I've Been Running My Small Business with a Flat Tire and Didn't Know It

I’ve Been Running My Small Business with a Flat Tire and Didn’t Know It

I was sitting in my living room watching a recorded episode of Da Vinci's Demons on STARZ when a phone call disturbed my evening.

Here I was, enjoying a quiet evening at home after a long work day, minding my own business, when I was shocked back to life by an unexpected call from one of my private mastermind members.

small business flat tire

Photo credit: pixelhut / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

When I started building my website in 2012, I had a scrappy, boot-strapping mentality. I wanted to do everything myself and save money at every turn.

It's been almost three years since I first stepped into the online world. During this time I've done quite a bit. I've built several sites, opened and closed a membership site, and created dozens of products.

Throughout this time I've had the “DIY”, or do-it-yourself, mentality. If I couldn't build it, it didn't exist. If I couldn't find a free solution, the problem didn't get solved.

My blog and brand have grown because of my stubbornness. My message of do-it-yourself entrepreneurship has resonated with almost 20,000 people this year. That's not world-changing, but it is humbling.

However, a phone call I had last week opened my eyes to a blind spot I didn't even know I had.

This whole time, at several points along my path, I've chosen to build it alone. I've made the decision to forego fancier paid solutions to focus on what I could do myself.

This mindset, which started as a necessity, soon became my mantra and message. At the start, I wanted my blogging to be a cheap hobby. Then, over time, “build it yourself” became the message I was talking about on podcasts, in blog posts, and with my coaching clients.

The DIY spirit was alive and well in the Wells house.

I've seen this in other areas too.

Instead of going to the store and buying a tablet stand, (so I could watch Netflix while brushing my teeth) I tried to build one out of paperclips and a Command hook. It didn't work.

Instead of spending the money to buy a fancier, high-powered networking box (a switch for you techies) I pieced together a low-tech solution. The networking project actually does work.

Instead of investing in fancy podcasting equipment, I did something else. I researched and found a high-quality, low-cost way to produce a fantastic show. I even went so far as to write a book about how I did it. This project continues to be a fantastic success.

But, as my business has grown, I've learned some things I want to share with you. As my needs have changed, my mindset, to this point, hasn't.

And that's become a problem.

As I mentioned before, I've had a blind spot when it comes to my DIY spirit. I've been thinking,

If I can't build it I don't need it

for so long, I hardly ever think about stepping beyond the message I've been sharing for almost three years.

Last week, on Wednesday night, that all changed. With one phone call, Larry, a member of my private mastermind, shone a big, bright spotlight on my blind spot.

If you're ever in need of a lesson on how to give positive criticism, Larry could teach a clinic. His words of wisdom were like the soothing slap in the face I'd been avoiding (and needing) for years.

I'll paraphrase, but Larry essentially said,

Ellory, your content is great but your landing pages suck.

Of course that's not exactly what he said. He was much kinder. We writers and artists couldn't take such harsh directness.

But, the message I received was that a small part of my business was holding the rest of the business back from its full potential.

Think of it like this…

Imagine your car driving down the road. On this car, you have three regular sized tires and one tiny donut. You know, the one you only use when you have a flat tire and no other option.

As the side of the donut tire says, you can drive along at 45 miles per hour with ease. You may even be able to step it up to 55 if you're bold.

But, with this donut on your car, you'll never be able to get on the 85 mile per hour toll-road. Getting on the racetrack or racing in Daytona would be impossible.

For the past 6-9 months, I've been driving with a donut on my car and I didn't even realize it.

What Larry showed me by shining a light on my blind spot is that I've grown beyond being able to do it all myself. My business needs to put its blinker on, slide into the far left lane, and stomp on the gas pedal.

You may be in the same situation. You may have been drawing on your inner DIY'er a little too much.

Like me, you may need to swap out that donut for a tire that will allow you to achieve the speed you need to see the success you want.

At the risk of throwing in too many metaphors, maybe it's time to throw gas on your fire instead of a spraying it with water.

So, you may be seeing some changes coming to my landing and sales pages, and even my membership site (which you need to be a part of!).

If you're ready to swap out your flat tire for one that'll get you to the fast lane, you're in luck. If you want to throw some jet fuel on your growing fire, you've come to the right place.

For the DIY'er in you, I have a membership site that helps builders and do'ers just like you. You can sign up here.

For the emerging online entrepreneur, its past time you joined a supportive mastermind group. Join us here to surround yourself with like-minded people who won't look at you like you're crazy when you tell them about your goals and dreams.

And if you're serious about finding your blind spots, growing your business, and reaching your potential, you need a coach. Coaches show you what you cannot see yourself, and provide perspective where you need it most. I don't coach everyone, but you can apply here for my one-on-one coaching program.

Don't wait until your business, your blog, or your career is slowing down before you make a change.

Every successful person in history has had a mastermind helping them get there.

The most successful athletes, movie stars, and CEOs have a coach helping them get better.

As I got from my conversation with Larry, sometimes an outside perspective is the just spotlight on a blind spot that we need.

Question: Have you ever had someone point out a blind spot? What was it and how did you react?


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  • Mike Sutton says:

    That’s all part of the evolution, right? Many get defensive in that position. I’m sure I probably have. Once again, thanks for the reminder, Ellory.

  • Steven Tessler says:

    I’ve had many blind spots pointed out to me. One is my website. I didn’t realize what was wrong with it and now I do.

    I took it in stride because I wanted to get it out. Now I can tweek it so I can get result I want!

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