How I Created Two 6-Figure BusinessesNov 18, 2022
I have founded and led two businesses, both which in their first full year of business have brought in over 6-figures of revenue.
My coaching business, Design & Align, is my second business.
My first business was my interior design studio, and really I think of that business as being in two parts -
Stage 1) The early days where I sat at my kitchen table, brought in freelancers to help, and didn’t charge nearly enough.
Stage 2) Returning to work after having my second son I made radical changes. I took on a business partner, moved to a studio, hired a small team, worked with a business coach, a brand strategist and a finance coach, and started pricing our services based on the value we were delivering to our clients, not the time it would take us to do the work (tried that in Stage 1, always underestimated/over-delivered, never earned enough money). Within the first year my business partner and I brought in over 6 figures in revenue.
And now, as we move towards the end of my first full year of Design & Align, we’ve just crossed the 6-figure mark.
So I wanted to share what has got me here - not because hitting 6-figures is essential, or that success in business is all about the glittery financial results - but because the journey that got me here is so full of learnings and insights, which I wish I’d had back when I was sitting at the kitchen table earning next to nothing.
Knowing why I do what I do is everything. I know what’s driving me and this gives me direction and motivation, especially on those days where there only seems to be problems. Every morning I want to wake up and know that I’m living without society or self-imposed limitations, and that I’m empowering others to do the same. That I’m supporting my clients and all those around me to expand in abundance and experience the freedom of living the fullest expression of themselves. This is my ‘why’ and it inspires my every move. In those moments where I’ve felt the fear or doubted myself, anchoring to my ‘why’ is what has pulled me through, every single time.
Ask anyone in my family and they will tell you there’s never a moment where I don’t have a business or self development book on the go. I take so much from reading books on everything from Hindu Spiritual Wisdom to Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. The knowledge I gain from reading is huge and makes me infinitely better at business.
I also invest in coaches and mentors who support me in growing my company. Fellow leaders who understand that business is just as much about mindset as it is about strategy, and who have the knowledge, experience and tools to support me in achieving my goals. Not only have their insights been invaluable in propelling me forward, it just feels so good to be supported on this wild entrepreneurial ride.
I learned in the first iteration of my interior design business that it's so easy to drift along, doing some nice projects, working with some nice people, and earning a bit (but not much) money. But then the years go past and you look at your bank account and think really? I did all that work for that?
Getting serious about the financials in my business is one of the moves that has served me the greatest. Defining the revenue goal, creating the strategy to get there, and doing the inner work required to set high standards in my pricing and selling: this is what has allowed me to generate profits that I’ve then been able to reinvest back into marketing and creating the systems that will allow us to scale. It’s where I start with all my private clients and they are always telling me “I SO needed this!”
Learning the psychology of money is what has allowed me to recognise where in the past I’ve projected my own thoughts and feelings about money onto my audience. Understanding the stories I’d built up around money was a massive invitation to do the energetic work required to calibrate to the prices I want to charge and to be able to share my pricing with clients without freaking out, panic discounting, or diminishing my services to meet a client’s comfort level.
In the early days I priced the time I was working (thanks, but no thanks, to all those sources that told me this is how designers should charge). Once I started pricing the value of my services, that was when we really started to build momentum. Projects stopped feeling like a thankless slog and we started seeing more profits and experiencing more joy in the exchange of value between us and our clients.
And rather than ‘selling to people’ I have structured my sales process so that, regardless of whether they choose to work with me now, at some point in the future, or never, I feel that I’ve made my sales conversations valuable for my prospective clients, without dishonouring myself by giving away my expertise for free.
I’ve spent a lot of time working out ‘why me?’ What is it that my business offers that others don’t? What experience and qualities do I have that make me uniquely positioned to do the work I do? What beliefs do I hold and what do I do better than the other options for support designers could access? Yes, I am trained and accredited as a coach and NLP Practitioner. But it’s my background running multi-million pound projects in the public sector, my 7 years running an interior design studio - doing the actual work that my clients and their teams do - and my ongoing exploration of psychology, business energetics and personal growth that, combined, brings a level of business experience, sector knowledge and self mastery that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Knowing who my ideal client is and isn’t has had a huge effect on my business growth. In my design studio, getting clear on which projects to say yes to and which to say no to saved so much time that in the past might have been wasted entertaining completely unsuitable opportunities.
And now in my coaching business, having clarity on who my audience is allows me to create messaging and connect with them in a way that goes far beyond the surface level of “I can help you grow your business”. Of course that’s part of it but I get that you’re not going to choose to work with me simply because I can create a spreadsheet and talk to you about sales funnels.
Whatever service you’re providing, clients will choose to work with you because of how you do what you do and what you stand for. I once listened to an interview with Greg Hoffman, Chief Marketing Officer at Nike, who said - “Authenticity is our currency. The stronger the emotional connection we create with our audience, the bigger status our brand is going to have”. This has absolutely been my experience.
Here’s the truth. There are days I feel tired and doubtful of whether what I’m doing is working. In the past, on those days, I would have stuck my head under the covers and laid low.
But I’ve learned, after 8 years in business, that marketing and selling is not something you only do when a project is drawing to a close and you realise your pipeline is looking a little sparse.
And whilst word of mouth is wonderful, on its own it’s rarely enough to give you a consistent flow of dream enquiries.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in growing my businesses is that you create way more momentum by taking consistent, sustainable action to remain visible and keep that connection with your audience - rather than short, intense bursts of activity followed by tumbleweed for 6 months.
Yes, there are times in business you won’t feel like showing up and you should absolutely honour what your soul needs. But there will be plenty of days where your energy is low but you need to dig deep and find the resilience to get out there and market and sell your services, even just to prove to yourself that you have it in you.
You have to keep on communicating with your audience in ways that let them know you understand what they are challenged by and that you have the solution. Using SEO to position yourself online and build authority. Using social media to build a community of people who love what you do and engage in it. Moving people off social media and on to your email list. Your audience may not all be clients now but showing up consistently is how you position yourself as an expert, build an army of people who would love to work with you one day and will gladly spread the word about you to others.
In business, I’ve learned that mindset and energy are just as linked to your success as the strategy. Being able to reframe challenges, show up empowered with clients and team members, find solutions to problems, and every day get out of bed and be the version of yourself that you want to be… this is what’s required to grow and scale a company. Does that mean you’ll never have moments of uncertainty? Of course not. But being able to move through them faster, rather than sitting in fear or indecision, is a large part of what will determine your success.
Over the years I’ve played around with different tools and rituals, working out what supports me the most, and right now it’s this - early morning yoga and meditation before my kids are awake, a big walk before I start work each day, plenty of space around ‘work’, regular acupuncture to unblock stagnant energy and create more calmness and flow, and lastly - boring but true - simply getting enough sleep makes all the difference to my clarity, focus and mood.
So that’s it. Eight key learnings from the journey to 6-figures and beyond. If you’ve made it this far I know you’re committed to growing your business so I would love to know what resonated most… Drop me an email or send me a DM on Instagram, I love hearing your comments!
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