Is Big Bad?

Thursday, June 4 (2020) / 6 min read

This email is part of our email series for the June 1-8 (2020) enrollment of SOI & ARM. If this resonates with you, you can find the rest of the series here.

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Let's clear something up that may seem confusing. There's nothing wrong with wanting to build a big business. If you have value to contribute to the world, and want the opportunities and responsibilities that come with growth, knowing how (and when) to scale is important.

But, here's the problem (and it's a BIG one). The priorities and actions to turn a small business into a large business are not the same as the priorities and actions to turn a large business into a larger business.

This misperception is common. It usually sounds like this:

“We spend a million dollars a month on YouTube…”

“We test 10 different subject lines every time we send an email…”

“We hired a conversion rate optimization company to tweak our sales page…”

The list goes on and on.

There's nothing inherently wrong with spending lots of money on YouTube (or elsewhere), testing email subject lines, or improving conversion rates. What matters is context.

The mistake is thinking that what you do once you've become successful (in financial terms) is what you did to become successful in the first place.

They're rarely the same.

Another problem is in the implication. Guru X is successful and s/he does (fill in the blank). Therefore, in order to be successful like Guru X, I need to do the same thing.

That's faulty reasoning.

To get the same results as someone else you don't need to do what they're doing, you need to identify what they have done. That's often far messier than Guru X wants to admit.

The first question to ask is where are they in their business relative to where you are in yours? Here are some inflection points to help answer that question.

Inflection point #1 — earning your first hundred dollars. You're officially in business when you have a paying customer, and this initial milestone is the hardest to overcome.

Inflection point #2 — ‘pay your bills' money. That will be unique to the individual. It's whatever amount of money allows you to pay for your basic lifestyle (shelter, food, clothing, and other expenses for you and your family).

‘Pay your bills money' is a huge accomplishment. Unfortunately, it doesn't often feel that way because earning what you need for your expenses still feels like a struggle.

Inflection point #3 — ‘more than you need' money. Again, this is unique to the individual. Definitions will vary, and what you do with that extra money will reflect your priorities.

At this stage you're fulfilling desires as well as needs. That might be putting money in savings, taking vacations, buying a bigger home, and/or however you define financial abundance.

An interesting observation about these three phases is that the changes are felt deeply and easily. Making that first hundred dollars is a huge win. Quitting your job to do your own thing full-time is a life-altering milestone. Putting money in the bank and/or spending money on experiences or things you want is amazing.

Inflection point #4 — growth (stage 1). This is the point at which the business truly is bigger than you. It's hard to point to a specific dollar amount because that can vary widely. Under a million dollars in revenue (generally), and more than $350,000 (generally).

The numbers don't matter as much as what they mean. You're accumulating resources quickly, the business is larger than just you, and the sources of pressure change.

Instead of focusing solely on your financial needs, you're also paying for a team, paying for attention (to feed your marketing machine), and identifying opportunities to reinvest earnings to sustain or grow the business.

This is when the ‘myth of easy' is strongest…

“Everything would be easy if…(fill in the blank)…”

“Everything would be easy if I had a bigger/better/smarter/faster team…”

“Everything would be easy if I could focus only on what I do best…”

“Everything would be easy if we were making $10 million instead of $1 million…”

Here's the reality — it's never going to be easy.

Business growth means you're consistently upgrading the problems and challenges you have to deal with, not eliminating them. That's the (infinite) game.

Don't try to win it. Focus on enjoying it.

Ryan Holiday said it best, quoting a Haitian proverb in his book The Obstacle is the Way.

“Behind mountains are more mountains.”

No matter what stage of business you're in, there are three activities you need to do well:

  1. Capture awareness and earn attention.
  2. Generate prospects.
  3. Convert prospects into customers.

However, the methods you use will be fundamentally different depending on the business stage you're in. Testing ten subject lines when you have 500 people on your email list doesn't make sense.

Endless A/B tests for your sales page making six sales a week isn't valuable either.

Context matters.

Sphere of Influence and AutoResponder Madness are unique because they're valuable in every stage of business growth. The principles and methods scale up (for businesses generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue) and down (businesses that are just barely getting started).

In practice, the components of a multi-page presell site that leads to a soap opera sequence look similar for one business generating thousands of dollars and another business generating tens of millions of dollars.

That creates several benefits.

First, you can start with SOI and ARM wherever you are in your business, including at the very beginning. That's rare. Most methods have a minimum threshold before they're useful.

Second, SOI and ARM grow with your business.

A MPPS that generates five leads per day initially can later generate thousands of leads per day as your business grows, without reinventing the whole system along the way.

Third, SOI and ARM are designed to work together and that compounds their results and increases the speed at which you can implement. Both are grounded in a shared set of principles — once you learn those principles you can apply them in ways that are unique to your own business.

If you would like to see what Sphere of Influence and AutoResponder Madness can do for your business, wherever you are in your growth cycle, we invite you to enroll before midnight PST on June 8th.

You'll have immediate access to all course content, and you'll get upgrades for life. (ARM4 first this summer, and SOI2 this fall).

— Shawn

Shawn Twing


What inflection point in your business are you experiencing right now?

Just getting started? Full-time covering your expenses? Putting some extra money away? Growing beyond what you can accomplish alone? Reply to this email and tell us your story. (In confidence, for our benefit.)


If you have any questions about Sphere of Influence or AutoResponder Madness, post your questions in the comments or reply to this email.