When I was looking for inspiration for writing this article today, It was difficult to find anything remotely close.
There are many articles on managing a client's expectations.
However, it seems like not a lot of people talk about managing your own expectations in business.
It's an important subject and I've seen many people, including myself, start businesses with false expectations of what success should look like for them.
Every business I start, I expect to scale to £1m-£10m per month very quickly.
As soon as I face a bit of pushback or failure, my hopes and dreams, my extreme expectations come tumbling down on me.
When our expectations are high in business, it can be very difficult to stay motivated because we'll always come up short and feel like we're not achieving a lot.
There are logical reasons for these expectations which will be discussed within this article.
It's Important to understand that everyone has their own timing - whilst one person might be able to scale from 0 to $50K in 8 months, someone else might take 2 years to go from 0 to $50K.
Don't let small shortcomings in your expectations be the reason you don't stick around to see your dreams flourish before you.
Everyone has exactly what it takes, it's hidden away, waiting to be found.
Here's how to manage your own expectations in business.
Entrepreneurs are gifted with the ability to think outside of this world.
We have goals that only a few people will ever understand.
When I first started in business, I just wanted to make sure I had a stable income so I don't need to worry about university, apprenticeships, or work.
That goal slowly compounded and became a goal about reaching six figures a year.
After starting my marketing agency, I saw a lot of people making $50K, $100K per month, and more and so I thought that this was a small goal to aim for.
My goal increased from 7 figures to 8 figures, then 9 figures per year.
So now, instead of putting my focus on going from 0 to 0.1 (nothing to a basic income), my goal is to go from 0 to 1 (0 to 9 figures per year).
This makes everything I do so much harder because I now do everything with the hopes of making massive leaps of progress rather than starting small and building up to that 9 figure point.
The bigger your goals and ambitions, the more extreme your expectations will be.
Everything you do, you'll start second-guessing whether or not it could reach the goal you want it to reach.
It's very difficult to build a 9 figure business, there are only a few hundred, maybe thousands of those in the world.
However, building a 6 figure or 7 figure business is much simpler.
It's normal to have massive goals, however, it's not an ideal situation to be in when the goal is to go from 0 to 9 figures.
Set small stepping stones that eventually lead to that final goal you have.
That way, it's easier to measure and reach your expectations.
Going from $0 to your first $10 is incredibly easy compared to going from $0 to $100,000,000.
When you set smaller goals, you're managing your expectations a lot better making it easier to cope with when you come up short.
This time, when you come up short, you're no longer tens of millions away from your goal, you're very close to the goal you set and so it's not as demotivating.
Setting extreme goals makes us feel like we're not good enough when we do eventually come up short.
Start small, and increase your goals respectively as you surpass new milestones.
This article on smart goal setting might be helpful.
This is a trap I've fallen into many times.
The reason a lot of people turn to entrepreneurship is that they see a lot of people living the high life on social media.
They see rappers and entrepreneurs all making money from home whilst living this glamorous, stress-free life.
When I was on social media looking for a way to be financially stable, I saw entrepreneurship as a symbol of freedom.
I saw business owners, YouTubers, and other people making the type of money I wanted to make, living life with the sort of freedom and spontaneousness that I wanted.
As soon as I got into business, I started failing and getting disappointed - how come this is not working for me?
When I failed at eCommerce, I started comparing my results to those who have been in eCommerce for years longer than me.
When I failed at the marketing agency, I started comparing myself to those who ran a successful agency making hundreds of thousands per month.
Comparison is one of the worst things you can do to yourself as an entrepreneur.
You see people who might be years ahead of you in their journeys getting 10X or even 100X your results, and it demotivates you.
It burns you from the inside out because you start to feel inferior, like you're not cut out for this journey.
Only you know if you're cut out to be an entrepreneur.
Only you dictate if you'll be successful or not.
However, when you compare yourself to others, you're throwing everything you've learned out the window and focusing on nothing but competing or beating others.
This is no way to win in business - you can't expect to overtake someone who's 3 years ahead of you if you're just starting out.
You need to also go through your journey, accept that failure is all part of the journey - the same journey that the people you're comparing also took.
To stop comparing yourself to others can be extremely difficult.
The way I did it, or at least reduced it from happening is by staying off of social media as much as I can.
When I started in business, I was always on the business side of YouTube, I was always on Instagram and Facebook.
These are the best places that 'influencers' or 'gurus' prey on you.
Reducing your social media usage is not only healthy for you, it's also beneficial because you'll no longer compare yourself to people you see online.
Don't get discouraged
As humans, it's impossible to never set high expectations.
We'll always set goals and expectations that we can't reach - it's only inevitable.
What's important is that you don't get discouraged and give up.
It's alright if you don't reach the goals you've set, you always have another chance.
I've personally come up short on many different goals and expectations I've set for myself.
Every time I have, I realised that it's not the end of the world - nothing actually happens when we come up short.
No one has a gun to our heads telling us to do this or that, or else.
We just believe that we're capable of a lot more than we really are capable of.
We think we can do a lot more than we really can.
The only pressure is the pressure we put on ourselves, although time is of the essence, we still have enough time to try, fail, and try again.
There will always be another day.
There will always be another attempt.
Failure to reach our own expectations does not mean the end of the world - it's fine, it happens.
Don't be hard on yourself.
Learn over time
When we do fail to reach our own expectations, our goal should be to learn from our failures.
"Why could I not reach my expectations this time around?"
"What happened that stopped me from reaching them?"
"Were they just unrealistic?" Most of the time, the answer to this will be yes.
Ask yourself these questions to improve your chances of getting better results next time.
Don't beat yourself up over it, it's all a learning process.
Understand that the goal you've set might just be too high and it's alright to revisit it and correct it.
A few months back, I finished reading one of the best books I've read so far - 'Atomic Habits.'
After reading the book, there was one big lesson I managed to pick out of the book, one lesson that I feel can take anyone from 0 to wherever they want to go, only when executed correctly.
In one chapter near the end, the author mentioned how setting goals approximately 4% outside your comfort zone is the optimal level for goal setting.
To put it visually, if you're making $1000 per month, your next goal should be to make $1040 per month.
This is a very small jump, seemingly easy to achieve.
The next goal after that will be to achieve $1081.6 per month. Again, another small jump, but it compounded.
If we follow this formula, it will look like this '[start point]x1.04^n.'
Meaning 1000x1.04^n where n is any number.
To reach my goal of 9 figures a year, n will approximately need to be 235.
That means 235 small goals later, I'll be at my goal.
4% is the optimal level because it's not too high that you get discouraged and it's not too low that it's too easy to accomplish.
When you fail to achieve your goal, start to think about how you can implement this 4% rule into your expectations.
It's all a cycle, a delicate cycle of constant iteration and improvement.
No one starts out perfect - no one sets goals and knocks them out the part immediately.
Everyone learns their own limits eventually.
Set expectations, learn from them, and iterate.
That's how to manage your own expectations in business.
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