In today’s episode, Anna looks at the trap of doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.
Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting the same results – and yet that’s what a lot of us are doing in business. And in life! We’re hustling away, busy, busy, busy – but we’re not making the shifts we need to make, in mindset and in behaviour, in order to get where we want to be. Now, if you’re already happy with where you are and you just want to be comfortable and consistent, then those habits that you have are just the ticket. But if you’re looking to level up in your business, to grow, to become a go-to expert and real thought leader in your field… well, that’s going to require you to be and do things differently.
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
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Doing the same thing over again and expecting different results
Hello, hello and welcome back. We’re looking at the mindset it takes to build a successful and a sustainable business. And today I want to talk to you about the very simple, but very powerful idea, which is what got you here won’t get you there.
So let me first tell you a story. So when I started, you may know if you’ve listened to my podcast or been part of my community for a while, you may know that I started my career at Proctor & Gamble. So big multinational company. I came straight out of university. I hadn’t studied business or marketing kind of thing. So it was a very steep learning curve for me. And I started as an assistant brand manager. And the amazing thing at P&G is that they really trust you from day one.
So I was leading the creative team. I was in sort of a design conceptual role. Later on, I did a more commercial operations role. I was managing all these launches, coordinating for the factory, the plant in Germany and the ad agency, creative agency, packaging agency, perfume department, and the fragrance development team and so on, creation team. Right? So I was working on developing fragrances, perfume, and for a particular brand. And I was an assistant brand manager.
Now at the time, the way in which managers or anyone really was rated it was called, or ranked in fact and reviewed every year was that managers would get together. They’d sit and look at our performance, our results, and then they’d give us a rating. Now, one was a top rating, three not so good. And then there was two plus, two, and two minus in between. Most people would get sort of a two, two plus. In my first year … In fact, I wasn’t rated in the first year I think because you’re new, but in my second year, I got to top rating. Hooray, right?
I’d done six launches. I’d been a machine. I literally head down, boom, boom, boom. We’d done a new equity brand pyramid. We’d done a big workshop. We’d redesigned. We’d done sort of the segmentation work with my boss, of course, and Vincenzo, amazing first boss that I had, we’d done all this work in the first year or two. And the way in which you got a top rating as an assistant brand manager, because I’m coming to it now, is by doing, by executing, by managing the project and do, do, do.
So that really suited me. That was sort of very natural for me, being that good girl from school, head down, work hard, produce. However, when you then become a more senior assistant brand manager and ultimately you want to get promoted and you do get promoted to being a brand manager at the time, the execution that had been required to become a top rated ABM assistant brand manager wasn’t what was required to become a brand manager.
The brand manager had the long-term brand in their mind. They were managing more the agency relationship, looking at the overall brand campaign strategy, not just the individual launches. So it required elevating up to a high level, also delegating to the assistant brand manager in your team. So no longer should you be executing everything. You should be managing other people. Even if it’s just one or two ABMs on your team, you should be delegating to them. And you should be, again, strategizing at a higher level than you would have been as an assistant brand manager.
So that required a big shift in mindset. And it’s something I think a lot of us struggle as professionals to do, to move away from just executing, doing, doing, doing, to learn, to delegate, to look at the bigger picture, to trust other people, of course, and really, really important. So that was in the corporate world.
Now in the business entrepreneurial world, the same thing applies. So when I first started out, I was doing everything myself. I was consuming all sorts of content. I was learning via courses and free emails and things from all sorts of different gurus. And I was writing and scheduling all my blog posts myself, of course, emails. I was … Whatever I was doing at the time. And probably it wasn’t that much actually, because there was a lot of admin involved. I was doing everything myself and I wasn’t working. Well, I was working with a peer coach, which was amazing, but it wasn’t with somebody who was ahead of me in the business world. I wasn’t getting any specific guidance or anything.
However, I did amazingly. I got my website up by myself. I literally found out how to … what kind of websites should I have. I got a WordPress site, initially the free one, then upgraded to the self hosted one. I found out which hosting provider to use. I used SiteGround. I signed up to use GetResponse was my email provider. I used ScheduleOnce to schedule my appointments with my clients. So I did a pretty good job working out the systems I needed. I wrote my weekly blog posts and my emails. And I got a few clients. I started to probably at some point a Facebook group and so on. Right?
So from having been in a corporate employment role, actually initially I was sort of consulting, which was a bit of a transition as well, but then setting up my business, I managed to set it up. I registered at Companies House. I registered for VAT right away. I had the website, the business cards, of course, because they’re important. Got the social media up and running, got into that flow. And I got my first few clients.
However, you can imagine that I was spending a lot of time, as I said on scheduling behind the scenes those emails and the blog posts and so on. I didn’t really know I was doing. I was trying a few sort of, oh, I should be doing five video series, or I should be doing this, that, and the other, a webinar I did once and actually I got a client out of it, which is pretty amazing because the first time I did a live webinar and it didn’t go so well with all the tech and so on. So I did have a few isolated successes, I suppose.
However, in order to get more clients, I needed to, and this took some time to learn, first of all, work with a more advanced coach. So somebody who again was further ahead in my business. And I worked with somebody I met at a conference initially, who was a great fit, more personal life coaching to be honest than business, but certainly very helpful. And then ultimately I really took the leap and invested quite a bit of money and working and being part of initially a sort of three month one-to-one coaching relationship. And then joining the group programme, ended up loving too the bigger, more expensive group programme as well, the mastermind.
During that, there was a massive shift for me in the business mindsets that I had. So talking about acting like the CEO of your business rather than this super employee, right?
So thinking of not just assistant brand manager is a brand manager back in my marketing days, but actually up to CEO, because yes, it’s just me and my business, but nonetheless, the CEO needs to have the vision, have the strategic overview and be working on business development and sales and upleveling and so on and not just the executing and the weeds, I guess, as they call it.
So for me, that required showing up, taking it more seriously, taking it as a business, really, look, I’m making money with this. Looking at my financials, upping the frequency of my emails, making them much more focused, and importantly hiring, beginning to hire my first freelancers, outsourcing some work. And the biggest game changer was taking off all that scheduling of blog posts, emails. And then over time, the podcasts. I had all the social media still, Instagram, YouTube, all this stuff going on, and taking that off my plate so I could focus on creating content, filming, building, writing my book, talking to clients, having sales calls, consultation calls, and/or actually delivering the coaching for my clients, creating materials for my programmes, coming up with new programmes to sell and so on.
Massive shift for me. But again, what got me to the point of, hey, I’m running a business, I’m an entrepreneur wasn’t what got me to, oh, I actually have a profitable business, I’m actually making money in this business and this is going to work.
Same thing now. What’s got me to where I am now isn’t going to get me now to the next level of my business, because I’m still doing things that I shouldn’t be doing. And I might be too focused, let’s say, on my social media, which is now up and running and working really well. Now I need to look outwards. And I’ve talked about this many times on my podcast before. I want to really grow my exposure in the media and guest on more podcasts, which I’ve done many of in the past, but perhaps go to bigger podcasts, become a go-to expert from on some TV show or in the press and so on. Right? So that’s the next level for me.
And certainly, I can’t just keep doing more of the same. There’s that saying, isn’t there, that only a fool or the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again to expect different results. And that’s another way of saying what got you here won’t get you there I think.
So my challenge to you is what are the things that you’re doing that have been working, hooray, and that’s why it’s so hard to let go, of course, but that aren’t going to get you to where you want to be? So of course the first thing is, okay, where do I want to be? Am I happy with the perhaps inconsistent stream of clients and income coming in? Or okay, money, it’s sort of, yeah, just about profitable, it’s taking over? Or maybe you’re having to take on still some more corporate, less fun clients for the money, and you want to do more of the fun work, the passion that you have shift in another direction. You want to be getting that consistent income stream. You want to uplevel your income stream. You want to become known for being a go-to expert in your field. You want to get more speaking gigs. You want to get that book out. You want to launch a podcast or whatever. What is it that you’re doing now that you need to take off your plate, and what do you need to do differently?
So just a few examples. And of course it depends on where you are in your business. Perhaps, and again like me, you being … If you’re just starting out, let’s say, you’ve been consuming all sorts of freebies like I did, download all these PDFs and do that free course on this, that, and the other and so on. Great in the beginning, right? So amazing. There’s so much content, there’s so much knowledge out there. But knowledge, unfortunately, isn’t going to make a massive difference. There’s a lot of information out there. What makes a difference is the guidance, the tailored support, the support with implementing those strategies that you’re seeing out there. It’s having a focus on, okay, this is what I’m going to do.
A lot of different strategies can work, but you have to follow them consistently. If I’m doing this patchwork strategy based on all sorts of free content I’m getting from random places, that’s not going to be very efficient. So maybe now is the time if you’ve been doing lots of free stuff, maybe now is the time to go, “Okay, I’m going to invest in working with a coach, joining a paid course or programme, to really support me on my objectives.”
So that’s if you’ve been just doing the free stuff. Now actually, hey, it’s time to step up. And it’s up to you how much you invest in that coach or programme. It usually needs to be a little bit uncomfortable, but of course not selling your children and putting your entire livelihood at risk. There’s always that balance.
Perhaps you’ve been consuming lots of content, and that’s related, right? And you need to now step up and create content. It’s so tempting, and we can all fall into it, whether we’re now listening to Clubhouse every day or we’re watching video after video, we’re listening to podcasts, even in a paid programme, we’re listening, listening. It’s amazing. I’m learning all this stuff. We’re not actually implementing it, right?
So we need to be at some point, almost turning off the noise, follow that one person you’re working with, two people perhaps, but turn off the rest, unsubscribe from emails, stop listening to every guru’s strategy and implement your strategy, at least for three months, six months a year so you get results. Then you can open up again, explore, learn different strategies. Then close up again and focus, right? So from consuming lots of content to creating content.
Maybe you’ve been really internally focused. So maybe again, at the beginning, you focus on your website, tweaking that, your branding and so on, right? Your own social channels. Maybe it’s time to become externally focused. You need to grow your channels. You need to scale. You need to go out and get more speaking engagements, talk on other people’s podcasts. You need to maybe invest in some advertising, Google ads, Facebook ads, whatever that might be. So maybe now you need to go from internal focus to external focus.
Perhaps, and I’m wagering that this is going to be the case for many of you, you need to stop doing all the things yourself and you need to start outsourcing. So even if you start with somebody on Fiverr to do a graphic for you or a freelancer that does a couple of hours a week, just, and there’s lots of different ways in which you can do this, different again, gurus will give you different lists, but the gist of it is what are the things that you absolutely have to do? You as the CEO, you have to be here on camera talking to the person, right? I need to be here. And by the way, if you’re listening on the podcast on the audio app, you should know that I am now recording video. So if you prefer video, you can watch me over on the YouTube channel. But I need you to be here talking to you because I’m building my personal brand. I’m the expert here. I need to be talking to you on the podcast on the video.
I need to be actually delivering the service because I don’t have a team of 10 people, 10 associate coaches who are going to coach you guys. Yet I’m here to work with you. So if you sign up to work with me, you’re going to work with me. I need to create the content and so on.
So that’s what I have to do. There’s also what I love to do. So even if you don’t have to do it, if it’s something you absolutely are amazing at, you love doing it, by all means, keep it. So those are the two columns you need to keep, tasks that you have to do and no one else can do, and tasks that you really love doing and you don’t want to let go, because that’s the core of why you started this business.
However, there are a couple of other columns, which are things that really somebody else could do, somebody else is better at it, faster at it or cheaper at it. If I can earn £200 an hour for consultation or coaching or whatever that might be the rate for you, whether it’s £100, £500, £1000, you can pay somebody £20, £25, £40 an hour to do that thing, especially if they’re going to do it better. So better, cheaper, faster, outsource.
The final column is things that you don’t need to do at all, delete completely. I tend to find the things that you put in your to-do list that you just keep postponing, postponing, they could be a really important thing that you’re a bit scared of, but more often than not they’re not very important and actually it doesn’t matter if they just fall off the list entirely. So be brave and delete and stop doing those things so that you can step up and do other things. And that’s to do with outsourcing to team and so on. The other piece, of course is systems.
So when we’re starting out, I’d mentioned that I already invested in tools like ScheduleOnce and GetResponse and various scheduling tools for social media. By the way, there was a debate if we just say schedule or schedule. I always say schedule, apparently is a bit more American. Apologies, but I like schedule rather than schedule. Sounds strange to me. But there you go. Let me know if you’re schedule or schedule.
But outsourcing to a human being or outsourcing to a system. So it might be when you have a handful of clients, and in fact, I’d recommend that you onboard them manually. You can send them an email. You can welcome them on. You can send them the form to fill in the contract and so on. Very quickly though, once that becomes a repetitive event, you’ll want to create templates. You’ll want to use some kind of automatic process. Or outsource to a person, that’s fine too, but some kind of systems documenting your processes, updating those, onboarding your clients, of course, accounting, all these things, right? So any replicable, repeatable task project process should be then systematised.
So those are just some of the ideas I’m giving you right around what got you here won’t get you there. The biggest sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
So again, let me challenge you as we wrap up today. What are the things … Well, first of all, where do you want to get to, right? If you’re not happy with where you are, or if you’re happy but you’re now ready to uplevel, what is the vision for where you want to get to? And then, okay, how am I going to get there? Do I invest in a different kind of coach uplevel, right? Invest in your first coach perhaps, or programme or course, or whatever it is, or uplevel into it, and I need to now be … What’s the word? Rubbing shoulders with other people at my level who are six figure, seven figure entrepreneurs, whatever, or people who are out there writing books, or people who are out there, location independent, being those nomads and so on, right?
So we need to be hobnobbing with the people who are already out there doing the things we’re doing, and having a high level mastermind or joining other like-minded entrepreneurs is really going to help you working with a coach and so on. Do I need to outsource more? Do I need to get some support from an online business manager who’s going to help you with those processes or just a VA? I say just a VA. That’s incredibly powerful to have a virtual assistant taking lots of the admin off your plate.
So that’s my challenge to you. Where is it you want to get to? If it’s really a leap away from where you are now, not just incremental, not just okay, very gradual over the next few years you want to improve a little bit, but, hey, I want to now, I’m ready, step up, make a massive jump up several steps of the staircase, or rungs of the ladder if there is such a thing, what is it I need to do differently? What do I need to be differently? How do I need to behave? And that’s a really powerful thought to end on as well. How can I act as if that were already the case?
So in my case, a CEO of a business that was making X amount of money and taking hundreds of clients through much more than I’m doing now, would that CEO be sitting here, correcting the transcription of the video subtitles? No. Would they be sitting, tweaking the CSS on the website? No. So as soon as you find yourself doing things that that person that you want to become wouldn’t be doing, do something about it, push it onto someone else, delete it entirely, get help.
And yes, it is going to require investing. It is going to require a little bit of discomfort, leaning in. My coach that I talked about used to always say that you can’t just drive to destination and then put the petrol in, right? You need to put the petrol in first and then you’ll get to destination. So I know it’s hard. I know it’s scary. But we need to step up. We need to act as if. We need to invest before we can expect the results.
So let me know what you think of that. I think it’s … I know it’s a message that a lot of us need to hear. If you’d like to share the episode with someone else who needs to hear this, then please do so. I’m always really happy for you to be sharing with your friends, bringing more people into the One Step Outside community, helping more people reimagine success. And above all, if you’re looking for help to uplevel in your business and in your life, let’s face it, I’d love for you to get in touch and book a call.
So you can book a call with me at onestepoutside.com/call. Onestepoutside.com/call. It’s that easy. And you can tell me a little bit about where you are in your business. And then we can look at is it a one-to-one mentoring that would be helpful? Would you like to join the business incubator or accelerator? I can tell you all about the options for you. But let’s talk about how can we really help you take that big leap up and not just continue sort of plodding away. It can be really frustrating not to see those results. So if you’re ready, get in touch. I’d love to chat with you, onestepoutside.com/call.
Thanks so much for listening. And remember, what got you here won’t get you there. See you next week. Bye for now.
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
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