the moment you stop, your business flow will all dry up!
Welcome to the six-figure hamster wheel. Since I first spoke about it with Chris Winfield and Andrea Huspeni for Entrepreneur, I’ve met more and more people stuck inside it. They're consistently either in feast or famine status, spending all their time on marketing and sales (finding new customers), then closing up shop and focusing all their time on fulfillment.
This cycle repeats over and over, so although these entrepreneurs may have business momentum and are making more money, they have zero time to work on the “big” picture and stay stuck within that six-figure hamster wheel. Maybe for forever.
This is not entrepreneurship!
In fact, it's just a hustle: You are not the business owner, because your business owns you; you’re a glorified employee. You're the type of entrepreneur I've seen so often suffering through this status for years on end.
That's stressful, and I know because I’ve been there, working 80-hour weeks; owning a successful business, but unable to scale it to the next level; leader of a talented team, but someone who relies on myself to do everything; also someone with more money in her bank account than ever, but someone with no time to enjoy it.
So take it from me, personally: The six-figure hamster wheel is where business momentum dies. That leaves the question: How do you escape it? Well, there’s a simple answer, but it’s one you might not want to hear.
What you need is money.
I know this may sound like an obvious answer, but it’s true. You need money to escape the six-figure hamster wheel. But hear me when I say that your relationship to what you earn is:
- Not about becoming rich and powerful
- Not so you can buy more “things”
- Not about building authority (or feeding your ego)
Instead, the reason you need money is because it gives you leverage. Once you have money, you can invest it in areas that will free up your time and let you focus on the bigger picture. And, one of the most important areas where you can invest your money is marketing. Specifically, marketing that drives predictability.
What you also really need is predictability.
The problem with the six-figure hamster wheel is that you flip between marketing and fulfillment. You’re always hustling and working so you can thrive today. But what predictable marketing does is allow you to thrive long into the future.
Predictable leads ⇒ predictable sales ⇒ predictable cash flow.
Once you accomplish this equation in your business, you can outsource and delegate more, and invest in your team. The difference will be that this time you'll have more time to lead your team members so that everything doesn’t come through you. Then, over a relatively short period of time, you'll be able to remove you from the entire process!
This is what I did. My role at 1MT is small. I have a world-class team that runs the ship so I don’t have to. I have more time to search new opportunities, work in my zone of genius and live my life. I'm also able to attend to the things that drew me to entrepreneurship in the first place -- the same things that likely led you to become an entrepreneur, right?
What you need to do first is take the leap.
Everything you've read so far seems simple, but the reason that you, like most people, remain stuck in the six-figure hamster wheel is that you have to take a leap! You have to bet on you and have the faith that you’ll deliver the results. You have to be brave enough to step back and say no to more money today, so you can have bucket-loads of it tomorrow.
The most successful people I know are those who took this leap! They built money and capital through hustle and grind, and then took the necessary risk to invest in marketing that created a waterfall of leads, sales and cash. Yes, they were afraid, just like everyone else.
But they fought their fear and “bought” predictability. The moment they did, they escaped the six-figure hamster wheel forever. And the good news is, so can you.