This will fix your broken business

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Running a business is not for the faint of heart. Especially a business that relies so much on repeat orders, finding new customers, and high-ticket sales.

If you’re a freelancer or an aspiring agency you know what I’m talking about.

If your business relies primarily on sponsorships or advertising (like mine) you’ve also felt the pain.

Running a real business is hard work.

It’s easy to get caught up in everything you need to get done.

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

You’ve got to update your website, run your facebook page, record your next YouTube episode, hire a subcontractor, rethink your logo, and the list goes on and on.

But have you ever found yourself working hard every day on your business—you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, and buried in email—only to feel like you’re getting nowhere?

The struggle is real.

I’ve experienced it a million times.

And the same thing got me out of the slump every single time. You’re going to hate me for saying it. You might roll your eyes or yell profanities at me through your screen.

You'll also enjoy this episode of our new podcast...

But it needs to be said. What’s the #1 thing that will fix your broken business?

Sales.

I know, it seems obvious, right? “Gee, thanks, Preston.”

But here’s why it needs to be said: if you’re not careful, you could wake up one day and find that you’re just “playing” business. You’re not actually building a real business.

Maybe you’re blogging. Maybe you’re learning new Photoshop skills through YouTube. Maybe you’re networking with other business owners in your city.

But none of this matters if you’re not focusing on sales.

Not a single bit of it.

Until you have a healthy focus on sales, you’re going to see sluggish growth. You’ll feel like your effort is far outpacing your results. You’ll feel like your business is broken.

Business consultant Naomi Dunford of ittybiz.com said it best as quoted in one of my favorite business books of all time: The $100 Startup:

“Remember that the goal of business is profit. It’s not being liked, or having a huge social media presence, or having amazing products that nobody buys. It is not having a beautiful website, or perfectly crafted email newsletters, or an incredibly popular blog. In larger businesses, this is called accountability to shareholders. Business is not a popularity contest. The CEO doesn’t get away with saying, “But look at all these people who like us on Facebook!” Shareholders will not accept that. You are the majority shareholder in your business, and you have to protect your investment. You have to make sure that your recurring activities are as directly tied to making money as possible. There’s nothing wrong with having a hobby, but if you want to call it a business, you have to make money.”

I’ve fallen into this trap myself.

This blog is a business. And the #1 way we make money is by partnering with like-minded sponsors who share our passion for making your lives better as creative founders or freelancers.

But if I ever focus too much on redesigning parts of our website, getting more traffic from social media, or partnering with other blogs in our space, sales takes a back seat.

And the company’s profitability goes down.

I’m still working hard. And these activities (more traffic, building partners, updating the web site) all ultimately lead to more success all around (eventually, maybe, one day…).

But they won’t if you give them a disproportionate amount of attention.

You’ll reap what you sow in business. If you focus on growth through sales (and no, you don’t have to be a sleazy salesman to do it), you’ll see sales revenue go up. If not, you won’t.

Easy right?

Well, it’s easy to say. But it takes a load of hustle and persistence to make it work.

That’s what we’re here for: to be your partner on this journey to build your business. You’re great and you can do it. Stay focused and you’ll be amazed what kinds of results you’ll see.

BONUS: Ready to take action? Here are some of our favorite Millo posts about sales:

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About Preston D Lee

Preston is an entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and the founder of this blog. You can contact him via twitter at @prestondlee.

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Comments

  1. Hi. So, how does one increase their sales.

    • Evanson, thanks for calling me out on this one. I’ve included links to our favorite Millo content on getting more sales at the bottom of the post above. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Greetings Preston,
    I have often heard the quote “only two things in life you can be sure of -death and taxes”.

    I much rather your positive one “If you focus on growth through sales (and no, you don’t have to be a sleazy salesman to do it), you’ll see sales revenue go up. If not, you won’t.”
    This too is a sure thing.
    Love your site, really interesting and inspiring.
    Wish you continued success!
    Best regards,
    Brian

  3. Great and sobering article!!! Thank you!

  4. ALL. BE. CLOSING!

  5. Thank you for stating what needs to be said, Preston. I’m fairly new to the business aspect of freelancing but you hit the nail on the head with this post. If freelancers want to succeed and be money makers, they need to put the work in and treat it as a business.