There are three rules for running a business; Fortunately, we don't know any of them." -Paul Newman
“That’s not how you do it.”
I’m going to let you in on a little business secret that may annoy and frustrate some of you and I’m hoping will be liberating and permission-giving to the rest of you. (Really, I’m hoping it’s all the latter.)
When it comes to business success, when it comes to building, growing, and scaling a profitable, sustainable business…there are no rules.
Let me say that again for the people in the back…there are no rules.
Writing content…no rules.
Going live…no rules.
How to work Instagram…no rules.
Creating a Facebook Group…no rules.
Business models…no rules.
How much money you can make…no rules.
How much you can charge…no rules.
How to think…no rules.
What to believe…no rules.
You get the idea. Y’all, there are NO freaking rules except for the ones we make.
More often than not, the ‘rules’ we’re holding ourselves to are arbitrary, come from someone else, and are holding us back. But, rules make us feel safe. It feels good to know them, have them, follow them.
I think it’s a carryover from school days. We’ve been taught that if we follow the rules, we’ll get a gold star and if we break them, well, we’re in trouble.
While some rules are important and can serve us as a society, in sports, while driving, and playing board games, having a ‘follow-the-rules’ mindset in business is a great way to stay stuck and become a follower.
Through the lens of business, even the definition of ‘rule’ feels confining: one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere.
I mean, did you start your business because you were hoping to follow dutifully ‘one set of explicit or understood regulations’? Pretty sure that’s exactly the opposite of why you started your own business. Am I right?
Rules go against the very nature of being an entrepreneur and what allows a business to thrive.
New ideas. Insights. Testing. Innovation. Imagination. Creative problem-solving. Dreaming big. Smashing income and belief ceilings. None of these come from obediently following someone else’s rules.
If we take a look at the most successful businesses and entrepreneurs, they didn’t create success by following the rules, but rather by creating their own.
It can be confusing from the outside looking in, especially in the online space where many of these ‘rule-breakers’ are now selling pre-packaged programs outlining their rules for success.
Sure, there are some foundational elements to business that are just smart and work. And, yes, strategy is important and helpful in business. But, I find so many of us confuse strategy for rules, and they’re not the same thing.
When we collapse strategy and rules together, they stop serving us, and tend to make us feel boxed in. Rules are confining and limiting. This collapse causes us to stop testing, tweaking, and adapting. This is when we get stuck inside self-imposed mindset, impact, and income ceilings.
Rules are also absolute. And, they tend to imply punishment if we don’t follow them. I mean, what do you think of when I say ‘Break the rules”? Most of us think about getting into trouble. And given your history, this can kick up some difficult, trauma-based thoughts and emotions.
We create rules to make sense of the world and feel orderly. They make us feel safe because we know what to expect. Rules gives us a sense of comfort.
So, it makes sense that most of us strive to follow the rules. Society has taught us to do so. We’ve attached our sense of safety to rule following. And for some of us, following the rules is what our brain equates with avoiding pain, which we’re wired to do early and often.
But, rules aren’t strategy. And, more often than not, as entrepreneurs, as business owners, as thought leaders, the very constructs we confine ourselves to feel safe are the same things that will keep us stuck, hold us back, and in some cases keep us from the very success, impact, and income we crave.
Rules are black and white. Strategy is grey, flexible, fluid.
Strategy asks us to apply action and receive feedback and data that we can use to move forward, make micro-adjustment, and grow.
Rules are imposed while strategy is something we choose.
But, this is about more than strategy. It’s about the necessity as business owners to get out of rule-think and into creation. It's about discovering our own way of doing things. It’s about the mindset that comes from having the confidence to discard someone else’s rules and the power we create when we make our own.
This is where business success often hides out.
This is the birthplace of new ideas.
This is the shortcut to the pot of gold.
This is also way more fun.
This mindset and approach to business is one way we stop hiding in plain sight (and get paid).
So, in case you need some permission to break the rules, hear this: there are no rules to business success and making impact and income. You get to create your version of success any damn way you want to.
I mean, come on, do you think Steve Jobs became Steve Jobs by following all the rules?
I’ve watched clients smash ceilings of every kind the second they stop worrying about what they’re supposed to do and get clear on what they want to do and what works for them.
My invitation this week is to take a look at your overall business and check in:
- What are the rules in you business?
- Are these rules serving you and your business?
- Where are you holding onto or following rules out of fear?
- Where are rules keeping you stuck?
- How are rules keeping you from taking action that could drive your business forward?
- And, whose rules are you following anyway? (This can be a fascinating one to uncover.)
- What rules do you want to break?
- What’s possible if you do?
For example, you might have a rule that you don’t sell on a free call. This is one I hear all the time. Whose rule is that? How is that serving you and your business? Do you want to break this rule? What’s possible if you do?
Get curious about how breaking these self-imposed rules can open you up to new ways of approaching your strategy and new levels of success. This is where the creative thinking, innovation, and magic in your business are hanging out.
Here’s my bet: Everything you want is on the other side of questioning the rules and making your own.
Wishing you your version of success, that comes by playing by your own rules.
P.S. Ready to break all the rules? You're my people, and I'd love to help you think outside the box, get (and stay) out of your own way, and create a simple strategy that works for you so you can build, grow, and scale a business you're wildly in love with that makes you bank.
My rates are going up August 16th, and I have ONE spot for my 6-month coaching partnership and ONE coaching intensive left at my current rates.
If you've been sitting on the fence wondering what it would be like to work with me, NOW is the time to book a coaching consultation. These spots will fill.