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Four Non-Business Books That Help My Business

Writing a business plan is the easy part. You add up how much it costs to run your business, then you set targets of how much more you want to make each month. You separate your many income streams and figure out how many units of each thing you need to sell each month.

The math will always math. But the person who executes this plan? That’s the unpredictable factor. This month I’m sharing my go-to books to keep me motivated and build the business of my dreams - on my terms.

"The Gap and The Gain", by Dan Sullivan and Dr Benjamin Hardy

I can count on one hand the number of books I have re-read. I bought this book a year ago and have read it three times. I have studied it. Used the journal prompts multiple times. And I know I will re-read it again and learn new things about it.

The Gap and The Gain refers to how we often measure our success (The Gap) and a better way to measure our success (The Gain). 

Everyone has a goal, especially when it comes to their own business. Maybe your goal is to make six-figures this year. Maybe you’re hitting six-figures for the first time. 

You measure your progress. Every sale gets you closer to this goal. Every new client moves the needle forward in the right direction. But until you hit this goal, it always feels out of reach. There’s a gap between where you are and where you want to be.

If you measure your success by this gap, you will always fall short. Even after you hit the goal and make your first six-figures, the next goal is right around the corner - seven-figures. The more you fixate on the space between where you are and where you want to be, the more you’ll feel like you’re not making any progress at all.

In some cases, this can lead to self-doubt. If you don’t hit the goal, or it’s taking to long to get there, you can trick yourself into thinking you’re failing.

The gap can also cause you to lose sight of the great thing you’re building and sabotage you in other ways.

This is exactly the trap I felt in the first year of business. Working with clients started out slow. At the time I worked full-time at the CBC as a news writer. It was the perfect setup: flexible hours, remote work. I could put in my eight hours in the newsroom, and then use the rest of daylight to pitch clients.

As I started to attract more clients, I started to set goals for myself. If I secured three clients my first year, I knew I had a viable business. I secured three clients within the first six months. By the time I secured my fourth client, I felt confident I could go all-in on this business.

Once I went all-in, my new goal was 10 clients. With 10 clients I had enough work to sustain my livelihood. My first year all-in, I had 10 clients and a growing wait list. So I launched my first group program.

I fell into a pattern of “more more more!” I was always looking at the next tent pole, measuring my success by the number of clients I had on my roster.

And then the momentum slowed. Suddenly, the seemingly endless list of people who wanted to work with me started to thin out. Then stopped entirely. 

What was I doing wrong?

In focusing on hitting number targets instead of focusing on what truly matters: my clients and their stories.

I was measuring my success on the volumes of people who wanted to work with me, and not on the creative work I was doing with existing clients.

The Gap was my target of having a group coaching program with 50 people enrolled. Every month that went by and I didn’t have 50 people enrolled felt like a failure. I was convinced my coaching program was flawed. I thought the marketing was off. Maybe I need a different platform? A stronger sales pitch?

There have been many times I’ve thought about just shutting it down. Why run a group program if only two people are attending?

But then I thought about what would happen to the two people attending if I shut down the program. 

I thought about the growth I get to witness every month. I thought about the new ways they’re showing up and building confidence on multiple media platforms. I thought about what would happen to this momentum if I shut it all down because I was working with two people, not 50.

I started thinking about The Gain.

The Gain is the incredible, rewarding, and inspirational work I do with existing clients. The Gain is hearing from graduates of the program who are still booking regular TV appearances. Not only that, but they have the confidence to persevere in times when TV shows aren’t booking their subject matter. They know to not give up. That trends will change once again in their favor.

I still have a goal of having 50 people in my group coaching program. I have an image of what that looks like, the team I can bring in to serve as many people as possible in that space. But I’m no longer measuring the success and quality of my coaching program based on the people who have yet to enroll.

I’m measuring the success of the program based on who is in it. The growth and transformation I get to witness and guide every week.

I’m measuring success based on how it feels to collaborate and coach in this way. Operating from this point of view, I’m a success whether there’s one person or 100.


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