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Managing Your Expectations Is Everything! Expectations.. An Integral Piece To Your First Million In Sales.

Ravens_Shadow

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Managing Expectations While On Your Entrepreneurial Journey

Preface: I'd consider myself relatively successful now that I've built up a company that's generating over $1 million in ARR and I'm finally able to reap my rewards via fat dividends checks. I’m writing this from the perspective of someone who is building an enterprise business instead of a lifestyle business. At the time of writing this, I’m completely debt free, I have 9 employees, and I’m in the process of getting a divorce. If we aren’t doing 8 figures per year in a couple of years, I’d be really surprised. It's taken me 8 years to get to this point since first reading TMF .

Managing your expectations so that you can persist through your journey is EVERYTHING. If you do not properly manage your expectations, I firmly believe that you will not succeed.

Your expectations need to evolve over time as your company grows. Start out aiming for small wins, and as you gain experience running your company you need to expand your definition of success. The ever changing definition of your own success is what will propel you to higher revenue tiers in your business. I think that you have to earn your right to expect more from yourself, otherwise expecting too much from the start is setting yourself up for failure. Managing your expectations is an art in itself.. If you expect too little, you might not get anywhere, and if you expect too much you might disappoint yourself to the point of quitting.


Learn to thrive on little wins.
When you begin your journey to financial freedom, you need to realize that you aren't going to be doing $10k per month right off the bat. The process to get there for me was long and hard. It took a little over 2 years for us to have our first $10k month. If you’re hustling Amazon products, I’d hope that you reach this milestone before I did. If you have the expectation that you will be doing $10k a month after putting in a month or two of work, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. The better expectation to have is that if you just made a dollar, you can make a hundred dollars. Gradually increase your expectations over time as you get little wins. Raise your expectations a little more after each win so that you can reach your next goal.

When I started out, due to the complexity of my business, we had trouble hitting $10k in a single month. What kept me going during the first few years were random $10 sales from a new customer every other day. These little wins were the small bits of validation that I needed to keep pressing on. $10 dollars is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but at this stage in the process, it meant the world to me. If someone is giving you money in exchange for your offering, you’re on the right track. New sale notifications and the dopamine hit associated with them was incredibly addicting.

You may have to rely on these little wins for months or years though, so train yourself to see each new sale as a small echo that you’re onto something. Use these echos as fuel to keep going.

A piece of side advice is to not obsess over your sales notifications/analytics like I did. I burnt up many hours of time refreshing my inbox when I should have been working.


Eventually small sales/wins will lose their charm.
Expect to come to a point where you are no longer getting that big dopamine hit from small sales. Maybe you’ve reached the $25k/m milestone. If you’re selling a $50 widget, then you need 500 sales each month to get to $25k/m, which would come out to roughly 17 notifications a day. After a year of steady sales you’ll have seen over 6,000 sales notifications.. At this point they likely mean nothing to you. I think this loss of interest in small wins is of great detriment to you. Once you stop cheering yourself on for each sale, you may lose sight of the bigger picture and become complacent.

To counteract this, you need to move to a new dopamine hit. What dopamine hit is that? Units per day. The higher your units per day, the more money you make, and the funner the game you’re now playing is on a macro scale. Tracking sales analytics, visualizing units sold with line graphs, and trying to beat your best scores (days) is addicting. Use this game to your advantage. Consistently try to hit higher units sold numbers. You can play this same game with revenue, MRR, ARR, or any other metric that is most exciting to you.


Complacency is your worst enemy.
I don’t have much to say on this other than that if you lower your expectations for yourself and you become complacent, you will F*ck your business up. Once snow starts sliding on a mountain side, there’s a good chance it’s going to turn into a powerful and destructive avalanche. Don’t let your complacency slide, or it could cause the avalanche that destroys your business.

Fighting complacency is hard, and even I’m guilty of it. However, if you expect that it’s going to happen you can recognize it faster and prevent yourself from being complacent for too long. Any time you’re twiddling your thumbs or have your head in your a$$ is time that your competitor has to overtake you or widen the gap.


Expect the desert, but swim in the hidden oasis.
I have no doubt in my mind that you will cross multiple deserts of desertion on your journey to your first million dollars. If you understand and expect that you are going to have to cross huge barren deserts, you can prepare yourself for it and recognize when you are in it. The great thing about deserts is that they often have an oasis. An oasis could be a customer cheering you on, a new contract with a fortune 500 company, or an investment. The people who quit when in the desert of desertion probably didn’t find their oasis in time. These sweet bodies of water will allow you to rehydrate enough so that you can cross the rest of the desert. You may find multiple oases throughout your trek across the desert.

If you know in your gut that your business has potential, and you’ve made sales, do not give up under any circumstance. The desert of desertion kills more business ideas than anything else out there. There were so many times I wanted to quit. Societies EXPECTATION is that you are going to quit and rejoin the rat race. Have different expectations for yourself. Keep one foot in front of the other and press on.


Expect stress, but realize it’s bullshit.
Stress is when a company gives you $20,000 out of the blue and then they email you telling you that they never got their product. Then, when they get the product it doesn’t work. Finally, when you are almost done with a solution for your first customer, another company gives you $15,000 and they are facing the same problems. This was a situation that actually happened to me due to some minor oversight on our backend but was a pain to unravel. I stressed out so much over that two day period where if I were older, I probably would have died from a heart attack. After this traumatic event I realized that stress is nothing but bullshit. It’s nothing more than B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. Want to know why? Because the entire time the customers were understanding and forgiving of our mistakes.

At worst, most problems are only going to persist for a few days or maybe even a week. Eventually you are going to solve the problem, and when you are armed with that knowledge, there’s no reason to stress. I now have the experience to backup my expectations that problems will be solved quickly, thus reducing my stress levels. If you look back on stressful moments in your life, you just may realize that things panned out just fine and the stress was unnecessary.


Expect sacrifices.
Starting and running a successful business is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but don’t let that scare you away. The life that I have is so much more interesting than if I just sat on the couch all day watching the 19th rerun of The Office. You will sacrifice nights out with your friends, some relationships, money in the short term, and lots and lots of time. Knowing that you are going to sacrifice so much is empowering because you can use these painful sacrifices as leverage to propel yourself forward.


Expect rewards.
The plus side of all of these sacrifices is the reward. Financial freedom. Quitting your job. Intense satisfaction in knowing what you’ve created. Breaking free from the chains of debt. Not worrying about whether or not you can afford that cool new toy you’ve had our eye’s on for a while. Building my business brings me great satisfaction at the end of the day and money is no longer an issue.


Go forth and prosper.
Hopefully I've stressed the importance of knowing both what to expect on your journey and keeping your own expectations grounded with reality. There will be things that you cannot foresee or know to expect, but learning to manage your expectations you can get through any rough patch and excel when things are going great.
 
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Last edited:

BlackSuperman

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I'm the type of person who reverse engineers the end goal into smaller more manageable ones, but even then I feel like I did 't focus on actually celebrating the completion of small goals.

I needed to read this. Thanks for the information.

As someone who followed your thread, these words coming from you has inspired me to take action as we speak. Booting up the laptop and going to spend the next few hours working my way to the small wins. Then I'll go from there.
 

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This may be another NOTABLE to add to your already growing list, @Ravens_Shadow. Some key-takeaways being:
  • Set goals relevant to your current situation. If you just started a business, don't set "earning $10,000/month" as your first goal. Start with, "get my first value-voucher and then see where I can go from there." It reminds me of lifting, you don't go to a bench and start pressing 225LB instantly, especially if you're new to lifting. You start from a lower more reasonable weight and progressively increase the weight as you get stronger and stronger... eventually getting to 225LBs.
  • I've been with a startup now a larger company for more than three years now and one of our phrases is: Always Be Content, Never Be Satisfied. This phrase alone has pushed many of us to do amazing work and I take it to heart in my own life (outside of work). We're content but we're never satisfied. We're never satisfied with the value that we provide or the experience. We're never satisfied with current processes and the way things are currently. We can always do better, we can always eliminate waste, improve processes and provide more value. If you're content and you're satisfied... things are going to go downhill and you're going to stop innovating and you'll lose that competitive edge.
  • There's honestly not much that I can say to the desert of desertion. It's hard. And it's imperative that you get a feedback-loop going as quick as possible. Because things are just going to be difficult in general and even more when you don't have a positive feedback-loop going.
This post is honestly just plain truth and I think more people who're trying to do business need to read and understand the things you mentioned.

Thank you for contributed so much to the forum.
 

cm-devpreneur

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Wow. This was a joy to read. Thank you for sharing your journey and the encouraging words on what to expect. It doesn't seem like fun walking the desert for 2 years to get to the promised land but man that sacrifice must be worth it. It's good to know what to expect - maybe mentally prepare for the journey and keep the promised land in sight. The day when you can tell your success story too. Thank you
 
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TryHardTriad

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Thank you for writing this post! I am constantly beating myself up because I feel so far away from my $1 million revenue in 1 year target when things are actually going ok.

Love the idea of using different meaningful metrics to keep the dopamine flowing.
 

Ravens_Shadow

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Thank you for writing this post! I am constantly beating myself up because I feel so far away from my $1 million revenue in 1 year target when things are actually going ok.

Love the idea of using different meaningful metrics to keep the dopamine flowing.
It'll take a while! Just keep pushing forward and get those little wins for now.
 

MetalGear

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Managing Expectations While On Your Entrepreneurial Journey

Preface: I'd consider myself relatively successful now that I've built up a company that's generating over $1 million in ARR and I'm finally able to reap my rewards via fat dividends checks. I’m writing this from the perspective of someone who is building an enterprise business instead of a lifestyle business. At the time of writing this, I’m completely debt free, I have 9 employees, and I’m in the process of getting a divorce. If we aren’t doing 8 figures per year in a couple of years, I’d be really surprised. It's taken me 8 years to get to this point since first reading TMF .

Managing your expectations so that you can persist through your journey is EVERYTHING. If you do not properly manage your expectations, I firmly believe that you will not succeed.

Your expectations need to evolve over time as your company grows. Start out aiming for small wins, and as you gain experience running your company you need to expand your definition of success. The ever changing definition of your own success is what will propel you to higher revenue tiers in your business. I think that you have to earn your right to expect more from yourself, otherwise expecting too much from the start is setting yourself up for failure. Managing your expectations is an art in itself.. If you expect too little, you might not get anywhere, and if you expect too much you might disappoint yourself to the point of quitting.


Learn to thrive on little wins.
When you begin your journey to financial freedom, you need to realize that you aren't going to be doing $10k per month right off the bat. The process to get there for me was long and hard. It took a little over 2 years for us to have our first $10k month. If you’re hustling Amazon products, I’d hope that you reach this milestone before I did. If you have the expectation that you will be doing $10k a month after putting in a month or two of work, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. The better expectation to have is that if you just made a dollar, you can make a hundred dollars. Gradually increase your expectations over time as you get little wins. Raise your expectations a little more after each win so that you can reach your next goal.

When I started out, due to the complexity of my business, we had trouble hitting $10k in a single month. What kept me going during the first few years were random $10 sales from a new customer every other day. These little wins were the small bits of validation that I needed to keep pressing on. $10 dollars is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but at this stage in the process, it meant the world to me. If someone is giving you money in exchange for your offering, you’re on the right track. New sale notifications and the dopamine hit associated with them was incredibly addicting.

You may have to rely on these little wins for months or years though, so train yourself to see each new sale as a small echo that you’re onto something. Use these echos as fuel to keep going.

A piece of side advice is to not obsess over your sales notifications/analytics like I did. I burnt up many hours of time refreshing my inbox when I should have been working.


Eventually small sales/wins will lose their charm.
Expect to come to a point where you are no longer getting that big dopamine hit from small sales. Maybe you’ve reached the $25k/m milestone. If you’re selling a $50 widget, then you need 500 sales each month to get to $25k/m, which would come out to roughly 17 notifications a day. After a year of steady sales you’ll have seen over 6,000 sales notifications.. At this point they likely mean nothing to you. I think this loss of interest in small wins is of great detriment to you. Once you stop cheering yourself on for each sale, you may lose sight of the bigger picture and become complacent.

To counteract this, you need to move to a new dopamine hit. What dopamine hit is that? Units per day. The higher your units per day, the more money you make, and the funner the game you’re now playing is on a macro scale. Tracking sales analytics, visualizing units sold with line graphs, and trying to beat your best scores (days) is addicting. Use this game to your advantage. Consistently try to hit higher units sold numbers. You can play this same game with revenue, MRR, ARR, or any other metric that is most exciting to you.


Complacency is your worst enemy.
I don’t have much to say on this other than that if you lower your expectations for yourself and you become complacent, you will f*ck your business up. Once snow starts sliding on a mountain side, there’s a good chance it’s going to turn into a powerful and destructive avalanche. Don’t let your complacency slide, or it could cause the avalanche that destroys your business.

Fighting complacency is hard, and even I’m guilty of it. However, if you expect that it’s going to happen you can recognize it faster and prevent yourself from being complacent for too long. Any time you’re twiddling your thumbs or have your head in your a$$ is time that your competitor has to overtake you or widen the gap.


Expect the desert, but swim in the hidden oasis.
I have no doubt in my mind that you will cross multiple deserts of desertion on your journey to your first million dollars. If you understand and expect that you are going to have to cross huge barren deserts, you can prepare yourself for it and recognize when you are in it. The great thing about deserts is that they often have an oasis. An oasis could be a customer cheering you on, a new contract with a fortune 500 company, or an investment. The people who quit when in the desert of desertion probably didn’t find their oasis in time. These sweet bodies of water will allow you to rehydrate enough so that you can cross the rest of the desert. You may find multiple oases throughout your trek across the desert.

If you know in your gut that your business has potential, and you’ve made sales, do not give up under any circumstance. The desert of desertion kills more business ideas than anything else out there. There were so many times I wanted to quit. Societies EXPECTATION is that you are going to quit and rejoin the rat race. Have different expectations for yourself. Keep one foot in front of the other and press on.


Expect stress, but realize it’s bullshit.
Stress is when a company gives you $20,000 out of the blue and then they email you telling you that they never got their product. Then, when they get the product it doesn’t work. Finally, when you are almost done with a solution for your first customer, another company gives you $15,000 and they are facing the same problems. This was a situation that actually happened to me due to some minor oversight on our backend but was a pain to unravel. I stressed out so much over that two day period where if I were older, I probably would have died from a heart attack. After this traumatic event I realized that stress is nothing but bullshit. It’s nothing more than B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. Want to know why? Because the entire time the customers were understanding and forgiving of our mistakes.

At worst, most problems are only going to persist for a few days or maybe even a week. Eventually you are going to solve the problem, and when you are armed with that knowledge, there’s no reason to stress. I now have the experience to backup my expectations that problems will be solved quickly, thus reducing my stress levels. If you look back on stressful moments in your life, you just may realize that things panned out just fine and the stress was unnecessary.


Expect sacrifices.
Starting and running a successful business is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but don’t let that scare you away. The life that I have is so much more interesting than if I just sat on the couch all day watching the 19th rerun of The Office. You will sacrifice nights out with your friends, some relationships, money in the short term, and lots and lots of time. Knowing that you are going to sacrifice so much is empowering because you can use these painful sacrifices as leverage to propel yourself forward.


Expect rewards.
The plus side of all of these sacrifices is the reward. Financial freedom. Quitting your job. Intense satisfaction in knowing what you’ve created. Breaking free from the chains of debt. Not worrying about whether or not you can afford that cool new toy you’ve had our eye’s on for a while. Building my business brings me great satisfaction at the end of the day and money is no longer an issue.


Go forth and prosper.
Hopefully I've stressed the importance of knowing both what to expect on your journey and keeping your own expectations grounded with reality. There will be things that you cannot foresee or know to expect, but learning to manage your expectations you can get through any rough patch and excel when things are going great.

  • I needed to read this. So happy you found the Fastlane philosophy earlier on in life
  • Lots of people both accomplished and in the beginning stages of entrepreneurship cheering you on
 
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Fox

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Posts like this make me miss the rep system.

Great advice @Ravens_Shadow - well done on a ton of hard work.
 

Fox

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Andy Black

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Managing Expectations While On Your Entrepreneurial Journey

Preface: I'd consider myself relatively successful now that I've built up a company that's generating over $1 million in ARR and I'm finally able to reap my rewards via fat dividends checks. I’m writing this from the perspective of someone who is building an enterprise business instead of a lifestyle business. At the time of writing this, I’m completely debt free, I have 9 employees, and I’m in the process of getting a divorce. If we aren’t doing 8 figures per year in a couple of years, I’d be really surprised. It's taken me 8 years to get to this point since first reading TMF .

Managing your expectations so that you can persist through your journey is EVERYTHING. If you do not properly manage your expectations, I firmly believe that you will not succeed.

Your expectations need to evolve over time as your company grows. Start out aiming for small wins, and as you gain experience running your company you need to expand your definition of success. The ever changing definition of your own success is what will propel you to higher revenue tiers in your business. I think that you have to earn your right to expect more from yourself, otherwise expecting too much from the start is setting yourself up for failure. Managing your expectations is an art in itself.. If you expect too little, you might not get anywhere, and if you expect too much you might disappoint yourself to the point of quitting.


Learn to thrive on little wins.
When you begin your journey to financial freedom, you need to realize that you aren't going to be doing $10k per month right off the bat. The process to get there for me was long and hard. It took a little over 2 years for us to have our first $10k month. If you’re hustling Amazon products, I’d hope that you reach this milestone before I did. If you have the expectation that you will be doing $10k a month after putting in a month or two of work, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. The better expectation to have is that if you just made a dollar, you can make a hundred dollars. Gradually increase your expectations over time as you get little wins. Raise your expectations a little more after each win so that you can reach your next goal.

When I started out, due to the complexity of my business, we had trouble hitting $10k in a single month. What kept me going during the first few years were random $10 sales from a new customer every other day. These little wins were the small bits of validation that I needed to keep pressing on. $10 dollars is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but at this stage in the process, it meant the world to me. If someone is giving you money in exchange for your offering, you’re on the right track. New sale notifications and the dopamine hit associated with them was incredibly addicting.

You may have to rely on these little wins for months or years though, so train yourself to see each new sale as a small echo that you’re onto something. Use these echos as fuel to keep going.

A piece of side advice is to not obsess over your sales notifications/analytics like I did. I burnt up many hours of time refreshing my inbox when I should have been working.


Eventually small sales/wins will lose their charm.
Expect to come to a point where you are no longer getting that big dopamine hit from small sales. Maybe you’ve reached the $25k/m milestone. If you’re selling a $50 widget, then you need 500 sales each month to get to $25k/m, which would come out to roughly 17 notifications a day. After a year of steady sales you’ll have seen over 6,000 sales notifications.. At this point they likely mean nothing to you. I think this loss of interest in small wins is of great detriment to you. Once you stop cheering yourself on for each sale, you may lose sight of the bigger picture and become complacent.

To counteract this, you need to move to a new dopamine hit. What dopamine hit is that? Units per day. The higher your units per day, the more money you make, and the funner the game you’re now playing is on a macro scale. Tracking sales analytics, visualizing units sold with line graphs, and trying to beat your best scores (days) is addicting. Use this game to your advantage. Consistently try to hit higher units sold numbers. You can play this same game with revenue, MRR, ARR, or any other metric that is most exciting to you.


Complacency is your worst enemy.
I don’t have much to say on this other than that if you lower your expectations for yourself and you become complacent, you will f*ck your business up. Once snow starts sliding on a mountain side, there’s a good chance it’s going to turn into a powerful and destructive avalanche. Don’t let your complacency slide, or it could cause the avalanche that destroys your business.

Fighting complacency is hard, and even I’m guilty of it. However, if you expect that it’s going to happen you can recognize it faster and prevent yourself from being complacent for too long. Any time you’re twiddling your thumbs or have your head in your a$$ is time that your competitor has to overtake you or widen the gap.


Expect the desert, but swim in the hidden oasis.
I have no doubt in my mind that you will cross multiple deserts of desertion on your journey to your first million dollars. If you understand and expect that you are going to have to cross huge barren deserts, you can prepare yourself for it and recognize when you are in it. The great thing about deserts is that they often have an oasis. An oasis could be a customer cheering you on, a new contract with a fortune 500 company, or an investment. The people who quit when in the desert of desertion probably didn’t find their oasis in time. These sweet bodies of water will allow you to rehydrate enough so that you can cross the rest of the desert. You may find multiple oases throughout your trek across the desert.

If you know in your gut that your business has potential, and you’ve made sales, do not give up under any circumstance. The desert of desertion kills more business ideas than anything else out there. There were so many times I wanted to quit. Societies EXPECTATION is that you are going to quit and rejoin the rat race. Have different expectations for yourself. Keep one foot in front of the other and press on.


Expect stress, but realize it’s bullshit.
Stress is when a company gives you $20,000 out of the blue and then they email you telling you that they never got their product. Then, when they get the product it doesn’t work. Finally, when you are almost done with a solution for your first customer, another company gives you $15,000 and they are facing the same problems. This was a situation that actually happened to me due to some minor oversight on our backend but was a pain to unravel. I stressed out so much over that two day period where if I were older, I probably would have died from a heart attack. After this traumatic event I realized that stress is nothing but bullshit. It’s nothing more than B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. Want to know why? Because the entire time the customers were understanding and forgiving of our mistakes.

At worst, most problems are only going to persist for a few days or maybe even a week. Eventually you are going to solve the problem, and when you are armed with that knowledge, there’s no reason to stress. I now have the experience to backup my expectations that problems will be solved quickly, thus reducing my stress levels. If you look back on stressful moments in your life, you just may realize that things panned out just fine and the stress was unnecessary.


Expect sacrifices.
Starting and running a successful business is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but don’t let that scare you away. The life that I have is so much more interesting than if I just sat on the couch all day watching the 19th rerun of The Office. You will sacrifice nights out with your friends, some relationships, money in the short term, and lots and lots of time. Knowing that you are going to sacrifice so much is empowering because you can use these painful sacrifices as leverage to propel yourself forward.


Expect rewards.
The plus side of all of these sacrifices is the reward. Financial freedom. Quitting your job. Intense satisfaction in knowing what you’ve created. Breaking free from the chains of debt. Not worrying about whether or not you can afford that cool new toy you’ve had our eye’s on for a while. Building my business brings me great satisfaction at the end of the day and money is no longer an issue.


Go forth and prosper.
Hopefully I've stressed the importance of knowing both what to expect on your journey and keeping your own expectations grounded with reality. There will be things that you cannot foresee or know to expect, but learning to manage your expectations you can get through any rough patch and excel when things are going great.
Well done and thanks for leaving breadcrumbs.

I love the small wins and new firsts. It’s important to celebrate each “level up”.
 

Harsha Vardhan

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Aug 7, 2020
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Managing Expectations While On Your Entrepreneurial Journey

Preface: I'd consider myself relatively successful now that I've built up a company that's generating over $1 million in ARR and I'm finally able to reap my rewards via fat dividends checks. I’m writing this from the perspective of someone who is building an enterprise business instead of a lifestyle business. At the time of writing this, I’m completely debt free, I have 9 employees, and I’m in the process of getting a divorce. If we aren’t doing 8 figures per year in a couple of years, I’d be really surprised. It's taken me 8 years to get to this point since first reading TMF .

Managing your expectations so that you can persist through your journey is EVERYTHING. If you do not properly manage your expectations, I firmly believe that you will not succeed.

Your expectations need to evolve over time as your company grows. Start out aiming for small wins, and as you gain experience running your company you need to expand your definition of success. The ever changing definition of your own success is what will propel you to higher revenue tiers in your business. I think that you have to earn your right to expect more from yourself, otherwise expecting too much from the start is setting yourself up for failure. Managing your expectations is an art in itself.. If you expect too little, you might not get anywhere, and if you expect too much you might disappoint yourself to the point of quitting.


Learn to thrive on little wins.
When you begin your journey to financial freedom, you need to realize that you aren't going to be doing $10k per month right off the bat. The process to get there for me was long and hard. It took a little over 2 years for us to have our first $10k month. If you’re hustling Amazon products, I’d hope that you reach this milestone before I did. If you have the expectation that you will be doing $10k a month after putting in a month or two of work, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. The better expectation to have is that if you just made a dollar, you can make a hundred dollars. Gradually increase your expectations over time as you get little wins. Raise your expectations a little more after each win so that you can reach your next goal.

When I started out, due to the complexity of my business, we had trouble hitting $10k in a single month. What kept me going during the first few years were random $10 sales from a new customer every other day. These little wins were the small bits of validation that I needed to keep pressing on. $10 dollars is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but at this stage in the process, it meant the world to me. If someone is giving you money in exchange for your offering, you’re on the right track. New sale notifications and the dopamine hit associated with them was incredibly addicting.

You may have to rely on these little wins for months or years though, so train yourself to see each new sale as a small echo that you’re onto something. Use these echos as fuel to keep going.

A piece of side advice is to not obsess over your sales notifications/analytics like I did. I burnt up many hours of time refreshing my inbox when I should have been working.


Eventually small sales/wins will lose their charm.
Expect to come to a point where you are no longer getting that big dopamine hit from small sales. Maybe you’ve reached the $25k/m milestone. If you’re selling a $50 widget, then you need 500 sales each month to get to $25k/m, which would come out to roughly 17 notifications a day. After a year of steady sales you’ll have seen over 6,000 sales notifications.. At this point they likely mean nothing to you. I think this loss of interest in small wins is of great detriment to you. Once you stop cheering yourself on for each sale, you may lose sight of the bigger picture and become complacent.

To counteract this, you need to move to a new dopamine hit. What dopamine hit is that? Units per day. The higher your units per day, the more money you make, and the funner the game you’re now playing is on a macro scale. Tracking sales analytics, visualizing units sold with line graphs, and trying to beat your best scores (days) is addicting. Use this game to your advantage. Consistently try to hit higher units sold numbers. You can play this same game with revenue, MRR, ARR, or any other metric that is most exciting to you.


Complacency is your worst enemy.
I don’t have much to say on this other than that if you lower your expectations for yourself and you become complacent, you will f*ck your business up. Once snow starts sliding on a mountain side, there’s a good chance it’s going to turn into a powerful and destructive avalanche. Don’t let your complacency slide, or it could cause the avalanche that destroys your business.

Fighting complacency is hard, and even I’m guilty of it. However, if you expect that it’s going to happen you can recognize it faster and prevent yourself from being complacent for too long. Any time you’re twiddling your thumbs or have your head in your a$$ is time that your competitor has to overtake you or widen the gap.


Expect the desert, but swim in the hidden oasis.
I have no doubt in my mind that you will cross multiple deserts of desertion on your journey to your first million dollars. If you understand and expect that you are going to have to cross huge barren deserts, you can prepare yourself for it and recognize when you are in it. The great thing about deserts is that they often have an oasis. An oasis could be a customer cheering you on, a new contract with a fortune 500 company, or an investment. The people who quit when in the desert of desertion probably didn’t find their oasis in time. These sweet bodies of water will allow you to rehydrate enough so that you can cross the rest of the desert. You may find multiple oases throughout your trek across the desert.

If you know in your gut that your business has potential, and you’ve made sales, do not give up under any circumstance. The desert of desertion kills more business ideas than anything else out there. There were so many times I wanted to quit. Societies EXPECTATION is that you are going to quit and rejoin the rat race. Have different expectations for yourself. Keep one foot in front of the other and press on.


Expect stress, but realize it’s bullshit.
Stress is when a company gives you $20,000 out of the blue and then they email you telling you that they never got their product. Then, when they get the product it doesn’t work. Finally, when you are almost done with a solution for your first customer, another company gives you $15,000 and they are facing the same problems. This was a situation that actually happened to me due to some minor oversight on our backend but was a pain to unravel. I stressed out so much over that two day period where if I were older, I probably would have died from a heart attack. After this traumatic event I realized that stress is nothing but bullshit. It’s nothing more than B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. Want to know why? Because the entire time the customers were understanding and forgiving of our mistakes.

At worst, most problems are only going to persist for a few days or maybe even a week. Eventually you are going to solve the problem, and when you are armed with that knowledge, there’s no reason to stress. I now have the experience to backup my expectations that problems will be solved quickly, thus reducing my stress levels. If you look back on stressful moments in your life, you just may realize that things panned out just fine and the stress was unnecessary.


Expect sacrifices.
Starting and running a successful business is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but don’t let that scare you away. The life that I have is so much more interesting than if I just sat on the couch all day watching the 19th rerun of The Office. You will sacrifice nights out with your friends, some relationships, money in the short term, and lots and lots of time. Knowing that you are going to sacrifice so much is empowering because you can use these painful sacrifices as leverage to propel yourself forward.


Expect rewards.
The plus side of all of these sacrifices is the reward. Financial freedom. Quitting your job. Intense satisfaction in knowing what you’ve created. Breaking free from the chains of debt. Not worrying about whether or not you can afford that cool new toy you’ve had our eye’s on for a while. Building my business brings me great satisfaction at the end of the day and money is no longer an issue.


Go forth and prosper.
Hopefully I've stressed the importance of knowing both what to expect on your journey and keeping your own expectations grounded with reality. There will be things that you cannot foresee or know to expect, but learning to manage your expectations you can get through any rough patch and excel when things are going great.
This is GOLD rather than notable.
 
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MJ DeMarco

I followed the science; all I found was money.
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MetalGear

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  • Today, I wrote down three small wins and I made them all happen
  • The more important lesson is for me to be happy with them
  • It only takes 10 years to become an overnight success after all
 

Vanyka

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Nov 17, 2019
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Managing Expectations While On Your Entrepreneurial Journey

Preface: I'd consider myself relatively successful now that I've built up a company that's generating over $1 million in ARR and I'm finally able to reap my rewards via fat dividends checks. I’m writing this from the perspective of someone who is building an enterprise business instead of a lifestyle business. At the time of writing this, I’m completely debt free, I have 9 employees, and I’m in the process of getting a divorce. If we aren’t doing 8 figures per year in a couple of years, I’d be really surprised. It's taken me 8 years to get to this point since first reading TMF .

Managing your expectations so that you can persist through your journey is EVERYTHING. If you do not properly manage your expectations, I firmly believe that you will not succeed.

Your expectations need to evolve over time as your company grows. Start out aiming for small wins, and as you gain experience running your company you need to expand your definition of success. The ever changing definition of your own success is what will propel you to higher revenue tiers in your business. I think that you have to earn your right to expect more from yourself, otherwise expecting too much from the start is setting yourself up for failure. Managing your expectations is an art in itself.. If you expect too little, you might not get anywhere, and if you expect too much you might disappoint yourself to the point of quitting.


Learn to thrive on little wins.
When you begin your journey to financial freedom, you need to realize that you aren't going to be doing $10k per month right off the bat. The process to get there for me was long and hard. It took a little over 2 years for us to have our first $10k month. If you’re hustling Amazon products, I’d hope that you reach this milestone before I did. If you have the expectation that you will be doing $10k a month after putting in a month or two of work, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. The better expectation to have is that if you just made a dollar, you can make a hundred dollars. Gradually increase your expectations over time as you get little wins. Raise your expectations a little more after each win so that you can reach your next goal.

When I started out, due to the complexity of my business, we had trouble hitting $10k in a single month. What kept me going during the first few years were random $10 sales from a new customer every other day. These little wins were the small bits of validation that I needed to keep pressing on. $10 dollars is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but at this stage in the process, it meant the world to me. If someone is giving you money in exchange for your offering, you’re on the right track. New sale notifications and the dopamine hit associated with them was incredibly addicting.

You may have to rely on these little wins for months or years though, so train yourself to see each new sale as a small echo that you’re onto something. Use these echos as fuel to keep going.

A piece of side advice is to not obsess over your sales notifications/analytics like I did. I burnt up many hours of time refreshing my inbox when I should have been working.


Eventually small sales/wins will lose their charm.
Expect to come to a point where you are no longer getting that big dopamine hit from small sales. Maybe you’ve reached the $25k/m milestone. If you’re selling a $50 widget, then you need 500 sales each month to get to $25k/m, which would come out to roughly 17 notifications a day. After a year of steady sales you’ll have seen over 6,000 sales notifications.. At this point they likely mean nothing to you. I think this loss of interest in small wins is of great detriment to you. Once you stop cheering yourself on for each sale, you may lose sight of the bigger picture and become complacent.

To counteract this, you need to move to a new dopamine hit. What dopamine hit is that? Units per day. The higher your units per day, the more money you make, and the funner the game you’re now playing is on a macro scale. Tracking sales analytics, visualizing units sold with line graphs, and trying to beat your best scores (days) is addicting. Use this game to your advantage. Consistently try to hit higher units sold numbers. You can play this same game with revenue, MRR, ARR, or any other metric that is most exciting to you.


Complacency is your worst enemy.
I don’t have much to say on this other than that if you lower your expectations for yourself and you become complacent, you will f*ck your business up. Once snow starts sliding on a mountain side, there’s a good chance it’s going to turn into a powerful and destructive avalanche. Don’t let your complacency slide, or it could cause the avalanche that destroys your business.

Fighting complacency is hard, and even I’m guilty of it. However, if you expect that it’s going to happen you can recognize it faster and prevent yourself from being complacent for too long. Any time you’re twiddling your thumbs or have your head in your a$$ is time that your competitor has to overtake you or widen the gap.


Expect the desert, but swim in the hidden oasis.
I have no doubt in my mind that you will cross multiple deserts of desertion on your journey to your first million dollars. If you understand and expect that you are going to have to cross huge barren deserts, you can prepare yourself for it and recognize when you are in it. The great thing about deserts is that they often have an oasis. An oasis could be a customer cheering you on, a new contract with a fortune 500 company, or an investment. The people who quit when in the desert of desertion probably didn’t find their oasis in time. These sweet bodies of water will allow you to rehydrate enough so that you can cross the rest of the desert. You may find multiple oases throughout your trek across the desert.

If you know in your gut that your business has potential, and you’ve made sales, do not give up under any circumstance. The desert of desertion kills more business ideas than anything else out there. There were so many times I wanted to quit. Societies EXPECTATION is that you are going to quit and rejoin the rat race. Have different expectations for yourself. Keep one foot in front of the other and press on.


Expect stress, but realize it’s bullshit.
Stress is when a company gives you $20,000 out of the blue and then they email you telling you that they never got their product. Then, when they get the product it doesn’t work. Finally, when you are almost done with a solution for your first customer, another company gives you $15,000 and they are facing the same problems. This was a situation that actually happened to me due to some minor oversight on our backend but was a pain to unravel. I stressed out so much over that two day period where if I were older, I probably would have died from a heart attack. After this traumatic event I realized that stress is nothing but bullshit. It’s nothing more than B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. Want to know why? Because the entire time the customers were understanding and forgiving of our mistakes.

At worst, most problems are only going to persist for a few days or maybe even a week. Eventually you are going to solve the problem, and when you are armed with that knowledge, there’s no reason to stress. I now have the experience to backup my expectations that problems will be solved quickly, thus reducing my stress levels. If you look back on stressful moments in your life, you just may realize that things panned out just fine and the stress was unnecessary.


Expect sacrifices.
Starting and running a successful business is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but don’t let that scare you away. The life that I have is so much more interesting than if I just sat on the couch all day watching the 19th rerun of The Office. You will sacrifice nights out with your friends, some relationships, money in the short term, and lots and lots of time. Knowing that you are going to sacrifice so much is empowering because you can use these painful sacrifices as leverage to propel yourself forward.


Expect rewards.
The plus side of all of these sacrifices is the reward. Financial freedom. Quitting your job. Intense satisfaction in knowing what you’ve created. Breaking free from the chains of debt. Not worrying about whether or not you can afford that cool new toy you’ve had our eye’s on for a while. Building my business brings me great satisfaction at the end of the day and money is no longer an issue.


Go forth and prosper.
Hopefully I've stressed the importance of knowing both what to expect on your journey and keeping your own expectations grounded with reality. There will be things that you cannot foresee or know to expect, but learning to manage your expectations you can get through any rough patch and excel when things are going great.

Man, I love your posts! They are to the point, well structured and, most importantly, don't sugar coat stuff. Thank you!
 

TheLearner

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Mar 17, 2018
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Learn to thrive on little wins.
I really like the post, focusing on little wins definitely resonated with me. It is too easy to have high expectations due to wishful thinking in the beginning, and be disappointed when it doesn't work out how you initially thought it would.
 

Damien Boss

Contributor
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Expect stress, but realize it’s bullshit.
Stress is when a company gives you $20,000 out of the blue and then they email you telling you that they never got their product. Then, when they get the product it doesn’t work. Finally, when you are almost done with a solution for your first customer, another company gives you $15,000 and they are facing the same problems. This was a situation that actually happened to me due to some minor oversight on our backend but was a pain to unravel. I stressed out so much over that two day period where if I were older, I probably would have died from a heart attack. After this traumatic event I realized that stress is nothing but bullshit. It’s nothing more than B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. Want to know why? Because the entire time the customers were understanding and forgiving of our mistakes.

At worst, most problems are only going to persist for a few days or maybe even a week. Eventually you are going to solve the problem, and when you are armed with that knowledge, there’s no reason to stress. I now have the experience to backup my expectations that problems will be solved quickly, thus reducing my stress levels. If you look back on stressful moments in your life, you just may realize that things panned out just fine and the stress was unnecessary.
Man, I've been reading some of your threads, and You Rock it !!!! How can I follow you on this forum? I wish I could follow each of your posts.

Thanks for sharing such posts. Really, I'm in a stressful phase and This helps a lot.
 
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