Welcome back, visionaries. In my last post, I went over the five stages you need to work through to get your business to seven figures. Today, I’m going to take a deep dive into the first two of those stages: the Dream-Up Stage of business and the Startup Stage of business. I’m going to walk you through these two stages, telling you what you need to focus on and what to avoid, as well as how to get the support that you need to move through those stages as quickly and as easily as possible. Let’s jump right in!
The Dream-Up Stage is where every business owner starts out. In this stage of business, you’re doing exactly what it’s named for: dreaming up your business.
You’ve come up with a brilliant idea. You have something that you’re really passionate about, and you have this vision for supporting people and helping humanity in a certain way. And the Dream-Up Stage is usually the point where you’re starting to dream about the possibility of stepping into a business fueled by your passion and your genius.
This is a super exciting time. It’s really fun to sit in that Dream-Up Stage and think about all the ways that you can begin to step into a bigger version of yourself and begin to give back to humanity in a new and exciting way.
However, this stage of business is also a little terrifying, because you have this brilliant idea, but you haven’t really tested it out. You don’t know if anybody wants it. You’re not exactly sure how to execute it or how to connect with the people that you want to serve so badly. Maybe you’ve never been in business before and you don’t know how to grow a business from the ground up.
There’s a lot of fear in this stage, particularly stemming from the possibility of failure. But actually, the biggest breakdown in the Dream-Up Stage is not a failure to execute; the biggest breakdown in this stage of business is that most people never even get started.
A lot of people have brilliant ideas and thoughts about starting a business. That doesn’t mean they all make it happen. Many of them never actually pull the trigger because they’re too afraid of failing, or they simply don’t know what to do. That’s why this series of posts is so important to me—I want to make sure you have all the tools you need in order to start your journey confidently.
In the Dream-Up Stage, you’re probably making between $0-$50,000, just starting to dip your toes into making money. Maybe you’re making some offers in your local communities and connecting with the people you want to serve.
You’re starting to get a little excited at this point, because it seems like people actually want what you offer, and it’s actually getting a little fun. You’re starting to see that this might be a real possibility for you, and you’re beginning to realize what it could really mean for yourself, for your family, and for your legacy.
You’ve probably never experienced such a potent mix of excitement and terror than you will experience in the Dream-Up Stage. But the only thing you can really do here is start.
That’s the biggest step: just making yourself start. So if you’re in the Dream-Up Stage of business, yes, you’re going to be scared. Yes, it’s going to be terrifying. But it’s also super exciting, and you just have to start putting one foot in front of the other.
The most important thing you can do in the Dream-Up Stage is to zero in on your message and really get clear about who you want to be in the world. You need to decide how you want to position yourself so you can connect with your ideal audience and get your message and marketing crystal-clear.
In the beginning, you don’t yet know how to communicate what you want to create. You’re still figuring it out for yourself, after all. Even when you know marketing and you understand messaging, it can still take a long time to get the style down.
Honestly, you have to be willing exist in a state of limbo for a while, and that can be stressful. It wasn’t easy for me when I had to do it. The dream-up and the Startup Stages are not my favorite stages of business. They take a lot of energy from you as the owner to make any kind of growth happen. They’re absolutely necessary, but do keep in mind that it won’t always be fun. You might not be enjoying yourself, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress. You just need to keep pushing through.
Once you have your messaging somewhat dialed in, you are ready to move into the Startup Stage of business. In the Startup Stage, you’re probably making between $50,000-$250,000 a year, and you’re starting to really rev up the engine of your business. You’re finally figuring out your marketing tactics and how to reach your ideal clients.
Now, you’ve made great progress at this point, but the Startup Stage is still ten times effort, one time return. You still have to get the rocket into the air.
To get a rocket up in the air, it takes 80% fuel to get it up in the air, and then the rest is just a state of coasting. Business is pretty similar that way. The Dream-Up Stage is building the rocket, and the Startup Stage is getting the rocket in the air.
This stage of business is when you’ve started hitting the pavement. You’re really putting yourself out there. You’re trying different styles of marketing, different ways of conveying your message, different referral partners…all kinds of things to build out those connections with the people that you’re looking to connect with.
This stage of business takes some staying power, because a lot of the Startup Stage is about throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what’s going to stick. In this stage, you need to focus on learning what you actually enjoy doing, because I can tell you this: marketing consistency is the most important thing about marketing.
If you want to stay consistent, you actually need to enjoy the marketing that you’re doing. So start thinking about this early: what kind of marketer are you? Are you a writer? If so, blog writing might be the best thing for you. Are you more of a talker? You may prefer to use video, or maybe even podcasting. You want to lean into your natural strengths and take advantage of your unique wiring in order to set yourself up for marketing success.
The other thing about the Startup Stage is that you’re working a lot. You’re wearing all the hats in your business because you’re not quite ready to hire, or maybe you’ll hire a couple of virtual assistants to help out with some pieces of the puzzle, which usually turns you from your own taskmaster to now having to manage a couple people. The leap to management is a big learning curve in this stage of business, and it’s not the only one; there are a lot of things that are probably brand-new for you, things you didn’t realize you were going to have to do as a business owner. This stage of business makes for a big rollercoaster of learning, and it can be really challenging for you to ride that wave.
The best way to get through this is to brace yourself for the ride. Know that in the Startup Stage of business, you are going to have to do a lot of things. It’s going to be really hard work. You’re going to have to put in a lot of time and energy into it, but it’s a temporary process. It’s not forever, I promise.
If you’ve hung out in this space with me for a little bit, you know I’m not into hustling. However, I also know the time and space of building a business where you have to put short-term energy into your business in order to bring it to a lasting state. A lot of people in the Startup Stage of business don’t want to do that much work, but it’s really hard to launch a rocket if you’re not willing to spend the energy to make it happen.
This is why over 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years: because the CEO just can’t hang in there and make it through those early stages.
This is a challenging piece, but if you are able to do this, you’ll really start reaping the benefits in the scale-up stage, which is what comes next. I’ll be talking about that stage of business in my next post!
Each Stage of Business is a Building Block
As I’m guiding you through these stages of business, each stage should create the building blocks you need to move easily into the next stage. And if you work through that stage fully and really embrace where you are at that point in your business journey, you’re going to move so much faster through the stages and achieve that seven-figure goal in no time.
meantime, I’d love to connect with you over on Instagram or in the 7 Figure Freedom Club Facebook group so we can chat about what you got out of this episode!
Are you wondering if you’re ready to take the next step in your business? Curious about whether you’re a good fit for our services? Take the free business assessment quiz to find out! And if you want to learn more, you can visit my website or schedule a call with me today. I can’t wait to hear from you!