Don’t just learn, CREATE. Yes! – Why 6-step proven success formulas don’t work & what to do instead to get your business idea off the ground.
“How to get a constant stream of ideal clients without spending money on ads, or all your time on social media”
If you’re building a business, I’m sure you’ve clicked on the odd ad like that and joined a free masterclass that masterfully described your dilemma: You have an idea, a mission, something you’re passionate about and want to turn into a business. There is so much to learn and do that you’re either stuck in “analysis paralysis” or find yourself working all hours but running in circles, without making enough progress to justify the effort you put in.
Turns out they have THE solution for you … if you just join their programme and follow their “6 Steps To 6 Figures In 6 Weeks Proven Success Formula”.
It’s incredibly tempting …
They promise quick results – our “instant gratification monkey” loves that (Never heard of the instant gratification monkey? You can learn about it, and have a good laugh, in Tim Urban’s TED Talk “Inside the Mind Of a Master Procrastinator“).
They promise guaranteed results – our minds will go far to avoid uncertainty and the unknown. That’s why people keep signing up for those programs. Maybe you have too.
The outline usually looks something like this …
Module 1 – nail your business model
Module 2 – nail your niche
Module 3 – nail your offer (which no doubt involves a “x step proven success formula” because that’s what people buy ..)
Module 4 – nail your funnel
Module 5 – nail your sales calls
Module 6 – order piña colada on the beach
You get started full of enthusiasm. But soon, one of two things happens for most people.
You reach module 3 and realise that without your niche nailed you can’t move forward and you’re nowhere near having your niche figured out so you fall behind and eventually forget about the course without ever finishing it, or …
You diligently go through all the modules, do all the work but at the end you’re x amount of dollars lighter but no further ahead in your business.
That’s when doubt sets in, when you wonder what’s wrong with you, whether you’re good enough, whether you’re even cut out for being an entrepreneur, or whether you should just “get real” and get a job.
The thing is, there is nothing wrong with you. There is something wrong with what those programs promise.
Certainty is an illusion – what’s wrong with promising a proven success formula
To be clear, of course you’ll learn from people who have been where you want to go. I’m not suggesting you reinvent the wheel. Proven success formulas exist – for specific, repeatable processes.
But building a business isn’t just a sequence of specific, repeatable processes.
Building a business is like climbing a summit that hasn’t been climbed before.
- Yes, you can ask people who have climbed other mountains for advice – what gear to buy, where to find the best sherpas.
- Yes, you can hire a team to take you to base camp.
But there is no map for the path from base camp to the summit, and you’re well advised not to blindly trust anyone who promises one.
You’ll have to be prepared to choose a path and walk it, without knowing for sure it’ll take you where you want to go.
You might have to turn back and try again, more than once.
A proven success formula promises to turn the ascent to your summit into a walk in the park. It manipulates your expectations and sets you up for self-doubt and disappointment.
The Tornado process – what’s wrong with proven success formulas
Proven success formulas make a complex process look simple by offering a high-level map that leaves out the details. There is value in that but the bird’s eye view is not enough to help you reach your summit.
Remember the modules?
Business model, niche, offer, funnel, sales.
Each one of them is a world of its own. Each one of them takes time to learn and implement. Each of them is a summit in itself.
Covering a module per week or even per month sets you up for self-doubt and disappointment.
The thing is, if you’ve ever created anything, you know that creation isn’t a linear process.
I’m a software developer, translator and a dressmaker, and I’ve had my own business since 2004. I’ve come to see that the way we create anything is always the same:
- There is an idea, a spark of inspiration, followed by
- A period of exploration where we, seemingly unfocused, collect information and resources
- The design phase is when all the puzzle pieces start to reveal the picture
- Then it’s time to build. Without implementation, an idea is just hot air
- Review (early and often) and adjust
MIT-trained astronautical engineer turned business owner Dr. Amy Simkin talks about that cycle in her book Spiral: A Catalyst for Innovation and Expansion.
In my experience though, even a spiral doesn’t fully describe what you’re in for when you set out to build a business.
To me, it’s more like a TORNADO: yes, it’s cyclical but irregular – sometimes it’s slow, sometimes it stalls, sometimes it’s fast and powerful. It’s not an easy ride but then, you didn’t expect that when you decided to start your business.
What to do instead
Understanding and embracing the natural process of creation gets you what you want way faster than chasing shortcuts.
Climb your business building mountain like a true mountaineer:
Take tiny steps, but without stopping
Trust your own judgment
Work with a loyal, experienced support team
Keep your eye firmly on the summit, but be flexible about the route to the top
Enjoy every part of the journey, not just the view from the summit!