What is your dream life and your dream business? Most answers include Freedom. This includes financial freedom, time freedom, and freedom to travel. Did yours include one of these?
Let’s talk about how you can get to have all these freedoms in your life.
What are you yearning for? Are you yearning for more financial freedom? Are you yearning for more time to spend at home or with your kids? Are you yearning to travel more and experience the world and all the amazing things that it has to offer? What does freedom mean to you?
When I first decided to launch my own business, I was working in corporate human resources. I was pretty good at it but it required me to be away from Bella, my daughter, who was really little at the time. I had a moment of clarity around I didn't want to be gone so much. My husband and I sat down and we talked about our values and what was important to us as a family. I wanted to be at home and have dinner with him. I personally don't feel like I could be a full time stay at home mom. I don't necessarily feel fulfilled in that way. So I knew for myself that I didn't want to just stay home. I wanted something that gave me flexibility and I wanted to be home at night on the weekends so I could go to soccer games and do all the extracurricular activities and all of that.
In the corporate human resources job I was working a lot of hours. I was salaried and sometimes I'd have to put in 10-12 hour days. I'd have to stay late when something happened. The truth was, though, I needed the financial side that job afforded us, too. I couldn't just up and leave my job because I had responsibilities. We had bills to pay. Right. So Justin and I got together and we had to be creative about how we were going to make this work for us where I could transition out of the corporate job and create something that really works for us and our family that gives us the financial freedom we wanted.
I think I've told you guys before when I was a kid and people would ask me ‘What do you want to be when you grow up,’ I would say a dancer or a nomad. I have a soul that just wants to travel the world and learn about different cultures. That moment when I got into college and was able to decide certain things for myself, I started traveling and my world expanded. Among lots of other things, I could see all of that was possible out there.
Over the years I’ve created a business that can run with or without me. There have been times when I’ve been more involved and times when I’ve stepped back and let the business run on and on without me directly involved in the day-to-day. You also get to decide and you can have a business where it pretty much runs without you, if that's what you desire.
What does freedom look like to you? As you were thinking about your goals and thinking about the new season ahead, what is it that freedom looks like to you? Is it financial? Is it time? Is it travel? I’ve seen that financial freedom directly affects time freedom, travel freedom, and retirement freedom. It’s all connected.
Financial freedom includes asking the hard questions and facing where you’re at and where you want to be in the future.
Are you paying yourself consistently?
Can you cover any dips in your cash flow that happen (i.e. summer season)?
Are you investing in retirement?
business model and what we were doing, it didn't really matter and it was taking time away from me and my family.
If freedom to travel is one of the things you want, it can happen too. It all starts with a decision. It starts with you getting crystal clear on what freedom looks like to you. And then you have to decide to leverage your business to provide you with what you want. Build a business that serves you forward because I thought I needed to do them because either that's always the way it was when I was a kid growing up, like in the studio, or that's what I've been taught to be true. When I started really thinking about what makes sense for every level of success requires another level of commitment.
If you haven't read Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, do it. It could be a game-changer for you. We use the framework of this book to set up the business and make it profitable. Many studio owners tell me they have no retirement accounts or retirement funds. It makes me really sad. It also gets me a little fired up to stand on my soapbox. Investing in your future is non-negotiable.
Now, let’s talk about time freedom. Some studio owners are yearning to have a studio that runs without them so they have more time. We can create this, but we have to be intentional about it. We also need to know what the trade-off will be.
When I first left the corporate job, I was a solopreneur. I was doing it all. I was teaching the classes. I was doing the admin. I was going out and getting more business. Then I got to a place where I was teaching 27 classes a week and my schedule was full. I came to a place where I had that moment of clarity around I can't do this and continue to grow.
So what was the next step? Well, I'm always a believer in doing a stair-step approach so we can find the gaps in our systems slowly. I decided I was going to hire someone to teach two days a week for me and I would teach the other three. Those two days a week I would do the admin work and the marketing to grow the business. Then I grew it to having someone else teach three days a week and then four. Finally, I removed myself fully from the teaching aspect of the business. Then I did the same thing with the administrative tasks. I started to teach somebody else so I could remove myself and really be the one to just be the leader and the decision-maker when it came to the big things.
This worked because I got really clear on what I wanted for myself and my family. Then I really was intentional about creating a business that served my family first, because my family is the most important thing. When I plan out my year, before I put in anything else, I put in my family time and my time that's committed to me and my spouse. Then comes those major chunks, like big event dates and conferences. Then I can create a strategic plan to make all the other things happen with my team through delegation or through getting rid of crap that doesn't matter in my business.
There were times when I was doing things that really didn't move the needle and my business, I cut out the things that didn’t matter. For example, I don't even do a huge recital anymore because it didn't bring me joy. And when I looked at the revenue, it didn’t make sense.
Is there anything in your studio that isn’t bringing you joy or helping you obtain FREEDOM? It’s time to trim!