Today, we're going to talk about something that might seem scary, especially for solopreneurs, because it's something that we don't really know a lot about, and that is scaling.
Recently, I got a chance to sit down and interview Wayne Mullins, the Founder, and CEO of Ugly Mug Marketing about this (scary) topic. Wayne is a husband, father of 4, founder, CEO, entrepreneur, and author. He’s a generous soul, a risk-taker and an out-of-the-box, against-the grain thinker, and a leader. Over the past 20 years, Wayne Mullins has scaled multiple companies and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs do the same with their companies. Wayne influences more than 1,000,000 entrepreneurs annually through his blog, books, and training programs. He has personally worked with clients in over 100 industries – from every corner of the globe.
Taking a Risk is not the same as being reckless
Wayne started his career as a salesman. After spending three years in sales, working paycheck-to-paycheck, his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and he decided to start his own lawn and landscape company. Even though many of his friends and family members believed he was being reckless, Wayne knew he was simply taking a risk. And for him, there was a significant difference between the two. For him, taking a risk is often a very good thing, especially when it's a calculated risk. Recklessness, on the other hand, is throwing caution to the wind and going in without any plan. When we're faced with these types of decisions in our lives, or even in our businesses, he believes that we should ask ourselves one simple question: Is this a revolving door or is this a one-way door? Meaning, if we take that risk if we walk through that door can we easily go back to the way things were or will that be extremely difficult.
The difference between scaling and growth
When it comes to scaling your business, Wayne explains that there is a difference between scaling and growth. When growth is occurring, it requires constant effort to get the growth you want; scaling, on the other hand, happens on the downhill, meaning it happens as a consequence of the systems, the processes, the procedures, the people that you have in place. So, the difference is – will the business continue thriving and growing when you are removed from that piece? When you have your business organized in such a way that growth continues, because of all those other elements, besides your constant effort and push, that's scaling.
The artisan trap
Currently, Wayne’s primary business is marketing and he noticed that, when a business isn't growing, most of his clients look to sales or marketing as the cause of that. But, more times than not, that is not the case. Yes, they probably need more followers or more traffic, but getting that doesn't fix the fact that there's chaos in everything else that they do. In Wayne’s experience, it doesn’t matter at what stage the company is at, these issues are the same across the board, from startup companies to successful corporations. One of the most common issues he sees is, what he calls, an artisan trap. Here is an example: let's say that you're an artist and you do paintings, that's your business. You go out and you try to get somebody to buy something, and they come to you and they finally order a commission piece from you. Now, you spend the next two or three months creating that piece and in that entire time, you're not selling anything else. You deliver the piece of art, you get paid but then there's no other money coming in. So you spend the next three months trying to sell another piece. This is a never-ending cycle that entrepreneurs end up in, where we focus on selling because we need revenue, and then we focus on delivering and fulfilling, but until we learn to break free from this artisan trap we can never scale our business.
Choose what comes naturally to you
If you want to avoid this happening to you and your business, the number one thing to do, according to Wayne, is to look in one of those two areas and find a way to replace yourself. So, whether that's on the selling side or that's on the fulfillment side, you have to create space. If you're going to build a business that isn't completely sucking every waking minute of your life., you have to create that space. Some people are more naturally inclined to the sales or the marketing side as entrepreneurs, others are way more interested in the fulfillment side of things. Wayne explains that there's no right or wrong choice here, you simply have to choose the thing that comes naturally to you and create space in the other aspect of your business.
Wayne's final piece of advice is to not overcomplicate things. At the end of the day, it's really just cause and effect: we're putting in inputs and we're getting outcomes out. If we're unhappy with the outputs, let's not complain about them, let's go back and look at the inputs. What input did we put in that produced that specific output?
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