Celebrating Milestones in Business…Even the Embarrassing Ones!
Not all milestones are pretty. Not all of them feel like milestones. In fact, depending on your look at it, some wouldn’t label them milestones at all. (I’ve heard the word “failures” thrown around.)
But I believe in celebrating all milestones in your business. Even the mortifying ones.
So for my 100th episode of the Scale to Seven® podcast, I’m sharing 100 “milestones” that I think many of you can relate to.
We tend to want to put our best foot forward when marketing and selling in our business. Who wants to buy from flawed human beings, anyway?
The answer: everyone!
Why Clients Want to Hear Your Vulnerable Stories Too
Yes, your clients choose you for your expertise, your messaging that meets them where they’re at, and your programs that offer a solution to their problems. But they also choose you for YOU. Because you’ve been through the same challenges they’re going through now. You’ve made the same mistakes they’re making.
So that’s why I’m sharing some of my mistakes and “lows” in today’s episode. Because I’ve learned to feel through the disappointment and embarrassment, and all the other feelings…and then I know how to become stronger because of it.
I want you to see that it’s okay to have lows. It’s ok to make mistakes. I promise you – everyone else is doing it too.
In This Episode You’ll Learn:
- That you’re not alone in your struggles, mistakes, and embarrassing business moments.
- That these “milestones” happen to everyone. That common feeling of humanity can help you get through the next one you hit!
- That you can use your business “lows” to make you a stronger, more effective CEO as you learn from them and build up your business because of them, not in spite of them.
- How to celebrate all milestones in business – even the ones that feel like failure!
Featured on the Show:
- Episode 49: Protecting Your Brand with Joey Vitale
- If you’re ready to stop wasting time on activities that don’t allow you to scale your business, join The Scale to Seven® Mastermind to set yourself up for sustainable scaling.
CLICK TO READ EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Welcome to Scale to Seven®! Your behind-the-scenes look at what it really takes to scale your business to seven figures. I'm your host Kathryn Binkley, business and leadership coach for online entrepreneurs. Here's what I know, building a business that will generate millions requires the mindset, strategy, and action of a future seven-figure CEO, starting now. Ready to Scale to Seven®? Let's go!
Welcome to Episode 100. This is such a fun milestone to celebrate. And that got me thinking about all of the milestones that aren't so fun to celebrate, you know, all the things that happen in business that no one talks about, but everyone deals with. My clients come to me all the time with situations that they use as evidence that they won't be successful that they take no one else is dealing with. But then they let out this huge sigh of relief. As soon as I tell them, this is all normal, it doesn't mean anything about what's possible for you. And I've dealt with all of it too. In reality, these situations are far more common than they realize. And they're a necessary part of learning how to run in skill, and business. So for this episode, I decided to share 100 milestones from my own entrepreneurial journey. So far, these aren't the typical milestones that we celebrate. In fact, a lot of them are things that no one wants to talk about. They're the kinds of things that most people hide. In fact, there's a lot of things that I've never talked about or shared before. But I believe that these are just as much a sign of progress, and they deserve to be celebrated. Now, fair warning, many of these are more of I can't believe that I'm going to share some of them. But when similar things happen to you, I don't want you to believe that you're the only one or that it's the end of the world. Instead, maybe you'll do it I do when these things happen now. I feel all the feelings. But then I get to the point where I'm able to laugh a little. And I just tell myself, well, I guess I've made it. If this is happening, then I've made it to the big leagues. And then the second and third time these types of things happen, I'm able to laugh them off right away, I build up my resilience, I've proven that I can handle just about anything. And let me tell you, that couldn't be more true. Now things happen. That early in my business may have taken me days, weeks to get over, sometimes months. And now I just laugh it off and move on. So, here we go. These are some of my most mortifying milestones that I can remember, over all of the years of growing my business so far. Some of them I may go through quickly. And some of them I'm sure I won't be able to stop myself from explaining and telling a little story. So let's dive right in. Because there are 100 of these 100. Okay.
- I booked 17 sales calls, and only got one yes. This was very early in my business. I was so excited about booking in all 17 sales calls. But then I only got one yes. There was a lot that I learned from that. Trust me.
- Sales call no shows. I remember my very ﬁrst no show, and everything that I made that mean about me. None of it was true. Now, if someone doesn't show up, I just move on. And actually look at how I can spend that time doing something else.
- Hosting a sales call and not even making an offer. Y'all. I used to hop on a sales call with someone and talk to them and get so nervous that I wouldn't even give them the opportunity to work with me. I would let them know if they had any questions. Feel free to reach out any time that I wouldn't even talk about my offer. Obviously, I had to get over that.
- I got my ﬁrst yes to a 5k coaching package. Now, I remember when this happened, I got up out of my desk chair, ran out of my ofﬁce into the living room, screaming at the top of my lungs and celebration. And then they ghosted me. They never paid, even though they said yes. And that they were ready to get started. They never paid, they never responded. And it turned into a no. I was so excited. And then immediately, all of that excitement was shattered. When over the next several days, and even weeks, I never heard back.
- I promoted a webinar and had zero registrations, not a single person sign up. I want you to know that things like this are normal.
- One of my very ﬁrst coaches copied my content. I sent her my strategic plan, the way that I think about mapping out a plan to grow and scale a business. And then she turned that into a template inside of the program that I had access to. Are you kidding me? That is not okay. Now, at the time, I didn't just let it go completely. But I also didn't handle it as well as I would today. I did ask her to give me credit. But I didn't ask her to remove it. That's sketchy. That's not what coaches are supposed to do. Speak up when things like that happen. You'd be surprised how often they happen.
- I received a cease and desist. The very ﬁrst time that I received something, I was on an airplane was doing a little work. Because it was for a business trip. And I had internet on the ﬁght. I received an email letting me know and couldn't do anything about it. Because I was 30,000 feet up in the air. It was bleeding into a weekend. So literally couldn't do anything until Monday. And that weekend, I had the hardest time sleeping, and didn't know what it meant. If I was gonna have to completely rebrand. And what's crazy is, I had no idea that was only the ﬁrst of many to come. And now I know how to handle that. I'm more educated on what it means when I see receive some kind of a cease and desist around, let's say a trademark for example. I even recorded an entire episode with my trademark attorney. So go look for that. We'll link that up in the show notes for you. And then no, this is a normal part of business. Now I receive things like this and I just forward it to my attorney. And it's handled without any drama.
- The ﬁrst time I had to let the team member go.
- The ﬁrst time a team member quit. Man, though set me back for days.
- An email sent out with [Name] instead of their actual name. I know I'm not the only one.
- An email sent out with the wrong link.
- An email sent out with a subject line from the last email because we just duplicated the prior one before reformatting and forgot to change the subject line. All of those very simple mistakes, but man I made them mean so many things about what people think about me whether they want to work with me, when in fact I bet most people didn't even notice.
- My spouse doubting that my business was even working. Let me tell you, he changed his tune now.
- The ﬁrst DM that I got from a man telling me how beautiful I was. I think they're all spam. But now I just think to myself, Okay, great thanks. And then move on.
- On Instagram, someone's pretending to be me by recreating a proﬁle, using my content, my photos, and then sending DMs to my followers. That very ﬁrst time. I was super frustrated. I didn't know how to get them removed. I had to ﬁgure that out. It's happened since then, and now it's just a simple process. Now I know exactly what to do.
- The ﬁrst time a client cancelled.
- Client asking for a refund on a $67 offer.
- Clients not renewing, even when they had amazing results, even when they were one of my favorites.
- Social posts going out with typos.
- A guest not showing up on time for a podcast interview. And after waiting several minutes, I sent a message offering to reschedule. They were so upset that I rescheduled but they were late. Anyway, things like this are going to happen.
- Clients sharing my content with their clients without permission, literally copying and pasting and sharing a resource.
- Clients enrolling and not taking action or using the support they paid for. I used to make this mean so much about me before I realized that this is just normal. So many people are going to pay you and think that just that payment is enough to transform them and to get results. But then they don't show up and do the work.
- A team member boasting, I had a podcast editor a long time ago, not my current one. My podcast editing team now is amazing. But I had one in the past, who just disappeared, never replied to a message again. Didn't do their work, disappeared. It's unfortunate, but it happens.
- Clients scope creep, clients just asking for more above and beyond what's in the contract, which sometimes we do choose to over deliver. But sometimes it gets out of hand. And it's something that you have to learn to deal with. Because you're not obligated to do things beyond the contract.
- A team member deciding to quote unquote, help with social engagement by going and commenting on other people's posts, and commenting on a bunch of my competitors content. Now I don't have a lot of thoughts about competition. And I think that there's more than enough clients to go around for all this. But I certainly don't want to go comment on all of their posts and make it look like I'm trying to get their clients, right. So that was a quick ﬁx deleting a few things. But man, an embarrassing moment, team members are going to do things like that. And it was all out of good intention of trying to help.
- Voxing a client accidentally, with a toilet ﬂush, an audible toilet ﬂush in the background. It was an accident, I wasn't talking to them, just accidentally hit the button and caught the toilet ﬂush in the background. There are going to be some embarrassing things that happened y'all.
- I booked in a guest coach for a group program on a speciﬁc topic that they said that they were an expert in. But then when it came time for them to actually show up and do the training, she completely pivoted her business. And now she's an expert in something else, something else entirely. That was interesting.
- The ﬁrst time I ever had to have a performance correction meeting with a team member. Not fun, the awkwardness of trying to give that feedback and ﬁrmly tell them the consequences if performance doesn't improve. That's not an easy moment, but it's deﬁnitely a necessary one.
- Sharing ideas with appear multiple times and then they just would decide to do the exact same thing.
- My ﬁrst email unsubscribes, I remember going in to look at all of the unsubscribes before like really evaluating who is unsubscribing. Again, so many of these I just made them mean things about me that weren't even true. Now I get unsubscribes and I'm like yes, I'm ﬁltering people out who don't want to be here.
- The ﬁrst time someone ever reported my email is spam, even though they had signed up.
- My Facebook ad campaign bombed, not all of them just one particular the ﬁrst time something bombed and I felt like I just completely wasted money.
- Facebook ads rejected spent all this time creating all the perfect ads and then they were all just rejected.
- I owed the IRS $25,000 for a tax payment. Luckily, I had been saving up and I had that cash ﬂow in my business. But I certainly, I don't think I ever thought that I'd have a tax payment that large. Now I gladly pay my taxes. That time was a little difﬁcult to write that check.
- The coding error on my website that took down the entire site, I was messing around where I shouldn't have been. Crashed the entire thing. The thing that I had a backup, was able to restore it all.
- Just looking back at some of my old content, and cringing. So things that I said before that I wouldn't say now. The graphics, the videos, how uncomfortable I was. So much has changed in a good way.
- I was accused of copying someone else's program to later apologized. But I had a lot of drama around that. Because I didn't copy her program, by the way.
- No engagement on content, posting things and getting no response. I used to think that that meant something. It doesn't. It means nothing. People are still watching.
- Saying yes on a sales call. When I really wanted to say no. And then having to follow through on that payment afterwards. Because one thing I do is if I say yes, then I follow through I commit but man, I think I really wanted to say no, she was a great salesperson. But I didn't feel great about it afterwards. But like I said I honored my commitment because I did say yes. But that was a great lesson to learn. And to know to really only say yes when I really mean, yes.
- When I've had my trademark rights infringed on, and I had to send an email to a very well known coach who was using my trademark unknowingly, she didn't do it on purpose. But man, that was a tough moment to send an email to someone that you really respect. But it was a good one to protect my rights on my trademark.
- The ﬁrst time I had a client payment fail.
- How embarrassed I was when my payment failed for a coach a long time ago.
- DMS from people representing a PR ﬁrm wanting me to pay to be included in an article. Have you gotten those? Just a milestone, some milestone showing that you're getting visible, you're making progress, you're gonna start receiving things like this.
- Social content copied almost exactly same words, same graphic, different colors.
- Being asked a very controversial question on a podcast. I think I rocked it though. But it was uncomfortable.
- Not paying myself. There were deﬁnitely months where I didn't pay myself early in my business.
- Maxing out a credit card. Yep, totally invested in things on a credit card, maxed it out to invest in my business. And I wouldn't change anything about it. I don't think it was bad at the moment. I remember all of the thoughts that I had about having that debt. But I'm so glad that I did. I wouldn't be where I am now without doing that.
- Enrolling clients who are not a great ﬁt.
- My husband sitting across the room during a client call and letting out a fart. Y'all. If you haven't had a family member doing something like that during a call. Have you really made it in business yet. Trust me, it hasn't happened. It will. So embarrassing. And at the same time, it happens between kids husband, spouse partner, things will happen.
- Pushing a launch back not feeling conﬁdent not feeling like things were working and just pushing the whole thing back.
- Hiring family members and it not working out.
- Hiring too quickly out of desperation.
- Over investing and over consuming, investing in all the programs and courses and everything and just spending so much time consuming and learning versus actually taking action.
- Browsing job listings, there are days, when I look back over the course of my business where my mind let me wander to that place of, maybe I should just go get a job that would be easier to totally browse job listings.
- Letting go of my entire team and clients to go in a different direction and then changing my mind a few months later, and starting over.
- Weeks clients make more money than you. I used to think something was strange about that I used to feel a certain way about it. Now I'm so freaking excited for my clients, I love that they make more money than me.
- Thinking that I don't have a good enough personality. I used to make this, the reason that I wasn't achieving my goals, I used to take it personally, I used to think like something inherently wrong with me. But it's not. And some of my clients tell me, they love my personality, and that's why they want to work with me. So keep that in mind.
- Setting unrealistic goals or goals that are way too small, I've done both.
- Quitting mid launch, I learned the hard way, what that's like, and why you got to keep going. But I've done all the things, all the mistakes that I tell you all about. I've made them I've learned through experience.
- Spending 30 minutes, get the courage up just to go live. And then running out of time and postponing to the next day.
- Getting so busy serving my clients that I stopped marketing.
- Ignoring ﬁnancials, and catching up on all of my ﬁnancials, for the whole year. At one time, when it was time to do my taxes. I don't do that anymore, by the way. But if that's still you, because it's many of you, you got a switch that is so stressful when you do that. And there's so much that you don't know throughout the year to help you make decisions. So don't do that anymore. I deﬁnitely keep things updated. Now we actually update our books every single week, which nothing you have to do that at least monthly would be ideal. But we do them every single week.
- Investing in things I just didn't need yet. Like investing in things that I knew I would need in the future at some point. But then, like out of FOMO almost going ahead to invest even though it wasn't ready for it yet. Focused on right time investments.
- Over planning to avoid actual action. I love to plan and I can plan my way right out of having to take action.
- Pivoting, I've done that over and over and over again.
- Undercharging, I have deﬁnitely way under charge. Now I don't think it's a problem to like under charge in a way that makes your offer irresistible. But there's a difference. There's a difference and way undercharging and then just making the offer irresistible. I was way undercharging.
- Accidentally booking an event on days that the kids were out of school and having to try to manage all of that.
- Kids interrupting client calls and Voxer messages it happens a lot.
- Breaking my arm across the country on a work trip. I had an accident. So long story. But having to ﬂy back with a broken arm by myself was not fun.Much less all the time after for recovery.
- Buying business cards that are rarely even used that y'all have three different boxes of business cards, you think I would have learned the ﬁrst time but remember all those pivots I mentioned when I would pivot I would just order a new box of cards with the updated title or logo or whatever. I've had at least three boxes of cards that I'd never needed.
- Promoting a program and selling no spots.
- Selling a program and selling only one spot. I'll tell you if you think that selling no spots is the worst that can happen. I think selling one spot was harder for me. Because then you still have to follow through for that one person now. They think it's amazing. They get all the attention in the world.
- The ﬁrst troll comment on a post
- My mom commenting on my posts. It's okay to block. Your mom, y'all. It's totally okay.
- Bartering services.
- Joining a program based on who else joined to have access to them to be in that community. And then they didn't even show up to the program. Don't join because someone else joins.
- Getting locked out of social media because of too much activity.
- Having a post removed due to breaking group rules. You ever done that?
- Not charging friends or family the same rates and then regretting it later because they're actually more work.
- Husband walking behind the camera. In his boxers on a team call. He didn't realize it. He thought that they couldn't see him but they could.
- Building out an entire course before validating the offer.
- Not being able to ﬁnd ﬁles due to being disorganized just having things all over the place. This is before I had a team as soon as I created a team, I cleaned that up.
- Creating content but not money. I remember spending hours upon hours blogging and just creating content, but not actually focused on selling.
- Fumbling over introducing myself.
- Being pitched unsolicited weight loss help. Y'all that happens all the time. I don't think you should pitch anything unsolicited in direct messages if people haven't asked for it.
- A coach telling me to use my weight loss journey as content when I wasn't on a weight loss journey. Let's not assume that everyone is trying to lose weight.
- My dog destroyed a room while I was on a one hour call was literally on a coaching call for a single hour. And the guest bedroom was a mess like ripped the curtains off of the wall. The bed completely shifted diagonally, like moved the furniture ripped the bedding. Decorations just torn up destroyed it was a mess.
- Trying to explain what I do to family and friends.
- Crying on a group coaching call or a one on one call. I cry all the time. I tell my clients, it's totally ﬁne. It's normal. It's okay to cry. And I do it to.
- Multiple multiple takes on a video.
- Messing up my words over and over again during a podcast recording. But I have an amazing editing team they have to be just so patient because I make mistakes. And I'm like hey guys, will you please ﬁx that? And they do.
- Getting brand photos back and hating them.
- A photographer losing half of my brand photos.
- The doorbell ringing during a live event.
- Bubble gum stuck in my daughter's hair ﬁve minutes before a call.
- Work mullet you know that means right and nice top and then either pajama pants or no pants on the bottom.
- Not wearing a bra on Zoom because no one can tell. So why would I.
- Facing an audit from the IRS. Everything went well. That was stressful.
- Okay, this one's embarrassing, explosive diarrhea during my ﬁrst ever virtual event, right in the middle of a training session. Y'all. This was one of the most embarrassing things ever, literally right in the middle of teaching. I felt my stomach starting to rumble if you will. And so I quickly gave them an exercise that they could work on individually for a few minutes muted. Turned off video hopped up, and needless to say it was, it was a mess. I was just leave it at that it was a mess. Such a mess that it required a shower before I got back on video. They had no idea they were just busy doing the assignment that I've given them. It was crazy. Anyway, thank goodness it was virtual. Thank goodness I could mute and turn off my camera and then get right back to it. So something crazy like that happens to you. You're not the only one.
- Vulnerability hangover. I've had many, many, many vulnerability hangovers over the course of business, when this episode releases, will probably be another one, when that holds the things that I've shared. But again, I just want you to see that these things happen.
These are 100 things that I consider to be milestones. In my journey to growing my business, not the kinds of milestones that people typically share. But milestones, nevertheless, they are normal things that I believe business owners have to experience on their way to scaling a business. These are the kinds of things that you have to learn how to handle. And maybe it's not all of the exact same things. But when similar things happen to you, I want you to remember that it's normal. I want you to remember, that is part of business, and that there are lessons that you need to learn from all of these things that are going to help you to scale past a million. You'll survive them, and maybe even one day, be able to laugh about them and say that you've made it to. If you have some mortifying milestone of your own. I'd love to hear them. I'd love to hear that I'm not alone. I'd love to hear some of your stories of things that have happened to you that weren't on my list. So find me over on Instagram, and send me a DM. And then remember, to celebrate all of the milestones, not just the fun ones, not just the great ones. But all the ones where you're learning lessons. They're going to help you create success long term. This is part of the journey. You've heard me talk about the fact that life is 50/50 good and bad. So celebrate all the amazing things. Celebrate all of the lessons learned too. Thanks for joining me and listening in and helping me celebrate my 100th podcast episode and 100 mortifying milestones. See you next week.
Hey, if you like what you're learning on the podcast, you have to check out The Scalability Factor™. It's my coaching program where I teach you how to create and sell a scalable offer so you can earn more while working less. Just head over to kathrynbinkley.com/scalability and I'll see you inside.
- Glean from our library of CEO resources at kathrynbinkley.com
- Share some of your embarrassing milestones with Kathryn on Instagram! I’d love to hear them.
- Take the 7 Figure Scalability quiz to find out if your business is set up correctly to scale from 6 to 7 figures!
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