5 Lessons Learned Growing a Six-Figure Service Business

5 years ago, I quit my Finance job and launched, grew, and scaled a six-figure service business.

In the process, I learned a lot about what it takes to start and grow a business.

TLDR: It’s super hard!

And along the way were tons of learnings, mistakes, failures, and wins.

If you’re reading this today, my hope is you will learn from my mistakes.

Let’s go.

Lesson 1: Level up your skills

The first, and arguably most important, lesson I learned was leveling up.

At that point, I had over a decade of experience in Finance, Accounting, and Strategy.

While it was nice to know the ins and outs of numbers and how they translate to sales and profits, the truth was this…

Those skills didn’t teach me how to sell and market.

The 2 skills you actually need to start and grow a business.

So every day, I dedicated myself to learning just a little bit about sales and marketing.

That habit became (and is still today) a huge driving force in scaling my business to 6 figures in under one year.

Everything I learned and consumed, I put into action immediately.

It was a very similar process to Wrestling and BJJ – learn a technique, and then apply them during sparring.

I started seeing results immediately.

And all those years of tracking, creating, and presenting metrics started to make sense.

So my lesson here is simple:

Every day, carve out time to level up.

Whether reading for a few minutes or listening to a podcast relevant to your business, invest the time to level up.

You will be extremely grateful for doing so.

And you’ll also reduce many mistakes along the way.

Invest the time to level up now and experience growth as a result over time.

Lesson 2: Track your metrics

As mentioned earlier, my career was in Finance.

I had the privilege of working at Fortune 100 companies, billion-dollar hypergrowth companies, and down to startups and small businesses.

What made these companies so successful was their relentless focus on the metrics and KPIs.

  • CEO: Our target is $1M.
  • CFO: Okay, we’re targeting $1M and here is how.

I was fortunate that I worked directly for the C-suite and had hands-on experience seeing what it took to take companies to the next level.

They knew their numbers inside out.

They challenged the numbers.

They benchmarked those numbers.

And most importantly, they were relentless in holding their teams accountable to those numbers.

If you’re starting a business or in the process of growing and scaling, measure your metrics.

Create a simple performance tracker with key metrics that drive your business.

Then create a plan on how you will hit those numbers.

And finally, measure and track those numbers on a set cadence (e.g. monthly).

Be relentless, track the numbers, and adjust and pivot when necessary.

Lesson 3: Find like-minded groups and people

Starting out, I tried to do everything by myself.

I thought I would find the answers in time.

But the truth was this, you don’t know what you don’t know.

I made a ton of mistakes as a result.

From stupid sales call blunders to not setting up basic systems that cost me money.

I realized quickly I was never going to grow at the pace I was on.

I had to admit I needed help.

It was then that I started networking, finding like-minded groups and masterminds, and finding the right people who could help and I could help them.

This resulted in not only making fewer mistakes but also resulted in making wonderful connections and even sales.

Everybody needs help.

The sooner you start reaching out for it, the faster you’ll notice growth in your business.

Lesson 4: Build systems and processes

Ever since I can recall, I’ve always wanted to do things quicker and easier.

It made me happy knowing I could create something that I built once and would continuously work on thereafter.

When I worked in Finance, I hated that certain processes took so long or had too many steps.

It didn’t make sense to me.

So I would rebuild the process, add my flair, and ensure this new process achieved the following:

  1. Faster to produce
  2. More accurate
  3. Enabled others to plug in quickly

This mindset was tremendously helpful when growing and scaling my business.

Immediately, I set up sales systems to capture and nurture leads, automate repetitive tasks, and scale marketing activities.

If you’re just starting or growing, think about your systems.

  • What makes your business tick?
  • What activities could be automated away vs. needing to hire resources?
  • What is something that’s causing a bottleneck in your business?

I suggest using a mind map tool to think through this.

The answers will become clear.

Build systems and processes to scale and grow your business.

Lesson 5: Continuously learn and adapt

Here’s the thing.

Every business is different.

Every business is unique.

What worked for one business may not work for yours or mine.

Stay curious and always ask “why”.

Don’t wait to fix things when they’re too late.

Actively optimize and improve your business.

Undoubtedly, something will need to be fixed at some point.

Keep reading and learning.

Books, podcasts, blogs, you name it.

There is always something to learn.

And when you do learn, apply as well.

Just like in sports, you learn best when things are applied.

Business is no different.

Conclusion

Starting a business is hard.

Scaling a business is hard.

Staying motivated is hard.

But having systems in place, staying hungry, being adaptable, and staying persistent will go a long way.

I hope these 5 lessons help you in your business journey. 👊

5 Best Productivity Tips For Solopreneurs

silver macbook on brown wooden table

As a solo entrepreneur aka solopreneur, it’s important to stay productive and focused.

I ran 2 businesses and a handful of side hustles as a solopreneur, and some days were unbearable.

Being a solo founder can be really tough.

You’re constantly fighting against the odds, and you’re always on your own. It’s a lonely job, and it can be really hard to stay motivated. But there are ways to make it easier.

These are my 5 best productivity tips for solopreneurs.

Let’s dive in.

Tip 1: Set Goals and Milestones

Setting goals and milestones can help you stay on track and achieve your objectives.

By having specific targets in mind, you can stay motivated and focused, making it easier to reach your goals.

Depending on your business, some goals could include:

  1. Evaluate your current marketing efforts and determine where you could improve.
  2. Develop a plan to increase traffic to your website.
  3. Create a budget and allocate resources to marketing and advertising campaigns that will help you reach your target audience.
  4. Streamline operations by picking the right software for your business (e.g. Zapier to automate processes)
  5. Grow sales to $X by running cold campaigns

Setting small goals that you can easily accomplish is often more effective than setting lofty goals that are too difficult to achieve.

So start small and work your way up.

And be sure to celebrate each milestone along the way!

Tip 2: Get Enough Sleep

A lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your productivity.

Remember those late nights and the feeling you have when you wake up, feeling drowsy and out of sorts?

Yup, that kind.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to be productive.

If you’re struggling to get enough sleep, there are some simple tips you can follow to help improve your productivity.

  1. Make a list of what you need to get done the next day and try to stick to it as much as possible.
  2. Establish a bedtime routine that helps you wind down before sleep. This could include reading or listening to calming music.
  3. Avoid watching television or using the computer in bed, as they can keep you from drifting off.
  4. Try to get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, so that your body gets a consistent rhythm of rest and relaxation.
  5. Get enough exercise. Exercise has been shown to improve your overall mood and energy levels, which can help you get more restful sleep.

Whatever tip you choose, stick with it and try your best to get much-needed rest.

Tip 3: Organize Your Time Wisely

When starting out as a solopreneur, it can be difficult to manage your time wisely.

Juggling work, family, and social obligations can feel overwhelming and lead to less productivity.

Here are three tips for organizing your time wisely:

Set boundaries.

Establish specific times during the day when you will be working and other times when you will be free.

This way, you know when to allocate your time and energy accordingly.

Break down large tasks into manageable pieces.

When faced with a large task that needs to be completed, break it down into smaller tasks that can be completed in short order.

This will help reduce the stress of trying to complete a large project on deadline.

I recommend ClickUp to manage this.

You can also refer to my post on how to set up ClickUp here if you’re brand new to the tool.

Take a break.

When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a break to relax and recharge your batteries.

This will help you return to work with renewed vigor and focus.

I personally like to step outside, close my eyes, and take a deep breath.

Tip 4: Use Technology to Your Advantage

Technology can be a great asset for solopreneurs.

By using technology, you can save tons of time and increase productivity.

For example, you can use software to keep track of your deadlines, manage workloads, or market your business.

Here are some example tools you can use to be productive:

1: Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a free online tool that lets you manage your work and personal schedules.

You can add events, set reminders, and add notes to events. This way, you can keep track of all the important dates and details related to your work.

I love color-coding my calendar based on:

  • Activity type (meeting vs. focus time)
  • Category (business vs. personal)
  • Reminders

Whatever process you use, I recommend sticking to it and readjusting every month to see if it still suits you.

2: Notion

Notion is a software app designed to help individuals and teams manage their work and stay organized.

It’s perfect for businesses or organizations that want to be more efficient and productive.

With Notion, you can create custom pages, notes, agendas, wikis, processes, goals, and so much more.

I love using Notion to manage as my second brain and for my business.

3: Google Drive

Google Drive is a great way to keep your work and projects organized.

It offers a simple interface that makes it easy to share files with others, and it can automatically keep track of changes so you don’t have to.

And if you have a Google Workspace account, it’s only normal to use Google Drive as it’s part of your subscription.

I love Google Drive and use it to manage everything.

4: ClickUp

ClickUp is a project management tool that helps people and teams manage their work and personal life.

You can use ClickUp for a variety of things:

  • Manage personal to-dos
  • Manage business tasks
  • Create CRM to manage sales lead
  • Manage growth marketing experiments
  • Create goals
  • Create project timelines using the Gantt function

There’s so much you can do with ClickUp.

I’ve been personally using it back when it was version 1.0 and still love it to this day.

5: Microsoft Office 365

As much as I love Google Drive, Microsoft is still king when it comes to spreadsheets.

Microsoft Office 365 is cloud-based, and you can access all the features of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

My recommendation is to leverage the built-in features such as macros, voice-to-text, and keyboard shortcuts to be more productive.

Tip 5: Delegate Tasks When Necessary

When starting out as a solopreneur, it can be hard to know when to delegate tasks.

Delegating can help you focus on your core strengths and business goals while freeing up time to do other things that are important to you.

Here are five tips for delegating tasks effectively:

1. Define the task clearly.

Make sure everyone understands what is required of them and what the expected outcome is. This will help avoid confusion or frustration down the line.

2. Set deadlines.

If a task is not completed by the deadline, it should be assigned to someone who can meet that deadline more easily. This will help you stay organized and keep your team on track.

3. Be clear about expectations

Set clear expectations for team members, and be willing to hold them accountable. This will help everyone stay focused and motivated.

4. Give feedback.

Be sure to give feedback on a regular basis so that team members know how they are performing. This will help them improve their skills and work towards meeting your expectations.

5. Set up systems and procedures.

If you want your team to be effective, it is important to set up systems and procedures that guide their work. This way, everything is organized and everyone knows what to do in order to meet the goals of the project

Be more productive today

As a solo entrepreneur / solopreneur, it’s important to stay productive and focused.

It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when working alone, but following these five tips will help you stay on track and meet your goals.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have any tips that have helped you become more productive as a solopreneur?

Let me know!

Regain your childlike wonder

“You have to say, ‘Wait a second. Why are we doing it this way? Could it be better? Could it be different?’ That kind of curiosity, that explorer’s mind, that childlike wonder – that’s what makes an inventor.”

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon

We all were excited at one point in our lives.

Foods, bugs, stars, movie stars, teachers, athletes.

But as time went on, we lose a piece of ourselves.

Things we used to love no longer seem as enjoyable.

Days, when we were giddy to get outside, are now filled with the desire to sleep in all day.

It all happens gradually. You don’t even notice it.

What happened?

We lost our childlike wonder.

It wasn’t one specific event.

It was more than likely an accumulation of events: work, family, responsibilities, failures, and disasters that pushed our excitement to the side.

Damn.

How I lost my curiosity and wonderment

This isn’t a how-to guide nor the best way or method.

No. Rather, this is how it’s worked for me.

I hope it may bring inspiration to you.

10 years ago, I was lost.

I worked 10-12 hour days, grinding out financial reports and stressed out of my mind.

I told myself, “Okay, one day I’ll get to that (thing/movie/activity).”

One day became two, two became weeks, then turned months into years.

I stopped caring.

I wasn’t curious anymore.

I couldn’t see beyond what was in front of me: work.

Then, in 2012 I had this moment.

I wanted more. I wanted more from life.

That night would forever change my mindset. It would bring me back to my college days.

The days when I was hungry to learn, excited to try new things and get out of my comfort zone.

Here’s how I regained my childlike wonder

See this kid above here? He’s curious. He’s wondering, “What is this?”

I realized in 2012 I wasn’t curious anymore.

It would eventually be the spark I needed to live my life. To fully own up to it.

I would go on to learn MMA, tackle new projects at work, get married, and travel.

Then, in 2017 I quit my job and turned down an offer from Amazon.

My childlike wonder had me asking, “What do I want to do with my life that I’ve been afraid of?”

In 2018 after returning from a life-changing backpacking experience, I decided I would venture into the world of entrepreneurship.

Little did I know this would be what I was searching for in my professional life.

Admittedly, in my jobs, I would constantly end up doing side projects not related to my job at hand. Hey, I was bored. I wanted more, and I didn’t feel compelled I needed permission.

(P.s. I highly recommend this. You’ll learn a ton. And you’ll learn to be self-sufficient and to think for yourself.)

In the past 3 years since turning down that Amazon offer, my curiosity and childlike wonder has skyrocketed.

I question everything. I find excitement in almost everything. And even when I don’t, I ask so I can learn more.

The best part? I’m not alone.

I found communities that feel the same exact way.

  • What’s no code?
  • What’s marketing? Growth hacking?
  • What is lead generation?
  • What’s a newsletter?
  • What’s a podcast? Which ones are best?
  • How do you buy a company? Wait, you can make money doing what?

So many questions!

But I love it. Absolutely love it.

Parting Thoughts

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I get that sense of childlike wonder?”

It’s quite easy.

Be curious. Have a desire to learn. Ask questions. Be “in the moment”.

Tell yourself, “I want to learn. I want more in this life.”

I’ll never forget Jeff Bezos regret minimization quote:

I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder

His quote always stood out to me above the rest.

I could be 80, on my deathbed, telling myself, “Why didn’t I go for it….”

When you start looking at it that way, chasing your dreams becomes less scary.

So I’ll end with this.

Be excited, Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Be grateful.

Have a sense of childlike wonder.

Tonight, stare up at the stars.

And ask yourself, “What will I regret?”

Your passion finds you

“You don’t choose your passions, your passions choose you,”

Jeff Bezos

I recently shared this post.

Why?

Because for the past few months, I’ve been wondering: why am I running away from my passion?

My passion for helping others, my passion for inspiring and providing hope, my passion to give back.

My passion has always been in martial arts and fitness. Through this I was able to weather the storm that is life.

I’ve always wanted to share this with others to help them achieve their own goals or get out of their rut.

We all get stuck at points in life.

Sometimes we just need a little push to get us there.

MMA and martial arts has always been that for me.

When I was homeless, I wondered if I’d see a tomorrow.

Fast forward a decade later and here I am, still walking and still breathing.

What saved me?

My family, my love for martial arts and my passion for helping people.

I won’t ever change that.

I need to pursue what’s always been in front of me.

Not tomorrow, not next month, not next year.

It happens now.

And I can’t wait.

Finally.