Momentum Podcast: 541

The Million-Dollar Myth

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

I’ve been working with entrepreneurs for over two decades. Something I can tell you after working with them for that amount of time is when you get a million dollars in your business, things get exponentially harder. Because when entrepreneurs hit a million dollars, it feels like they are working double overtime. You have a limited amount of time, money, focus, energy, and effort. There are limitations with your resources, and you have to choose where to focus them. 

If you don’t get ahead of the game and do things the right way, you will put in a lot of effort with little return. To avoid that, you need a system for allocating resources the right way. Because when you hit a million, it’s hard to build the infrastructure of your company. Even though few entrepreneurs acknowledge it, people, processes, and projects are how you build the foundation of your company at a million dollars. But that’s not all, tune in to hear the three things every business owner needs to keep growing successfully…

If you’ve hit the million-dollar mark, I’m excited and proud of you. Getting to this level is something only 3% of businesses do. If you’re ready to get past the million-dollar mark, reach out to us at 

Full Audio Transcript

Right now, there are entrepreneurs all around the world working like crazy towards the goal of having a seven figure business, hitting the two comma club finally hitting the million dollars because everything in their lives will be easier and better and everything will change. Well, I have news for you. When you hit a million dollars everything does change, but it never gets easier. It usually gets way harder and that is why I want to talk about the million dollar myth in business.

I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.

Sure, we pay attention to their rules but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it, we don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few, who are willing to hallucinate. There could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real.

We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be. I've been working with entrepreneurs for over two decades, actually more of my life working with entrepreneurs that not, that just gives you an idea how old I am at 46. And something I can tell you definitively after having worked with entrepreneurs for that period of time is that when you hit a million dollars in your business, not only do things rarely get any easier, most of the time it gets exponentially harder.

You know these days you can hit a million dollars in a business faster than I believe you ever could in the history of business. There are platforms and programs out there that do for entrepreneurs today for hundreds of dollars a month, sometimes under a hundred dollars a month. What it used to cost Katie and I, six and seven figures to get done in our business. Sales letters and landing pages and delivery systems and learning management systems are all over the place. There's products like ClickFunnels that have completely changed the entire marketing world, and to give you perspective it probably costs us a few hundred thousand dollars a year of our one point $4 million IT budget we had only 10 years ago to get all of our funnels and landing pages hard-coded and created.

Today, ClickFunnels does that for a few hundred dollars a month or less, I think a lot less than that. I think we pay a few hundred dollars a month because we're on their biggest program. If you're just starting out, I think it's under a hundred dollars a month. And so it's gotten so much easier to start a business, build a business and get to a million dollars. But here's what I want you to know, when you get there, here's what often happens. This is what we see all the time.

When entrepreneurs hit a million dollars, one, their time is they, you know, most entrepreneurs feel like they were working like crazy starting their business and they're working full time when they're on their way to a million and then they start working overtime, and then you get to this million dollar number and it's like you're working double overtime. You've never worked so hard in your life because see, at a million dollars you've increased the exposure of your business 10 times more than when you were at 100,000, but you rarely have 10 times the support.

What you normally have is a little bit of help, you have a couple people, maybe in the business, you have some people that are supporting you, but it's so hard to get everything done in a million dollars because you have been doing everything yourself and transitioning out of you. Spending all of your time in the business is really hard. So what we see a lot of million dollar business owners doing, they feel buried, they feel trapped, they feel like every day there's too much for them to do and not enough time to get it done. So time is a huge issue at a million dollars.

Second is resources, when you think about a million dollar company, it sounds like you would just have resources all over the place if you don't have perspective but you never been there. The reality of a million dollar company is rarely do you have anywhere close to the resources you need. You have a limited amount of money that you can invest, you have a very limited amount of time, but then you also have a limited amount of focus as an entrepreneur. You have a limited amount of energy you can put out there, you have a limited amount of effort you can apply to your business.

So there's limitations for you as an entrepreneur across the board in your resources, and you have to consistently choose where to focus, where to put your time, where to put your money so that you get the biggest return as a company, or you'll stall out and you'll have a hard time as an organization or you'll put in a lot of effort without very much of a return, which none of us want to do that. And so as a million dollar entrepreneur, resources are tight and you have to have a system for allocating them in the right way. And then here's a big thing at a million dollars is so difficult. When you hit a million dollars, it becomes so hard to build the infrastructure of your company, you have to look at three different things. And if you're listening to this and you're around a million dollars, you might want to write these three things down because they will give you buckets that you can look at in your business.

The first thing is processes, at a million dollars, your company is not documented like it needs to be. You don't have documentation for everything you're doing, you probably have documentation for crucial items and some million dollar companies have no documentation. What you have to decide on a monthly basis and on a weekly basis is which processes will you document and memorialize and turn into documentation? Because a business is a collection of processes and once those processes are documented, you start building a real business.

Second, on a monthly basis, you have to decide what projects you're going to achieve with your team quarterly or monthly, you need to start setting these up and saying, "What are we actually going to do? What projects are we going to accomplish? What projects are going to move us forward as an organization?" And the challenge as a business owner is if you execute a project perfectly, but it's at the right time in the growth cycle of your business and it wasn't what the company needed at that point you can crush a project, turn around and see no results.

So if you're in a company where you guys had done some projects, you've made some things happen and you're not seeing the growth, you're not seeing the results, it's probably because you weren't working on the right project at the right time. And so there's process, then there's project and then the third one, this is big is people. You have start asking yourself, "Do I have the right people in the right place? Are their job descriptions documented? Do they know what they're doing? Do they understand their accountability?" At a million dollars, those three things, people, process and projects are how you literally build the infrastructure of your company.

And so few entrepreneurs take a moment to look at those three things. And so few entrepreneurs even acknowledging a million dollars how little time they really have, how little resources they really have? When you look at the five currencies that we use, the cash, time, effort, energy and focus, they are all limited and they're are all expiring on a daily basis. So how do you overcome this as a million dollar business?

Well, this is what we do, this is what we help companies do. And we believe that if your company has three things that most companies don't, you will grow like crazy. Let me share them with you. First, it's a roadmap. We call it a strategic plan. What does that roadmap, that plan, that clearly documented destination that everyone on your team understands? And in order for a roadmap to be real, in order for a strategic plan to be real, it needs to be documented, written down. It needs to be renewed on a periodic basis, like monthly, sometimes quarterly, we would suggest monthly. Renewing your plan on a quarterly basis just isn't often enough for an entrepreneur, you can't change enough.

And if you're going to have that roadmap, that plan, it needs to be distributed to your team so that everybody understands what's going on. That makes it real. And you renewed periodically distributed to the team, everybody understands it, here's what happens when you do that. When your team has that roadmap, when your team has that strategic plan, you are no longer the biggest bottleneck but until then you have to understand you are by like the rule of law, you are going to be the biggest bottleneck, it's like physics, it's like gravity. Here's why.

You are the entrepreneur that understands where the business is going. You know what's coming next. You have the answers. So if you don't have a strategic plan, your team is going to have to come to you for all of those answers. Once you have a strategic plan in place, you've actually proactively told the team where they're going in advance, that roadmap will help you stop being the biggest bottleneck, it will cut down on interruptions and got a minutes and questions and it will help you actually run the business, rise above and stop working in the business and start working on the business.

When I say that I get like a little body reaction because when I was younger every time a consultant or a coach or a speaker would be like, "Well it's easy. All you have to do is stop working on the business and start working in the business and start working on the business." I always wanted to say like, "How the heck do you do...?" I didn't want to say heck just now, but I did. "How the heck do you do that?" And I wanted to yell at him because like that's a great platitude but how does that actually happen?

Well, the way that it actually happens is you put together a roadmap where your team can follow it and you rise above that roadmap and you can work on the business. Second, what you need in order to be able to get past that million dollar threshold and start growing towards three million, then get on the run from three to 10 million and crushed through eight figures, which is something we help our clients do all the time.

The second thing you need is not just the roadmap but the process to communicate the roadmap. How does everyone on the team understand it? Is it clear to everyone? Is there a systematic way that you're not only communicating the roadmap but the updates and what's happening? Is there a way that your team knows on a monthly and weekly basis what's going on and what they need to do?

When you have a communication process within a business, everything changes. Here's why. If you're the entrepreneur in charge, chances are you're not a great communicator and I don't mean to insult you, I'm not either. Even though I'm a public speaker and I'm known as a communicator within a business, I'm a terrible communicator. I would rather not communicate. I would rather just go work and get head down and get into stuff and go deep.

And when I've run businesses without a system, it's haphazard. My team doesn't ever know when they're going to hear from me. And here's what happens in that type of environment. I know now, I didn't know at the time that what my team was doing was waiting for word from on high. Here's what I mean by that, when your team doesn't know, they're going to hear from you, when they don't understand when you're going to talk to them, they're waiting for communication to fall out of the sky.

And the way that, that typically happens in a business without a communication process, without a structure through which the CEO communicates is a meetings called and it's haphazard and nobody understands what it's really for and everybody shows up and then it's frustrating. And people hate meetings and there's this legendary opinion about meetings in small businesses and in regular businesses, in all businesses that meetings are terrible and they suck and nobody wants to be in them.

Well, here's what's funny. We use a process to communicate on our team and today we had our weekly meeting and it was about an hour and at the end of the weekly meeting, our team shares a personal win and a professional win. And the professional and personal win for several people on the team was being on the weekly meetings and sharing with our team and being excited to be a member of what we're doing and growing our organization and making things happen.

See, that is so different than the average business where people say meetings suck. I get excited for my meeting with my team because it gives me momentum. If yours isn't giving you momentum you're doing it wrong, you need a process and it will. And then third, the roadmap, strategic plan, the communication system, and then what comes next? Is a process for building infrastructure in your business. Like I said earlier, the people, the processes, the projects that you should be doing on a monthly basis. You need a system in your business where every month you're evaluating people, process, projects and understanding what you should do next.

Rolling it into a strategic plan, distributing it to your team so you're building the infrastructure of your company and you're growing past a million dollars. Getting to a million dollars is a huge achievement. If you're there, I want you to know something, I'm excited for you, I'm proud of you, and I'm like blown away. So that you know only 3% of businesses only get to a million dollars every time someone's done it they beaten 97% odds. That is pretty incredible and extraordinary if you've done that.

Even if you're close, even if you're several hundred thousand you'd be shocked at how many entrepreneurs are behind you. Did you know that once you're over $300,000 in revenue, you're in the top seven million of 29 million businesses in United States?

So understand that as your business grows and as you move forward, these items will keep you growing. Understanding what your roadmap is, having a process to communicate and consistently building infrastructure will take you from seven figures to multiple millions to eight figures and beyond. You can get past the million dollar revenue number, and I want you to know if you're on your way there, it's not a destination, it's part of the process, it is a milestone, not the place where you're going to end up. And understanding that now is even better than understanding that once you get there.

So for anyone who's listening to this, this has value, getting to a million dollars is a huge accomplishment, but it does not make everything perfect. In fact, it just brings up a lot more challenges as a business owner that you have the opportunity to go solve and change the world.

Thanks for spending this time with me. And if you're ready to start building your business, if you want to get past a million dollars and fly even past three million and go towards eight figures, reach out to us. Go to and connect with a member of my team. We will show you how to take your time, your resources, and build a team that will help you grow to multiple millions, change the world and most importantly, you will stop feeling like you're doing it all yourself., let us help you past a million dollars.

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