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What does it mean to build a business that lights you up?
It means building a business to support the life that you really, truly want to live. Because when you achieve that, that's what success is.
The guest on Rebel Boss Ladies episode 031 is going to show you how to make that happen. Kathryn Binkley is a business strategist and success coach on a mission to help entrepreneurs live their best lives by creating wildly profitable businesses. She's also the host of the podcast In Light of Success.
After ten successful years in the marketing agency world, Kathryn ventured out to truly take control of the impact that she could have on those craving success, flexibility, happiness, and financial freedom. She hasn't looked back since.
Now Kathryn spends her time helping entrepreneurs move past their mindset blocks, plan and implement strategies that actually drive results, and unlock their true potential.
Today, we're talking about building a business that lights you up. This means doing the work that's meaningful to you and crafting your work around what you want out of life and not according to what other people think your life should or shouldn't be.
Get ready to get inspired, because that’s certainly how I felt after talking to Kathryn.
From literally two days after she graduated college to the day that she started her own business, Kathryn worked for full-service marketing agencies. She has over a decade of experience as a marketing strategist and account executive in the marketing agency world.
After years working full-time in this field, Kathryn realized she actually wanted more freedom in her work day. A big driver for her was independence, and she wanted to be able to be her own boss.
Now, Kathryn uses her career experience and passion in her own business. She’s a marketing and mindset coach and works to help entrepreneurs build wildly profitable businesses that light them up.
“I help entrepreneurs, mostly service-based B2B entrepreneurs, to imagine that dream life and then create it through their entrepreneurial journey.”
So why should we try to build a business that “lights us up”? And what exactly does that mean?
Kathryn defines the term in two ways, First, she emphasizes that you should be living the life that you truly want.
To do this, you need to figure out what you actually want. This may be easier said than done.
After working with a lot of clients, Kathryn recognizes that often people only have a vague idea of what they want out of their business. “And that sounds kind of funny, maybe, but a lot of people really don't know what they want.”
She emphasizes that sometimes our ideas about what we want are shaped by conditioning and societal perceptions about what we think we’re supposed to want. She says that “what [we’re] aiming for is often shaped by what everyone else thinks that they should have or looking at other people and seeing what they call successful.”
How can you avoid this? Kathryn recommends that every entrepreneur try to shed those conditioned expectations so you can figure out what you truly want out of your business. “Then that's the life that lights you up because you're on fire and passionate about what you're doing. You feel called to it and are working with this higher sense of purpose.”
Kathryn says there is one other meaning for this term, and that’s being what she calls a “litpreneur.”
For Kathryn, a litpreneur is “ in the sense of also on fire, as in getting results… So really hitting it from both the passion and purpose angle, but then also the results side of things.”
Kathryn also emphasizes that the thing that lights you up is unique to you. Everyone has a different definition of what works for them, a different path they will follow, and what will light them up in their business.
This plays an important role in her coaching. “My experience informs what I teach and how I teach. But at the same time, I know that there's no cookie cutter approach and I recommend that everyone pursue what lights them up, which is quite possibly different than what lights me up, which means you gotta do something different to get there as well.”
Kathryn emphasizes that it’s essential for every business owner to figure out what truly lights them up, and use those goals to build their business.
She works with her clients on this, through conversations, journaling and thought exercises.
How can you begin thinking this through for your own business?
She says, “starting first and foremost, imagine that dream life. If you could do whatever you wanted to do today, what would you do if you could have it?”
Kathryn recommends thinking through what you want your life to look like in 5 or 10 years from now, without holding yourself back. Don’t limit yourself based on what is actually possible, and include every idea that connects you to that vision.
Next, she works with her clients to get rid of those limiting beliefs. “Then the challenge is them really believing it's possible. And we have to dive into all of the mindset work, all the limiting beliefs and the fears around why they think it's possible for other people but oftentimes they don't feel like it's possible for them.”
This can be difficult, because it involves breaking down the barriers that we’ve created ourselves growing up. From childhood we’re taught certain things and encouraged to have specific perceptions, and these may not match what you want in your business now.
Kathryn says that these perceptions, “over time, they don't serve us as well anymore because all of a sudden we're blending in with everyone else and we've really stuffed down all of these ideas of what we actually would enjoy or what we would actually want.”
It's these ideas, about what you actually want and enjoy, that will help you to build the business that lights you up.
Kathryn emphasizes that there’s a dramatic difference between having a business that lights you up and one that doesn’t.
For her, it even factors in how she feels day-to-day. She loves her work, and says that having a business that lights you up allows you to wake up every morning “looking forward to everything and knowing that you have the ability to shape your day and do what you want.”
This freedom and inspiration can lead to much more productivity and engagement in your work.
It can also help in your personal life as well, because owning your own business inevitably will lead to overlap between your personal and professional lives. This is important, because what makes us feel good in work is often going to make us feel good at home.
“The whole point is not to have a business that's running you around and pulling you away from the life that you want to live. It's to create this business that enables you to live whatever life you want.”
If you’re building a business that lights you up, it’s easy to fall into the trap of working too much and not setting limits and boundaries for yourself.
Is working all the time good for you, even if you have a business that lights you up?
Kathryn loves what she does, so this is something that she’s struggled with throughout her entrepreneurial journey. Her mindset has changed a lot, though. “I have firmly taken the stance of being anti-hustle. And so even though I still work whenever I want to work, it's only when I want to work.”
She says that this hustle mindset can be a slippery slope because it’s easy to just continue working if you're a litpreneur. However it’s important to give yourself limits and boundaries in your work, because you'll feel better and improve the quality of your work.
“If I don't feel good about it or I feel pressured to or forced to [work], then the results the results aren't going to be what I want them to be. I'm not going to enjoy it.”
The most important realization for Kathryn was remembering why she started her business in the first place. She wanted to live the life she had always wanted, and working all the time at her business was actually getting in the way of that dream.
When this happened to her, she reflected and realized that “I'm working all the time and sure, it's great to say I have the flexibility and can do whatever I want to do, but I'm not exercising that. And that's what it came down to… I turned in my 9-to-5 for a 24/7 and that just wasn't what I wanted.”
Because of this, Kathryn decided to re-evaluate where she was putting her time and effort in her business to make her work more efficient. This gave her the freedom and the flexibility she was looking for so she didn’t have to feel tied to her business constantly.
If this is how you're feeling about your business, there are a lot of ways you can re-evaluate what you’re doing to make sure that it lights you up.
When building a business that lights you up, it’s essential that you put your efforts in to the things that will benefit you the most.
For Kathryn, re-evaluating her business involved taking a step back and thinking through how she could simplify her work and scale back, automate and delegate the things that weren’t as important.
A great way to think about this is through the Pareto principle – 80% of your results come from 20% of what you do in business and marketing.
So how can you make sure that you’re putting your best work and effort in that 20%?
Kathryn ended up simplifying, delegating and cutting down the tasks that she really didn’t enjoy doing or spent too much time and energy on.
A big one for her was content creation. “I was creating everything as a one-off piece. So podcast, blog posts, emails, social media posts, everything. So one of the first things that I did was just figure out a system for repurposing all of my content.”
In her new system, she put her energy towards the things that were essential for her to do, like recording videos or podcasts. But then she outsourced the work of repurposing those videos and podcasts into blog posts and emails to other people.
She also re-evaluated where she was putting a lot of her energy, like creating new offers.
“It sounds so simple, yet in the moment it's something that so many entrepreneurs feel that they need. I kept getting so inspired as a visionary entrepreneur, so inspired with all of these ideas for new offers. And that sounds amazing until you realize that every new offer requires so many things behind it to make it successful and it divides your focus.”
She simplified and got rid of a lot of these projects that were dividing her energy and taking time away from the most important work. She made sure to save any ideas she had for the future and put them on the backburner.
“I don't think that you should let go of those ideas completely. But I committed to myself that I'm just going to have, for now, a few key offers and just really work to make those successful, because what I found when I did the math is with only three offers… I could more than surpass seven figures in my business. I didn't need more.”
Making your business strategic, so that you end up spending less time working but get more out of the work that you put in, is essential to turning your business into one that lights you up.
One of the most important factors in this is managing your time so you’re putting the majority of your work into those tasks that are going to make you the most money.
Kathryn emphasizes that it’s really important to get clear on your priorities in business and life so that you can schedule them.
“That is something that comes up in the sense of time blocking and project management and making sure you're spending your time on those 20 percent activities that are giving you the 80 percent of results… You're just taking the amount of time that you want to work and being intentional with it.”
Another essential component of building a business that lights you up is figuring out what brings you joy and what you detest doing at work. This in turn can help you to figure out what to outsource, so you can spend the most time and energy in activities that light you up.
Kathryn says that even if you’re good at doing something, you should outsource those responsibilities to someone else if you don’t enjoy doing them.
For Kathryn, that’s copywriting. “For me, it just feels so painful and it feels like it takes so long… It's just a grueling process and yet the end it's pretty good. A lot of people are like, wow, you can write, but they don't know the trouble that went into it. And so that's just not fun for me. And so I chose to outsource that pretty pretty quickly in my business.”
These are the activities that can prevent you from showing up every day in a way that’s engaging and successful. If the only things you have on your to-do list are things that you hate doing, you might not be motivated to show up in the way that you would if you had a business that lit you up.
It can also keep you from reaching big goals or working on bigger, more important projects.
“Have you had a task list and you start choosing the small items or the fun items and you just keep pushing those other tasks off? Day after day after day after day…There's something that you set as a goal for, you know, one month or one quarter and is still on your list the next month or the next quarter because you really don't want to do it.”
Kathryn recommends that if you find yourself in this situation, either delegate it or decide not to do it.
“I think that's key upfront, not opening a project if you don't really intend to finish it or if it's not going to let you up or if it actually needs to be completed, then having a plan from the very beginning for how that's going to get done through automation or outsourcing or something else.”
Building a business that lights you up requires a lot of honesty and being open with yourself.
There may be things that you feel confident about being able to do, but when you really think about it, will you be able to get that done in the way you want to get it done?
You also may not be sure how to even figure out what lights you up. Sometimes it can be hard to tell, especially if you’re trying new things for the first time in your business.
Kathryn recommends that you list all of the things that you do for your business and rank them, based on how much they light you up.
“I talk a lot about impact vs. effort to decide what to do strategically. But then if there are tiebreakers… or if there are several things that are on the list you don't know what to go with, the tiebreaker is always what lights you up.”
Use this ranked list to plan out what your goals are for the quarter, and what direction you want your business to go in. Kathryn says you should focus your efforts on the top few things in your list. If something doesn’t fall into the top, then save those ideas for later.
“If it's made it to the top two or three for what lights you up, then you are excited enough about it. It just may be that you overestimate what you're able to accomplish in a given amount of time, which is a completely different issue to solve. And that's where we look at team or systems to help.”
You may feel like you’re not at a point where you’re financially ready to outsource work to other people, and that’s okay. But Kathryn recommends really thinking through where you’re putting your resources.
“I would first challenge the belief that [you] don't have the funds to invest. And really work through the money mindset there around even with a return on that investment looks like.”
She recommends thinking about outsourcing like looking at a return on any investment and using that to evaluate your options.
There are some ways to save money when you’re outsourcing tasks as well. “If you outsource internationally versus locally or, you know, we're not talking about hiring a full-time employee right off the bat… You'd be surprised at how affordable it could be to hire someone for even just 10 hours a month to start handing off a few things to.”
Ultimately, using your budget to outsource will help you to grow your business in the long run, even if initially it feels like you’re not ready to take that step.
When Kathryn is making decisions, she asks herself, “what would eight figure Kathryn do?”
Kathryn recommends thinking through where you want your business to be in the future and making decisions based off of that vision instead of what your business currently looks like.
“Whatever your next milestone is that you want to hit, whatever that big goal is like a huge goal… what decision would she make right now? And then starting to act right now as if you're already that person and making decisions from that place.”
Not only will this help you to change your mindset about outsourcing, it will also help you think forward about where your business needs to be and make decisions based off of that. That vision is the business that truly lights you up, and you should constantly be striving for that.
“If you think that you're playing big, there's always room to play bigger. And so just a reminder, dream bigger and show up bigger and act as if you're already that person that has that grand vision of a business that you're dreaming of one day or that life one day.”
Kathryn is offering a free masterclass all about client attraction on her website. Once you go there and register, you’ll have access to find her everywhere else online.
Interested? Check out the links below!
Visit Kathryn’s website – https://alyght.com
Kathryn’s free masterclass – https://alyght.com/client-attraction/masterclass
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