The question is: When will I feel like I’ve finally arrived? I feel like I’ve answered this question previously, but I have no idea where I might have talked about it, but I got a feeling I have. I’m going to talk about this from a couple of different vantage points.
I’m going to talk about it first from the big vantage point. You’re now doing millions of dollars, you’re making a big income, you’ve bought a bigger home, you’re able to buy cars, you’re able to do vacations, whatever that thing is that’s your thing. Everybody’s got a different thing. Yes, to some degree, you might feel like, okay, I’ve arrived. Even at that level, you might feel like, okay, I’ve arrived. Maybe this is just my personality type.
Now you’re running this big organization. It’s bigger than the majority. However, you then get to know other individuals running even bigger organizations. Then you start learning more about building a business and what it takes to get to 20 million, 30, 40, 50, a hundred million dollars. I’m talking really big here. You start to realize, man, I’m still playing such a really small game. Man, there’s so much more to learn. There’s so much more that I need to become. There’s so many things that I could be better at. I need these types of people on my team and they’re going to be very expensive. It just never ends. That’s my point.
There’s this level where even if you’ve got the home you wanted, and the cars you wanted, and the vacations you wanted, and you got some money in the bank, and that money is growing, a couple of things happen. One is you keep looking out towards the future, setting your next goal. When that goal is big and you meet very interesting people, you say to yourself, “Yeah, it’s pretty good, but it could be this.” Or, “Yeah, I’ve learned a lot. But, man, I still really don’t know that much.” So, you don’t fully feel like you’ve made it.
In fact, I think if you get to that place, you’re like, “I’ve made it, I’m good,” then you probably should cash out of the game because you’re probably going to get overtaken by someone else. I think that constant feeling of a little bit of dissatisfaction is very healthy if you want to get to somewhere significant.
The reason for telling you that side of the story first is I don’t know that you ever totally feel like you made it. I think you feel like, okay, I can breathe a sigh of relief. I don’t have credit card debt and these other things have been taken care of. I’m pretty good in some areas. But you really, if you focus on business and things like that, you’re like, oh my gosh, there’s so much more to do.
Then there’s the next side of the business, and maybe again it’s just a me thing, so now you’ve built these big things that do huge amounts of money and revenue, and then you’re like, oh my goodness, I’ve built these businesses and now I’ve got to protect them. Then you’re like, I’ve got to keep building bigger, and bigger, and bigger bank accounts, and I need the investments that I have to be liquid so that if anything ever happened to these businesses, I can get the money to make sure these businesses keep growing through downturns and they’re protected and what I’ve built doesn’t get harmed.
Again, none of that may resonate with you, depending on where you’re at in business, but I wanted to start there because that’s reality. I know a lot of individuals that are very successful and I’ve had a lot of conversations. Do you really ever arrive and say, “Oh, I’m done. It’s all good. I’m golden.” No, probably not. Not unless you’re cashing out.
Now, let’s rewind. Now, let’s talk about the smaller example. You’re just getting started in business. Like you’re trying to make payroll, trying to make payroll tax, you can’t offer anybody on your team health insurance, and it’s still going to be years before you could afford that. You’re working a hundred hours a week, 80 hours a week, whatever it is. You’re not showing up for your family. You’re not showing up for your kids. Like everything feels like in your world’s on fire. That absolutely gets better.
The only way it gets better is by bringing people onto the team. I’ve used this analogy more and more. It’s not anything I made up. It’s like you’re wearing a hat. It’s the accounting hat. You’re wearing the marketing hat. You’re wearing the sales hat. You start handing those hats off to other people in your organization to help you. The more of those hats you hand off, the more your work hours come down, not saying they’re going to be great, but they come down, the more your stress level comes down. Then as that starts to happen, that’s one more step towards, okay, I can breathe a sigh of relief.
During that time, you’ve also started to accomplish the … You’ve got maybe a little bit of money in the bank, but you probably don’t have a ton, and so it’s still kind of tight. So, you get a line of credit as a backup. Then you keep your salary down. You don’t go buy a lot of stuff, a big house and fancy cars, and do all that stuff. You start building up some money in your bank account where you feel like, okay, I can always cover payroll. I can cover a downturn. I have a little bit of money to buy the next truck and grow. Then that’s the next sense of relief.
I don’t believe there’s this moment where one day you wake up, you’re like, I’m there. It feels good. I feel like there are lots of moments. There’s the moment where you’re like, I’m not fretting about payroll. Then there’s the moment, like, okay, I could actually take work off today and go to my kid’s baseball game. Or, I could actually take off a Friday. My wife and I could go for a long weekend. Or, I could actually not work Friday night. Or, this Saturday, I could skip work because whatever. That’s another win.
Then the next win is I’ve got Jane on my team in the office. Then I’ve got Jim, who’s my operations manager. Big wins. Now I don’t have to go in every Saturday. I don’t have to be at the shop at 7:00 a.m. or 5:30, or whatever it is for you.
It’s not going to be one thing. It’s going to be lots of little things. They’re going to be somewhat invisible to you, which probably means it would be wise to pay attention to those things and celebrate them because few of us do. I just keep setting the next goal and don’t necessarily celebrate the wins, which I know is a mistake, and you probably do the same. That’s a mistake. But that’s the point. It isn’t going to be a wake up moment like, boom, we’re there. It’s going to be one little thing gets better, and the next thing gets better, and the next thing gets better, and the next thing gets better, and then one day you look back and you’re like, oh my gosh, remember what it was like three years ago? Huh. I’m so glad we’re here.
Then one day, you’re going to be a million dollar, two, five, 10, whatever you desire to grow to, one day you’ll get to those numbers, you’ll look back and say, “Wow. Can’t believe where we came from. Life’s so much better now. But, oh my gosh, there’s so much ahead of us. We got to keep going. We got to keep our foot on the gas.”
Maybe that’s just my perspective, but my belief, there’s never this moment where it’s like, we’re golden. If you ever wake up and you say, “I’m golden. No risk. Everything’s beautiful,” sell your company. Thanks a lot.