5 Lessons From 5 Years Of McMillion ConsultingSep 07, 2021
I’ve been in a reflective mood lately as September 2021 marks five years since I launched my company, McMillion Consulting. (!!!) My, how time flies. Though I’ve been training clients in sales and prospecting techniques and sharing my LinkedIn expertise for much longer, this anniversary of my business feels significant. These years have been some of the most fulfilling, challenging, and exciting ones of my career.
I want to channel my reflections and celebrations into something helpful, so I’m sharing a lesson I learned in each of my five years of business. My hope is that, whether you’ve owned a business for years or work for someone else, you can take something from what I’ve learned along the way.
Year 1: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.” - Anaïs Nin
When I first launched McMillion Consulting, a friend gave me a candle with this Anaïs Nin quote printed on the lid: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” I fell in love with this idea, and I return to it often.
Perhaps unlike most people who start their own businesses, I wasn’t scared to step out on my own. Sure, I recognized the significance of it, but I knew the sales discipline, and having worked in a 100% commission pay structure previously, I knew what it was like to “eat what you catch.” I figured this wouldn’t be too different. When friends and family heard I was launching McMillion Consulting, I got lots of comments like, “Oh you’re so brave,” and “Wow, I could never take a risk like that.” I never felt that I deserved that kind of awe. For me, it wasn’t starting the business that took courage, but dreaming of what it could become that often kept (and still keeps) me up at night.
There have been so many moments throughout the past several years, however, that have pushed me beyond my comfort zone—among them, many decisions that expanded the boundaries of what my business could do and who we could serve. Looking back, I now realize I can embrace those compliments of courage from friends and family and hold them as a reminder that possibilities abound when I take smart risks.
Year 2: Delegate, delegate, delegate.
My second year of business was one in which I realized I needed to invest in myself to reach my business goals. That included joining Strategic Coach and committing to the training and support I needed to become a better business leader.
It also meant growing my team. By doing everything, I was limiting myself to what I, one person, was capable of accomplishing alone. I quickly realized that in order to scale the business, I needed to focus my time on the kind of work at which I was uniquely gifted. From there, nearly everything else could be delegated.
It’s certainly not easy to let go of parts of your business, especially when you’re just starting out, but delegating to people I trust has easily been one of the best decisions I made.
Year 3: You never know until you try.
Until year three, I weighed my ambitions through the lens of: “What if this fails?” This year, I began flipping that paradigm and instead asked myself, “What if this succeeds?” Presuming failure inhibits truly innovative, impactful work. Instead, imagining the best case scenario opens our eyes to what’s possible.
For years, I had been selling a set of premium services that only a small portion—maybe 10 to 12 percent—of my audience could afford. In year three, I recognized that I owed it to my network and all the people I hadn’t yet met to create new pathways to my products and services. While the manifestation of that shift is still a work in progress, I’m so proud of the way my team and I took risks in Year 3 that allowed us to do so many new and interesting things— The Complete LinkedIn Profile Course™ chief among them, along with launching our weekly LinkedInsider community.
Year 4: Expect change.
Year 4 started off with a bang, fueled by the exciting momentum of the previous year. Then COVID hit. I know I’m not the only one whose business was affected by the pandemic, and certainly, I didn’t experience the same kind of hit that other businesses did. In fact, my team and I managed to track great progress toward our goals, making it our best year ever.
Still, there were many changes that forced us to pivot, rethink, and have a little more patience. For just about everyone I know, 2020 was a weird, hard, stressful year in so many different ways. If there’s anything I learned, it’s that plans can change. And that’s okay.
Year 5: Healthy doses of perspective are critical.
2021 has been a year of reflection, reassessment, and resetting. Unexpected events in my work and personal life have forced me to slow down and take stock of where I am right now and where I want to go. From the passing of a dear friend to the celebration of my Nana’s 100th birthday, and unexpected family illness, this year has reminded me of the importance of the people in our lives. Work is not the only thing, nor is it everything.
This year, more than ever I’ve learned the importance of taking time to rest and nurture myself periodically. Burnout is real. Part of the beauty of owning my business is that I get to define exactly what success looks like. That’s something that only comes with time, experience, wisdom, and having people you trust around you who can speak truth to you when you hit those low moments. Though it’s a lesson I’ve “learned” this year, I imagine I’ll keep learning this lesson far beyond Year 5 as I continue to discover how to balance work and life. That will shift and change as I grow and my business does, too.
When was the last time you took stock of where you are today and where you started? I’ve heard it said that the stories we tell about ourselves help us make meaning of our worlds. Thinking back on my own McMillion Consulting story is an exercise that has proved so beneficial to me. Maybe doing the same for your business will be helpful to you, too.
Need a sounding board for how to propel your business forward? Ready to launch your business to the world for the first time? My team and I would love to explore how we can help. Set up a discovery call with me to start the conversation.