Today, we’re talking about why a big enough business is the key to designing a life and business you love.

As an entrepreneur who teaches other entrepreneurs how to design a lifestyle business, I have to say that I see a lot of hype. Not a day goes by when my Facebook newsfeed doesn’t include some variation of:

  • “Reach and make millions,”
  • “Don’t let your small business make you small minded,”
  • “How I made seven figures in 10 months and you can to.”

As someone behind the scenes, with my own clients and my business BFFs, my colleagues and peers; I know that what we see on social media and on people’s fancy websites, it is just part of the picture.

We talk all about the end results. You know, those dollar dollar bills. We might get a glimpse into their real lifestyle, which of course, is complete with fancy, lavish vacations and expensive cars.

It’s so easy to believe that bigger is better, that a six, seven or eight figure business equals finally having that freedom that we’re all seeking. But here’s the problem:

When money is the only yardstick of success, it is easy to get caught up in the myth that more money equals more happiness.

In the conversations between myself and my Business BFFs, I have seen a different perspective. For those who are dreaming of a lifestyle business.

Which means a business that’s designed 100% around supporting your desired lifestyle, having the schedule you want, living where you want and being able to pursue all the other things that might give you a beautifully full life.

There seems to be a point where there really is some truth to the saying, “More money, more problems.” As you cross into the territory of six and seven figure businesses, suddenly your business is no longer about just doing what you love.

Your business is no longer about just spending all your time pursuing your passion. When you get into the six and seven figure territory, your focus will shift towards growing a team, customer service demands, scaling your business so that you can reach and make more.

It really makes me wonder: Does bigger actually mean better? Or is big enough, enough?

It reminds me of this parable that I heard such a long time ago of the CEO and the fisherman. I’m just going to tell it to you quickly.

A successful CEO was on vacation and he was at the pier of a small coastal village where a small boat with just one fisherman was docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.

The CEO complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The fisherman proudly replied, “Every morning, I go out on my boat for 30 minutes to fish. I’m the best fisherman in the village.”

The CEO, perplexed, asked the fisherman, “If you’re the best, why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish? What do you do the rest of the day?”

The fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, spend quality time with my wife and every evening we stroll into the village to drink wine and play guitar with our friends. I have a full and happy life.”

The CEO scoffed, “I am a successful CEO and have a talent for spotting business opportunities. I can help you be more successful. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you can buy several boats.

Eventually, you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats with many fisherman. Instead of selling your catch just to your friends, you can scale to sell fish to thousands of people. You can leave this small coastal fishing village and move to the big city where you can oversee your growing empire.”

The fisherman asks, “But how long will this all take?” To which, the CEO replied, “Fifteen to twenty years.”“But then what?” asks the fisherman. The CEO laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you announce an IPO and sell your company’s stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”

“Millions? Then what?” The CEO says, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, spend time with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you can sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”

I first heard a version of this story when I was a crossroads in my own life. I had realized that following the MBA career track really meant putting the next 10, 20, 30 years of my life on hold. Until I was “successful enough” to scale back those 60 or 80 hour workweeks and enjoy, as the fisherman shared, a full and happy life.

What if you want to have a full and happy life that you love right now?

What if you have other things in your life you want to enjoy? What if this is the season of your life that you really want to savor?

What would it look like if we took all of that pressure to be “successful” off and we stopped focusing on the only measure of success to be the bottom line?

I am the fan of the big enough business. The goal of business and lifestyle design, what I do, is to create a business you love that loves you back.

A business that loves you back, it provides for you by helping you to do what you love for those who love what you do. But even more important, a business that loves you back, it creates space for what matters most to you.

Over and over again, I hear from women who start their business to create freedom for themselves and their families. But somewhere on that entrepreneurial journey, they just realize they don’t feel free. They feel trapped.

When they modeled their business on someone else’s version of success, at some point they realize that one size truly does not fit all.

It’s not uncommon for me to do podcast interviews. As you all know, it’s my favorite way to grow my business and to attract new people into my world.

Not long ago, I was interviewed by John Lee Dumas, over at Entrepreneur on Fire.  John truly is a man with a mission. He is up to big things in the world. This is somebody who is hugely ambitious.

One thing I really love about his income reports is not only does he share where his seven figure business is coming from, but he shares how much time he’s investing into his business each and every month. At the time that I reviewed one of his income reports, he was working 219 hours.

His significant other, Kate, she worked 207 hours. If you spread that 400 hours a month over four weeks, that means, together, they were working a combined 100 hours a week. Individually, at least 50.

Those hours aren’t an unusually busy month for them because of a launch or something big they’re working on. The chances are a big launch or something big is going to be even more hours. It was actually less busy than some of their other months. 50 hours a week is their norm.

If you flip through their income reports, you can see that 50 or 60 hours a week is what they have to put in in order to see the return of a seven figure business. That’s a big reality check.

When you get to peek under the hood of that successful business you want to model, suddenly you get a clearer picture of what goes in to creating that measure of success.

You have to know in order to decide if that is a version of success that actually fits you.Click To Tweet

When I talk to entrepreneurs like John, I think what they’ve accomplished is just so inspiring, but it’s not for me. It’s not for me at this season of my life.

I simply don’t have 50 or 60 hours that I’m willing to put into my business at this point and have to give up somewhere else.

My business is big enough. It’s big enough to support my desired lifestyle for myself and my family

Now, we’re not millionaires, but we live a comfortable lifestyle. A comfortable lifestyle that allows us to support our family. Our children have so much fun in school and preschool, soccer, ballet, Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts.

In fact, last year, I started a Girl Scout troop just so I can have more time with my daughter. We get to take three or four family vacations a year to enjoy a week or two playing on the beach or going on an adventure.

The best part to me is that we don’t have to put off those dreams of enjoying our life and our family until some mythical day off in the future.

We have plenty of time and space to enjoy every minute of our life right now. We don’t just live for the weekends or vacations. Each and every day, we’re living in alignment with our values, of our family, health, relationships, creativity and adventure and fun.

Our business is big enough because my husband, Jameson, and I can invest 20 to 25 hours a week into the business and the return is what we need to support this comfortable, beautiful, fulfilling lifestyle that we adore.

Don’t get me wrong. A big enough business doesn’t mean that I’m not always coming up with a million new ideas or that we’re just being lazy. Far from it.

We’re just intentional about growing slowly. We want to make sure that each new idea that we pursue is really in alignment with our definition of success.

Running a big enough business allows you to create sustainable growth.

Instead of finding yourself in emergency mode or constantly putting out fires, you can take your time finding the right people for your team who will help you to design the systems and the structure that you need to consistently deliver an incredible experience to your clients and your community.

Running a big enough business gives you permission to live in your Business Sweet Spot.

That intersection between your passion and your purpose and your perfect-for-you people, where you truly love every moment of the work that you’re doing in the world.

You’re not finding yourself pulled in a million directions, dealing with the stuff that you have to have going on in your business, but it’s honestly not your zone of genius.

Running a big enough business means that, often, you’re going to have to make hard decisions about where you focus your time and energy.

You’re going to have to make “no” one of your favorite responses.

A few years ago, I decided to press pause on one of my most lucrative income streams, private mentorship and consulting, so that I could make more space for growing Sweet Spot Strategy, my online mastermind for women entrepreneurs.

I could have added an extra two to three hours into my workday in order to accomplish that. But I knew that more time working really means less time living.

At that point in my life, it would have been less time with my littlest guy, Mitchel, in the afternoons before the twins got home from school. Or it would have meant giving up that quality time with my husband in the evening.

Those are sacrifices I did not want to make at this stage of my life.

A big enough business doesn’t mean that you’re not ambitious.

It doesn’t meant that growth isn’t something you want for yourself. It just means your prioritizing that alongside the life that you truly want to have.

When my children were a lot younger, my big enough business was smaller. My big enough business didn’t need to be multiple six figures because, for a while, my husband was still working.

We had everything we needed. We had the lifestyle we really wanted.

It seems like each time my children grow a little bit, I grow a little bit. I’m more ready to allow the ambitious side of myself, the one that really wants to make a huge impact in the world, to come out even more without sacrificing the mom I want to show up as.

Now that all of my kids are about to be in school, I’m ready to open myself up and to reach and serve more people.

How big is your big enough business?Click To Tweet

This is such an important question to ask yourself. I think it’s one that you actually need to sit down and spend some time with.

It’s easy to look at what everyone else is telling you that you need to create, you need to hit six figures or seven figures or eight figures, but when you actually sit down and look at how big is your big enough business, what does it look like for you?

When I first started my business, it was a big enough business that was 15 hours a week and that made $2500 a month. That was all I needed. That was all I needed to supplement what my family needed because my husband was also working full time.

As my kids got older, my big enough business grew. I had a vision my husband was excited about. We were going to grow the business to the point where he could leave his job and come be a stay at home dad and help me out a whole lot more.

Suddenly, instead of just supplementing our family’s income, that big enough business had to support the entire family in a comfortable lifestyle. It had to pay for preschool and Boy Scouts.

Those numbers changed a little bit. Suddenly, I went from needing to generate $2500 a month to $5000 a month to I needed to generate $7500 a month. Now, the business had other needs in order to support where I was, so we had to generate five figures and then multiple five figures a month.

The big enough business number can grow.

That’s okay. It can grow over time. It doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice what matters most to you in order to create the success that you truly want.

What matters most to you right now? How big is your big enough business?

ASK YOURSELF:: If you’re not sure, answer these questions to help you really crunch the numbers and figure out what your capacity is.

  • How many hours do you really want to work a week?
  • How big is your big enough business in terms of revenue?
  • What does that need to look like?

Those two numbers will give you so much clarity on the strategies that are going to work the best for you and on what you need to say yes to and what you need to say no to at this point in your business journey.

If you loved this week’s show on a Big Enough Business, I’d love for you to join me for this all NEW Masterclass! 

In this training, I’m revealing the EXACT strategies that not only have I used to design a predictably profitable business {when you’re the sole breadwinner for a family of five, creating your own steady paycheck is a must!}, but have taught to hundreds of entrepreneurs over the past 5+ years for them to help them generate consistent $5, $10, and $15K months in their businesses.

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