Building a business is not all that different from body building.
That might seem a little outlandish when you consider how physical one activity is while the other requires almost zero physical activity, but stay with me.
Phil Heath is currently the best bodybuilder in the world and the winner of the last four Mr. Olympia competitions (something only 4 other bodybuilders have ever accomplished), but he did not start out that way. He started out just like everyone else: as a novice. In fact, Heath started off a lot smaller than most body builders do at 185 lbs. (not to mention he was an Information Technology and Business Administration double major…he was not exactly studying bodybuilding in college).
He became a student of the sport, watching events on TV, buying body building DVDs, attending live events and getting personal coaching so that he could learn everything he could and start competing at the highest level as fast as possible. He knew this was his calling.
But Heath did not start out living in the spotlight right away. In fact he spent many years performing in relative anonymity. He competed in his first show in 2003 and then competed in many local and regional competitions that most of us have never heard of (I know I hadn’t) before finally qualifying to compete for his first Mr. Olympia in 2008. Notice how this was a full 5 years after his first competition.
Heath’s first 3 attempts all ended in disappointment as he finished 3rd, 5th and 2nd in the Mr. Olympia competition, each time falling the last 2 times to one of the greatest bodybuilders of all-time: Jay Cutler.
But this did not discourage Heath. Instead, it motivated him to keep going and train even harder. He saw how close he was to reaching his goal so he made that final push to really get there. And eventually he made it.
Heath finally broke through for his first Mr. Olympia title in 2011, a full 8 years after his first competition.
Now I really want you to let that sink in…
It took Phil Heath over 8 years to reach the pinnacle in his profession. And that was with him already coming from a high level athletic background and being able to focus on his craft full-time.
He didn’t have to work another job to make ends meet. He was able to give 8 solid years of focus, hard work, and dedication towards achieving this one precise goal.
My best friend is currently training for his first body building competition, he’s a huge Phil Heath fan since he saw him in the movie “Generation Iron.” He too is working hard and making progress. He has put on a ridiculous amount of muscle since we graduated from college (he was also my teammate on the baseball team). In a short time his body has become almost unrecognizable.
But he’s not already trying to compare himself to Phil Heath.
For me, I remember when I first got back in the gym a few years ago after having shoulder surgery (an old baseball injury that never healed properly), one of my first few times back I hit the bench press and saw this little guy on the other bench able to lift a very impressive amount…it must have been at least 275, and he was doing full sets.
I was doing a handful of reps at 225.
Anyway, I asked him to spot me for one of my sets and after I asked him about his workouts and how he got so strong at such a young age (he had already told me he went to the local university). I was curious because I was frustrated how someone who appeared smaller than me was able to be so much stronger than I was.
He said that he worked out twice a day, 2 hours per session. He was a “scrawny” kid when he got to college but he put in a ton of work and was now able to bench press well over 300 pounds (an impressive feat no matter who you are).
That was when it really hit me.
This kid was spending 4 hours per day working out to my 1 hour per day. I realized that I could not expect the same results because I was not putting in the same level of work.
I then asked why he made the change and said it first started because he really wanted to be able to bench press 225, like the NFL players do at their pre-draft workouts (it’s their test of a player’s overall upper body strength). That was his progress marker. And then once he reached that he set a new weight goal to get after until he finally reached his current level.
This was a great example for how you should treat others who may be further along the path than you are.
How to Use This In Your Business
We all know that familiar feeling when we are scrolling through our Facebook timeline or reading through your email.
We see these big time online gurus writing about their latest business success story while we are still in the launch stage or in the very early stages after starting your business.
We see it, and naturally feel a bit of jealousy, a little bit angry, and honestly a little a bit discouraged. We see someone who is further ahead than we are and start to wonder if we can ever get to that level.
I’m going to share some good news: We can.
However, the reality is that it is not going to be something that happens overnight. But success is a process, it is not a destination. It’s something we need to be constantly working and striving for to make our goals a reality.
Expecting to be making $5,000 or $10,000 per month after a handful of blog posts would make us no different than the guy who gets a gym membership and starts going twice per week expecting to look like Phil Heath.
It doesn’t make sense.
Ramit Sethi of Iwillteachyoutoberich.com recently celebrated his 10th anniversary and has reached his success by honing his craft: writing hundreds of blog posts, doing countless interviews and even writing a book.
The challenge becomes when we want Ramit Sethi or Tim Ferriss (of fourhourworkweek.com) type success when they have spent more time just writing a book (and ignoring all the other things they’ve done to grow their business) than we have working on our business as a whole.
Now it is important to have goals and aspirations for what our business should look like, even when it seems like you are so far away from where you want to be, but I’m going to give you the secret. It’s something that I learned from Eben Pagan of Getaltitutde.com.
How to Focus on What is Important in Your Business
Guys like Eben, Ramit and Tim do not compare themselves to others, even when they are stuck, because that is counterproductive.
Instead of looking externally they look internally to see their progress and see what they need to improve to take their business to the next level. It will tell them everything that they need to know. There is no reason to look to others, the data tells them everything they need to know.
How can you do this?
Try tracking a few key metrics that you need to know when just starting out your business. You can keep track of these statistics by creating an excel sheet, writing them on a white board, using old school blackboard and chalk or simply just writing them down. The point is to keep the data updated in one location so you can easily keep it together.
I personally recommend using excel simply because it’s neat, clean, less likely to be accidently erased and can be saved or transferred far easier.
So what stats should you track?
In one Eben’s courses he recommended tracking these 5 key categories:
- Traffic – how many people come to your website every day?
- Subscribers – how many people opt-in to your auto responder sequence for your free offer?
- Sales – how many people are actually pulling out their wallet to buy your product or service?
- Revenue –How much actual money are you making from those sales?
- Expenses – what expenses does the business incur to keep it up and running?
Here is a FREE SPREADSHEET you can use to track the same things that Eben recommends. This will allow you to track the only results that matter: your own. It is a quick and easy way to collect your results at the end of each day and make it very easy for you to generate weekly, monthly and any other time period of data that you want to keep track of. Using this spreadsheet daily will tell you EXACTLY where you need to work on your business and if you listen to and act upon what the data tells you will virtually guarantee your success.
So how should you use this spreadsheet?
You should track your results daily. This will let you see how you are progressing each day. It also makes it very easy to create totals for greater time periods. Including monthly, quarterly and annually. By tracking it daily you can easily create these numbers and easily compare them to previous time periods. I set this spreadsheet up so that each of the first 3 tabs had 30 rows, or 30 days of tracking per tab.
You want to know where you were the previous month, the previous quarter and the previous year. If you know your rolling numbers for these time frames you will be able to see if your business is growing or dying in a very quick and easy way. The spreadsheet lets you evaluate at the 30, 60 and 90 day mark.
Make Adjustments Based on Data
Once you see where your business is improving and where it needs more work, you can focus more energy on building up those areas to create a healthier, more sustainable business for the long term. The key here will be taking the necessary actions required.
It is important for you to understand where you are in your business. It is unrealistic to rate sales when you have not even created a product yet. So early on you may need to weight some metrics a little heavier than others. Instead of trying to compare to others all the time it will be faster to focus on what metrics are important to your business. You simply need to look and see where you are each day and use that to tell you where you need to focus to grow and get better (and understand that this will change periodically).You will not get there overnight…you’ll get a few extra subscribers each week, which will grow to an extra hundred each month and eventually you’re seeing thousands of new subscribers each month building you a massive audience. But it will start out slowly, no different than the weightlifter trying to increase their bench that extra 100 pounds. He won’t start at 100, he’ll add an extra 5 pounds then 10, then 25, then 40, then 70 then finally he’ll get to that extra 100 pounds.
By tracking your own key metrics you can see all the growth your business is making, even if it’s not exactly where you want to be, and you avoid all the negativity that comes from trying to compare yourself to someone who is not at the same stage as you are. You are free to focus on making your business grow to its highest level based on your own standards, the only way you should be running your business.
If you want to learn how to avoid the 5 other key mistakes when starting a business click here and get my FREE 5-day email course where you will learn how to find your first profitable idea so you already know your business will be profitable in advance.