The biggest fear for most farmers? (and for most people in general?)
The thought of giving it your all but still not making the cut terrifies a lot of people.
I guess I’m not like most people in this respect. Because I’m quite open about the fact that I’ve had a few failed businesses over my career. Or, as I like to call them, “learning experiences.” 🙂
That’s because the failures taught me powerful lessons that eventually allowed me to build and sell two million-dollar companies.
Albert Einstein once said, “Genius is making complex ideas simple, not making simple ideas complex.”
When I strip back my million-dollar businesses, I can see three simple elements as the foundation of their success.
I wish I could go back in time and teach these lessons to Dad. They would have had an instrumental effect on his farming business and I know they would have helped him have a better quality of life, too.
But until someone invents a time machine, I’m happy to use these lessons to get YOUR farm on the path to becoming a success.
The best part is you can implement every one of these lessons in your farming business TODAY — no specialised tools or skill sets required. I’m following my mate Albert’s lead and keeping things nice and simple.
Here are the 3 biggest lessons behind my two million-dollar companies:
Lesson 1: If you don’t believe in you, no one else will.
One of the things that helped grow my first million-dollar business was a piece of advice from my business coach.
At that point, things weren’t going well…to say the least. I’d bought a franchise but had no clients. I was $350K in debt. I saw no way out and I was DESPERATE. It was like I had a bad odour about me; no one wanted to work with me.
Something my coach said at this time completely changed my life…
“Until you believe in you, no one else will.”
He was right. I was working hard and putting so much pressure on myself. But because I had that little voice inside telling me I wasn’t good enough, I was never going to succeed.
That was a painful realisation for me.
I would have done anything to help my failing business. So when my coach suggested some mindset tools and strategies, I was skeptical…but hey, I was willing to try.
(If you’re not keen on mindset, bear with me. Because when you hear how it turns out, I think you’ll be willing to try it too…)
I worked very hard on two things:
- Letting go. I had to find acceptance with my current reality of being $350K in debt and stop panicking all the time. I focused more on what I did have and what I was grateful for than what I didn’t have.
- My mindset. I had to trick myself into believing in myself. I had to rewire my brain to believe that I could be successful and that “what I say to myself about myself when I am by myself is what matters most”.
Related: Mindset Determines Everything
I set a timer to go off every hour to notice what I was thinking about. If it was a negative thought, I’d replace it with the vision of what I wanted to see in my life and my business.
Within two months of really working on improving my mindset, I had 20 paying clients in my business. I was actually one of the top billing coaches in the franchise. All in two months!
(And two years later, my business partner and I owned 15 other franchises. We had a team of 20 great people working for us. And we were doing $3.6 million a year.)
I can track ALL the success back to the work I did on myself. It’s amazing what a huge shift came from that one decision to take responsibility and improve my mindset.
Many of the farmers in the Take Control Program are surprised at how powerful the mindset work is to their successes, too. They never knew how important it was until they started seeing tangible results in their businesses…and now they’ll never go without it.
Now I grew up through a number of droughts…and far out it affected my Dad. Dad sadly didn’t have any control over the weather, but he did have control over his mindset, and If only he knew how powerful this was, he just might have been able to get through the drought with a little less stress.
Lesson 2: The more you learn, the more you earn
One of the best things I ever did for my business was so easy, it felt like cheating (but it totally wasn’t!)
I stopped trying to figure out everything for myself and started looking to others who were already doing what I wanted to do.
I found the most successful business owners in my space — the smart ones who were achieving incredible things — and I watched them.
I paid attention to what they were doing and then implemented the tactics that worked in my own business.
I got mentoring from a few of them, too, and also bought courses that they put out. I soaked up as much knowledge as I could from the people who were at a level above me.
…And I saw massive business growth as a result.
Many farmers don’t spend enough time learning from other successful farmers.
Dad didn’t. He was brought up to believe that he had to figure everything out. So he just worked harder when things got tough. This is probably what lead to Dad being forced to sell the farm at a younger age. The stress got to him, and he was over it.
Find someone doing better than you than copy them! At school, we call this cheating, but in business, we call it “market research”. It’s 100% allowed.
Imagine there’s a farmer in your niche that makes over $1m a year in net profit (even in bad years). Wouldn’t you agree that if you interviewed them, they might give you some ideas on how you could do it better?
Learning from others a step ahead of you is one of the most under-utilised strategies out there. You don’t have to do it all yourself! In fact, you shouldn’t.
Smart business owners know that LEARN comes before EARN. So they invest the time and resources to learn the skills that give them the edge.
They never stop learning and are always looking for ways to do things better.
Lesson 3: Clarity is power
I spent many years NOT being clear on what I wanted…and getting terrible results. (Remember those “learning experience” businesses??)
But with my 2 million-dollar companies, I was crystal clear on where I wanted to go and exactly what I needed to do to get there.
Creating and following a strategic business plan is the best way I know to guarantee a successful business.
It’s a practical way to map out the steps to take you from TODAY to your dream. It’s logic-based, which is great for those of us who are analytical thinkers and like everything laid out in black and white.
The process is simple:
- Start by visualising what you want your business to look like 10 years from now. What does that goal look like?
- Now work backwards from that vision. What will you need to achieve in 3 years to stay on track to reach your goal?
- What will you need to achieve in the next 12 months?
- And finally…what do you need to do in the next 90 days to stay the course?
It’s very easy to get tricked or distracted into doing work that won’t move you towards your vision. Your strategic plan keeps you on the bridge of discipline, doing the things that get you to your goals.
Once you have your 90-day plan, all you have to do is implement it. It gives you a clear roadmap to follow — just focus on it daily and execute to reach the finish line.
I get more done in 90 days than many can in 12 months. It’s all thanks to the plan…and does the thinking for you.
Clarity requires thinking, and this is why so few farmers engage in it — because it is hard work. It’s easier to wake up and just dive in.
But once you do it (set the goals, make the plan, learn how to focus on what needs to be done) you’ll have everything you need to succeed.
Bonus tip: Become a business owner
This is a lesson that I learned a few years into my business journey.
When I started out, I was so busy working IN my business (doing all the day-to-day tasks) that I never worked ON my business.
I see so many farmers making the same mistake.
You’ve spent years learning how to be a farmer (maybe even decades) and you have a very specialised set of skills, right?
But I bet none of those farming skills help you run a profitable business.
That’s because running a business is a completely different skill set. You wouldn’t say, “I know how to farm so I know how to perform brain surgery,” would you? It’s the same with business.
I’ve seen many farmers get down on themselves if they don’t achieve the financial success they expected to. They think they’re not working hard enough, they feel like they’re not smart enough or capable enough. But the truth is…you never learned how to be a business owner.
The good news is that business is a skill that can be learned. And once you learn the skill, you can apply it in many different areas, if you want to. (Richard Branson runs 7 $1billion companies, including music and air travel. He’s definitely not an expert musician or pilot…but he’s an expert businessman.)
To generate million-dollar profits, you need to step away from being a farmer and start being a farm business owner. It’s a small distinction but it makes ALL the difference.
Here are a few things that business owners know about that farmers don’t:
- Systemising the business
- Reading financials
- Project management
Once you combine the skill of being a great farmer, with the skill of being a great business owner — look out!
Business doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s best when it’s not.
The most powerful lessons that led to my two million-dollar businesses are also the most simple:
- Believe in yourself, or no one else will
- Learn from others who are doing it better than you
- Get clear on your goals and map out a 90-day plan
But it’s not enough to just think. If you’re serious about growing your farm to seven-figure profits, you have to ACT.
Choose one of the lessons and commit to making it happen. I’ve given you tangible suggestions in this blog post — pick just ONE and run with it this week.
I know if Dad did, he just might be still farming today….
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