When I first started out in business, my number one challenge was getting paying clients. Before too long I’d solved that challenge but then, I had another challenge, and that was time.
You see at that moment in my business, for anything I needed to get done, it had to be done by me. I wore all the hats in my business – I was the salesperson, account manager, bookkeeper and administrator. Anything that had to happen in the business had to be done by me, and I eventually reached the point where to keep the wheels turning it was feeling like I was running really hard on a treadmill – and if I stopped I was just going to fall flat on my face.
Now if you can relate, stick with me, because I want you to know that this is not a permanent condition. There is a way out and I want to share with you what really helped me.
Around this time I came across “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” by Robert Kiyosaki, and there’s a line in that book that really struck me. Robert Kiyosaki was talking about what it means to truly have a business, and he said, “If you don’t have a business that you can go away from for three months, and then come back to find it better than when you left it, you don’t have a business, you have a job,” and that was the moment it hit me. I had not created a new business for myself, I had actually created a job; and I realised, painfully, that if I added up all of the hours that were going into my business at that time, I was actually earning less per hour than I had been in my old job from my employer.
So I knew that something needed to change, and one of the things that really helped me was to start to make the distinction between hauling buckets and laying pipelines.
What does ‘hauling buckets’ mean?
Let’s say you want to go out and get clients, and your method of going to get clients is some form of manual prospecting. Maybe you go to networking meetings, maybe you pick up the phone, maybe you reach out to people on LinkedIn or other social media, but it requires some activity to be done by you. Well I call that the “hauling buckets” method, because there’s effort expended, and yes, there may well be a result.
You may fill your bucket and bring it back, but for you to get that same result tomorrow, and the week after, and the month after, going on, you’re going to have to keep expending those activities over and over.
Whereas if you start to think about laying pipelines – yes there’ll be effort to lay the pipeline, but once the pipeline is in place, that pipeline can deliver you paying clients as often as you want.
How do you lay ‘pipelines’?
So what are some examples of a pipeline that you could lay? Well, you could have a pipeline like I do in my business, which is an automated email follow-up system. So that when people come to my website and they sign up for information, I have a pipeline, an email pipeline that stays in contact with those potential customers, follows-up and eventually brings them to the point of sale.
I have other pipelines in the ways of online video, or online trainings that also move people from being interested to becoming a paying customer. Did those pipelines take time to set up and create? Absolutely, but once the work is done with the pipeline, you get paid, paid, paid, paid, paid, paid, paid.
So my invitation to you this week is to start to look, not just in the area of getting clients in your business, but take a look across your business:
- Are there elements where you’re hauling buckets?
- Is there an action in your business that you’re having to do over, and over, and over?
- Is there a way for you to turn that bucket hauling into a pipeline – could you create something once, but then know that it was going to deliver the same result without you going out to haul a bucket every single day?
I would love to hear how this article has impacted you today. Feel free to share your comments below, and if you’ve already established a pipeline in your business tell me more. Let’s get a conversation going, and if you’re still thinking about the pipelines that you could lay down, then absolutely share that too.