Nobody talks about the detailed ups + downs of growing a MULTI-million dollar business… But, we freaking *need* to, because it’s not as ‘pretty’ as growing past your first $100K.

Million-dollar business owners face discomfort.
Million-dollar business owners have hard conversations.
Million-dollar business owners show up to every problem (with a solution).

Because business isn’t always ‘good!’ It’s not about unlimited growth, or walking down Easy Street, or standing in bliss 24/7. It’s hard! Like, really hard.

And honestly, that’s part of playing the game – especially if you’re committed to growing past your first million-dollar year.

But here’s what I know…

You can get comfortable in the discomfort.
You can show up to have the hard conversations without losing sleep.
You can solve problems without sacrificing nights, weekends, and every day in between.

And, you have to. This is the GROWTH that everyone’s talking about. Yes, you’ll grow your numbers… but you’ll also grow yourSELF. (And P.S. that’s the *key* to success in this industry.)

So, tune into this longer episode for more about what it means to grow *with* your business. I’m talking about why it’s important to protect your time + energy as CEO of your company (but if you want more about ‘how to’ do this, check out episode 108!).

Listen in, and then share your review over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh) – slide into my DMs or comment on my latest post!

P.S. Today’s the final day to enroll in my IGNITE course, so head over here to sign up!

Key Points:
[2:29] The million-dollar business owner finds a solution
[4:57] Because business isn’t always ‘good’
[6:46] I’m having hard conversations with my leadership team…
[9:39] Here’s how you *truly* grow a successful company
[11:48] There’s no way I could have realized this sooner!
[14:47] Ok, this is for YOU, the mom entrepreneurs…
[16:39] P.S. we’re making some massive changes in our business coming up…

NOTE – Listen to episode 108, “Life behind-the-scenes of growing a multi-million dollar business,” for more about the day-to-day ‘CEO’ schedule that best supports my time + energy.

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Episode Transcripts:  

Emily Hirsh: I’m Emily Hirsh, and this is The Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Attention innovators, influencers, creators, and game-changing entrepreneurs: your internet domination begins right here. We are the powerhouse marketers that you’ve been looking for. You’re already making waves in your industry, and we’re here to help amplify those waves of change by creating a connection that cuts through the noise. We take everything you’ve built inside your zone of genius and find its audience. With killer strategy and laser eye for impact, we launch multimillion dollar campaigns and skyrocket your reach online. And now, we are doing the unheard of.

We’re unveiling everything we’ve learned, taking you behind the scenes with the Hirsh Marketing Team, and giving away the secrets to our clients’ success. Stay tuned for top converting strategy, ROI reports, and insider knowledge that you won’t find anywhere else. You’re changing the world, and we’re the team to help. Hello, everybody. I am really excited for this episode.

It’s going to be one of those where I just talk it out with you guys and share, hopefully, some really great tips for you, as always… vulnerable, things going on in my life and with our company. One thing that’s so interesting is, I’ve been in business now for four years… which is not like a really long time compared to some people, but I feel like I’ve really experienced what it’s like to truly own a business. And I just feel like I was so naive four years ago, about what this was even like. And that’s fine! Everybody has to start somewhere. But nobody talks about some of these things that I’m going to talk about. Nobody talks about the true parts of business, the ups and the downs, that like, no business is perfect. I mean, some people talk about it, because I said “No business is perfect,” and that’s an Alex Charfen quote, but nobody actually shares the details of that.

Like, a lot of people’s front of their business that I’ve seen, especially in this industry is like, “Everything’s great,” “We’re growing,” “We’re always growing,” “We’re always doing better,” “Nothing’s wrong,” like, “We didn’t fail at anything,” and it’s just crap. Like that’s not true. You know how I know it’s not true? Because it’s not true for me, but also, I have a lot of really successful friends with way bigger businesses than me, 10, 20, 30, $50 million businesses, where now I know it’s not true. Like I know that it is not true.

When I started my company… in the beginning, when you’re just getting started and you have no expectation, everything is good, right? You’re always growing. You’re improving. And that is how it was, at least for me, the first year. It was like, I was always growing, I was super busy… I was overwhelmed and stressed, which I think that’s part of the game in the first year, but it’s super exciting because you’re like, “This is working, my business is growing.” You’re just constantly excited. When you have to make the transition from like, you’re doing everything, solo entrepreneur, not really a “real business”… which is what I felt like, I didn’t have a real business, meaning I didn’t have employees, I didn’t have systems, I wasn’t removed, like if I died, the whole business wouldn’t exist… then you face the reality of what it’s like to have a real business.

I was talking to my husband last night, and I was like, “You know…” I’m going to share what’s happening, and then my huge takeaway from this, but I was like, “I signed up for this.” Like this is what it’s about, the pivoting… and I just did an episode on marketing is about pivoting [episode 113], but really, business is about pivoting. Not pivoting, meaning changing everything, but business is about, “Can you take crap thrown at you and come up with a solution? Or are you going to let it drown you?” I truly believe 100%, all of the people who grow past $1 million and hit those huge milestones of 5, 10, $30 million, $100 million, they are the ones who are able to do this. And there’s a real strategy you have to do to be able to do this, which is what I’m going to talk about.

They are the ones who are able to have the most hard decisions, or hard situations, or frustrating things happen, or scary things happen with, let’s say you’ve got huge payroll that you pay when you’re that size of a business, and it can be very scary… and I can’t imagine what my friends at $50 million feel like, when I have the pressure at $3 million right now, of my payroll sometimes. And it’s like, you go and continue to face that discomfort. The people who are willing to do that are the people who keep growing. And that is what it’s about. I had this huge realization yesterday. I’m like, “That’s the true entrepreneurship,” because business is not about just growing constantly and just everything good always. I think I almost, for a long time, until I met people and had a really great coaches and just mentors and friends in this industry, [I] felt like if I either wasn’t growing or if everything wasn’t right, then there was something wrong with me, and I was failing, but it’s the opposite.

If you are experiencing situations where things are slower one month before you have a huge month the next month, or you have to make really hard decisions, or you’re faced with a lot of stress, or I don’t know, like anything that could happen to you… you’re not failing. You’re doing it right. That’s the game. That’s the game. That’s what you signed up for as an entrepreneur is, to go through those situations, to have to navigate those situations as a CEO, make the right decisions, and move forward. Right now, we’re going through some big changes that we decided …

I’ve shared like, this year has not been easy for me, just in terms of, I don’t know, growing pains, really. When we hit $3 million, like everything broke apart. We’ve rebuilt a lot. It’s way, way better in terms of systems, but there are some big changes I’m going to make that I’m not ready to publicly announce yet, but they’re going to be amazing, and I can feel it. Like, I can feel it, that these changes I make will catapult us to [a] $5 and $10 million company. I’m so excited, but they’re not easy.

They’re not easy. It’s scary to make big business decisions and changes when you have a million dollars a year in expenses, more than that, so it’s not easy, and I’m not going to say it’s easy. But here was my experience and my realization yesterday is, I had to have a hard conversation with one of my leadership team [members] just about these changes and about how we have to make these changes. It’ll make more sense when I explain them, which I don’t want to explain them yet, that’s not what this is about. But it was a hard conversation, and it was one where in the past, I might have just been like, “Screw this. I’m going to quit,” like just the feelings that you get when you’re like, “This is too hard…

Why do I have to keep on dealing with this?” and just feeling like really down and frustrated. But something really weird happened. I had this conversation with her, and I didn’t feel stressed at all. I just took it in, and I was able to take it in, and then be like, “Okay. Here’s our plan. Here’s what we’re going to do.”

Then, I instantly just felt this almost excitement about being in this place, because it feels a little bit like the beginning of my business – but 10 times better, because I have a way better business, where I get to make these pivots and these changes that I know are going to lead to so much growth, and it’s like … I don’t know, the hard work is sometimes even more fun, because it leads to amazing growth, and that’s what I’m saying. So I was reflecting like, “Why was I able to handle that so well? Why am I not stressed right now?

Why am I not panicking? Why am I not not sleeping well? Why am I not feeling any of those things?” Here is why, I figured it out: for this entire year, I have constantly prioritized protecting my own time and energy.

I have two days in my calendar with no calls. I take care of myself and go… I’ve shared in the podcast [episode 108] all of the personal appointments that I go to: acupuncture, massage, chiropractor, therapy. All of these things that I do to protect myself and give myself time and space… And I meditate every day, I go for a walk, I exercise, I eat healthy.

I am [my] number one priority, over my kids, over my business. I take care of myself, and I finally have gotten to a place where it’s such an ingrained habit in me to do this, that I don’t even think twice about it. The hardest part about getting there is getting the habits in place, getting the solid morning routine where you workout in place, getting the self care appointments in place, all of those things. [But] I have created a non-negotiable lifestyle where I am constantly protecting my time and my energy as a CEO. I recognized yesterday that the conversation I had to have, the decisions that I have to make and, over the next 60 days, kind of face… I would not be able to handle [them] if I haven’t been doing this for the last six months, 12 months. 

And it’s gotten better, I’ve improved over time. I started just working out, and then I [added] this in, and then I [added] this in… And now I’m like a rockstar! The big thing I’ve taken away from this is, the key to my business’ growth is keeping myself so I can make these really hard decisions with this clear mind. It was like…

It was just like the weirdest thing yesterday where I felt like, “I normally would be so stressed right now. I would be like, not able to be present with my kids.” I’m actually in California right now on like, not vacation, because I’m working, but like, hanging out with my family in the afternoons and the evenings. And I’m fully present, I’m not stressed at all. And I’m like, “Normally, I would have been. I would have not even been able to focus on what’s around me, besides just thinking about work and these decisions, and what’s going on.”

I realized the reason why is because my mind is in such a healthy place. My thoughts are in such a healthy place. I have control over knowing like… I just have this like… I don’t know, it’s like next level, it’s so cool.

And I just realized that, that’s how my friends do it. That’s how my friends do it at the next level. You just continue to grow yourself, and protect your time and your energy, and the way you respond to things, and the way you show up as a leader… and you just prioritize that, and you have to prioritize that. If you can do that, you’re going to be able to get through these things that are going to come up, like that’s what I’m saying business is about. If you’re going through something where it feels scary or it feels harder, it feels stressful, it feels like everything’s breaking, and then… that’s the game. You’re playing the game right now, that is what it’s about.

It’s not about avoiding those things. It’s about facing those things almost happily. Like right now, I’m pumped. I’m like, “Yes! We’re changing this, we’re doing this, we’re going to make these hard decisions,” but I’m so excited about it, because on the other side, I see the $10 million company, and I’m like, “This is insane clarity.”

The other thing is that I initially had this thought of like, “Man, I wish I would have realized these changes that we’re going to make, six months ago. It sure would have made things easier,” is what I thought, but I’m like, “You know what? No, because I couldn’t. There’s no way I could have.” I didn’t make a mistake not realizing it, because you have to go through experiences, and just like phases, and make mistakes, and then recover from them, and make decisions, and make the wrong decisions, and make the right decisions, to get to the place where then, you know what to do.

I realized like, that is what it is about. It’s about staying focused and doing that, like doing the work. Just like with marketing, you can compare marketing so much with business. It’s like, it’s about buying the data, taking the time, making the mistakes, seeing what does and doesn’t work, what does and doesn’t convert. Business is about the same thing, making the decisions, making the mistakes, having the hard conversations, doing what’s uncomfortable, like going down one month and then going up one month in revenue.

That is what it’s about. It’s not just about the best months ever where it feels so great and you’re not stressed at all or you’re not having to make any hard decisions… like, you’ll never get there! So if you’re chasing that, you’re never going to achieve it, because business is about the in between when you’re hitting those big milestones, and it’s about, “Are you strong enough, and are you willing to protect your time and your energy as a CEO so you can lead your company through all of these phases?” I just feel like $3 million is like, “I’m just getting started right now.” I know a lot of people, it’s like really hard for them to even get there, and it’s because I think they don’t do this.

They don’t protect their time and their brain space, and like just the ability to make decisions. After a million, it gets so hard. There’s no overnight fixes, everything takes time, it’s about your leadership. What I’m also going to do is, I need to get my leadership team to think like this, because one of the pain points I have right now is my leadership team is taking on a lot of the pain of making all these hard decisions, and being needed by all these people, and like not setting enough boundaries, and it’s affecting them. I’m like, “Now, my job as a leader is to get my leadership team below me to where I am mentally right now myself,” to where a huge problem or thing happens, and they’re not fazed by it. They’re like, “Okay. This is part of the game.

This is what we’re doing every day. This is why we’re here, and here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s the solution.” When and if you can get there, it is so powerful. So powerful. And you’ll be happier than ever, but also, just you’ll unlock a different level of potential. And so I want everyone to be looking at, “How are you protecting your time as a CEO? And your energy, really…

How are you protecting your time and your energy as a CEO? Are you creating space?”, especially if you’re a mom, because otherwise, what you can do, and this is what I used to do is, all day long, you’re needed by your team, you’re on calls, you barely have time to think, you barely have time to eat, you are needed, needed, needed answering questions, trying to solve problems all day with zero capacity to think bigger than what’s right in front of you, and then you transition to being with your kids, and all night long you’re needed by your kids, your partner. You have no time to think, like I used to be there, and you will not grow. You will not keep growing if you stay in that place, and so, “Are you creating time in your calendar where you have nothing, you have ‘free time’?” I fill my free time.

I don’t like to just sit around and do nothing, but for example, the other day I filled my free time, I sat down with a blank piece of paper. I wrote a question down, and I sat there for almost an hour, writing down responses to the question, everything I could think of, brainstorming, asking myself, “Okay, what else? What else could we do? What else? What else?”

That is my job as a CEO. That is what I do, and so I have to have the free space and just the mental clarity to be able to do that. And you have to go create that. You have to create that in your calendar. You have to create that in your routines. I highly recommend a daily meditation.

It’s a game-changer for me. I noticed the days I do it versus if I skip it for some reason. It’s up to you, and so that is the key to growing and being able to face these things. Then, the other piece to this episode is, I will be making some big business moves and calling out some big things happening in this industry. The industry is… there’s a big shift coming, and I’m going to be at the front of it, because I can see it, and I have that clarity, and the people …

I am so ready to talk about the reality of business, and I feel like now, I understand. Four years ago… I mean, no, I’m not saying like, “Oh, I’m so experienced.” Like, I have so much to learn. Are you kidding me? So don’t get me wrong.

I am not nearly as experienced as I want to be in business. I have a very small amount of experience compared to some people, but after four years of doing this and running my company, I’ve learned a lot, building a team of 30 and going through all those mistakes and that journey, and I realized, when I started, I thought business was about like constant growth and about just getting to a place where there are no big problems, where it’s running without you. All those things people talk about, right? My business does run without me technically, but there are big problems I have to solve. There are hard days, hard weeks, hard months and quarters that I have to go through.

What I realized is, business is not about that. It’s not about getting to that place where then it’s good forever, or like good until the economy crashes or something. If you’re growing, if your business is constantly growing, it’s going to be about the ups and the downs, and, “Can you navigate those?”, because if you’re growing, you’re going to hit points where everything breaks, and something doesn’t … it feels like you want to give up. It feels like, you’re like, “I’m failing.”

You feel like you’re failing, and I’ve been there. What I realized and what I want to really share here is that when that happens, just be like, “Nice job. I’m doing it. I’m doing it. I’m on the ride. I am experiencing it.

I am doing the right thing because I’m here.” The way you navigate those situations is going to dictate your growth, so when you feel that discomfort, when you have those hard decisions, when you have those days where you feel like you’re failing, just know you’re doing it right. That’s good. It’s a good sign that you feel like that, because that means you’re growing. It means you’re going through hard things.

It means your business is going to the next level. It means you’re making changes. That means you are putting yourself in the discomfort zone, where you’re uncomfortable, where you’re going to grow. All right, you guys. I’m super excited to share this with you.

I feel like I’m so excited, like I am so excited for the rest of this year and for next year. I can’t wait to share some of the changes and things that we’re doing on our end, and just why, even more detailed, why it’s been hard for us this year. I can’t wait to share it. It’s not time yet.

Sometimes you can’t share things when you’re in the middle of them, so you have to share them after and when you can share experiences and you’ve kind of recovered from them, but I’m just so excited, because I know that this is like, “Here comes the $5 and $10 million,” like, “I’m just getting started. I cannot wait.” I have like goosebumps talking about it, and I’m so excited, so create that time. Protect your time and energy as a CEO.

Create that space where you’re able to think, so you could handle these hard things, and then when you have to handle them, know you’re on the right track.

 Thanks for listening to The Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Go behind the scenes of multimillion dollar ad campaigns and strategies, dive deep into The Hirsh Process, and listen to our most popular episodes over at HirshMarketingUnderground.com. If you loved this episode of the podcast, do me a favor and head over to iTunes to subscribe and leave a review, so we can reach more people and change more lives with this content. That’s all for now, and I’ll catch you next time.