Let’s talk about the grind.
Whether you’re a business owner or not, you’re familiar with the grind. It’s that period, usually at the beginning of something, where you are working so hard you fall into bed with exhaustion. You fail tons and work to understand what each failure has to teach you. You sometimes think the work you’re putting in isn’t valuable, but let me assure you – there’s nothing better you could be doing.
I think the grind is one of the most important things we ever do, especially as entrepreneurs. Grinding when you start your business gives you an irreplaceable body of knowledge as your business matures. It gives you confidence. It gives you resilience.
Today, I want to talk about the grind and why you shouldn’t try to skip over it and why you shouldn’t give up. I’ll tell you a bit about the grind I’ve gone through with the school and why I’m so thankful for all those hours and lessons.
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What you will discover
- Why we have to grind so much when we first start our businesses.
- How the grind helps us build our confidence as entrepreneurs.
- Why things are so much easier now for new coaches and why you still need the grind.
- What failure can teach you as you work to refine your business, your offerings, and your “why.”
- That everything relies on you – not your customer.
Featured on the show
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo episode 311.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Well hello, my friends. Today, we’re going to talk about a very light, warm, fuzzy topic called “The Grind.” I have a friend, Ryan Moran, I’ve had his stuff on the podcast before. But he talks about business and the beginning of a business being the grind.
And I listened to a podcast of his years ago where he talked about this and I was like, “That is what it is.” That is what the beginning of a business is. It’s such a grind because you’re having to get over all your own self-doubt, learn so much, all at the same time, and risk so much failure.
And so, I wanted to talk about it today because I want to encourage all of you who are in the grind. I want to encourage you to keep going and I want to promise you that it’s worth it for reasons way beyond what you can see right now.
You may be in the grind right now and you may feel like nothing is happening, you’re not creating results, you’re not making any money, nobody is hiring you, you’re losing money, whatever is going on for you in your specific business. Maybe it’s that you are making money but not enough.
Whatever’s going on for you, you may be tempted to think that the work you’re putting in isn’t valuable. I remember when I first was working on my business as a life coach. And you have to remember, this was back in the day, like 15 years ago, I think maybe even 16 years ago. I lose count.
But here’s the thing; back in the day, nobody knew what I life coach was. GoDaddy had a way that you could create a website, but it was pretty janky. And I had a pretty janky site.
My business was called Futures Unlimited Coaching. I don’t know if I could have picked a longer title, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t. It was pretty long. And the URL was ridiculously long. Everything about it was crazy.
But I learned how to build a website. I learned how to set up a shopping cart. I learned how to integrate them. I learned how to create and edit videos. And I want to tell you, in the beginning, it was so bad. It was really bad.
Like, a lot of the videos from back in the day when we watch them, we laugh hysterically because the lighting is terrible. You can tell I’m looking at myself in the reflection of the video. It’s just bad. Everything’s bad. There was no guidelines back then. It was like the wild, wild west.
And I remember those nights and those days, the amount of time that I had put into figuring out how to move something on a webpage or how to format something or how to make something look good on my blog post or how to link to another page or how to unpublish a page. Like, all of the hours and hours and hours I spent figuring out WordPress and URLs and auto-responders and emails and group emails and all of the things was a grind.
I was in it. And I was in it all by myself. There was nobody that had a podcast out there telling me to keep going. I didn’t know what I was doing, it was so, so new. And many of the times while I was in the middle of that grind, I felt like I wasn’t moving. In fact, I felt like I was moving backwards and I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything at all.
And I want to go back and tell myself to keep going and to keep making mistakes and to keep doing this because when I think of it now, I think so many of my students just hire all that stuff out. There’s so many resources now where you can just hire people to do all of those things.
And at the time, maybe there was, but I didn’t know where they were. I couldn’t find them. I didn’t know how to get help. I was grinding it. I was struggling. I was Googling. I was putting stuff out there and I was making so many mistakes.
And I had this moment a couple days ago when I was selling one of my products called Selling Expensive Things. Selling Expensive Things is a two-day event that I’m teaching with one of my master coaches who specializes in selling, Stacey Boehman. And we wanted to create a very high-end training where we teach our students how to sell at the highest level, how to sell the most expensive things.
And we wanted it to be a very small group of 10 people and we wanted to do it in Las Vegas in a presidential suite. And we wanted to be able to be very intimate and very specific with each of these students and really put them through the paces of learning how to sell and what is required to sell expensive things.
And it was very meta because we were actually selling this expensive thing to the people who want to learn how to sell expensive things. The event is $15,000 for the two days. So, it’s a very expensive course to learn how to sell expensive things, which of course, we wanted to make sure it was.
So, there’s a lot that goes into selling something the way that we sold this product. And one of the ways that we decided to do it was we targeted people that were already very familiar with us. And it was a very narrow target market of probably a few hundred people that really are ready to sell expensive things, that already know that we’re very good at this, they’ve watched us do it, that want our secrets, that have the time to come spend with us.
So, it was a very small market. But we sent it to our list and we basically said tickets are going to go on sale at this time and it’s first come first served. And we said the order form will go live at nine o’clock in the morning and you have to just be there and fill in the form first and you get in. That’s it. We didn’t want to do an application or anything like that.
So, the morning of that day, we were getting emails and texts, like “Oh my gosh, I hope I get in. I can’t wait to get in.” There was a lot of energy around it. People were very excited. People were frustrated that we weren’t hand-picking the people to be in the class. It was first come first served and they were – one of my students was like, “I just want you to know that I researched how to autofill a form so I can make sure that I get in first.” It was great. It was like really fun energy all around.
And I had checked with my team early in the morning. I’m like, “Hey, this is all ready to go, right? We need to make sure this goes live at 9AM Central and we just need to make sure that people are going to be waiting, so we need to make sure it goes live.
So, everyone said yes, it’s all ready to go. I went, took a walk with my dogs. And I looked at 9AM Central time to see if the form had been added to the page and was ready to go, and it wasn’t. And I was like, what’s going on? Why isn’t the form there?
And I talked to my team, and my team was having trouble getting in touch with my web team and my web team were supposed to be the ones to do it and there was a miscommunication and something didn’t happen, so it didn’t get posted right away.
And when you sell things in this way, the energy and the timing is really important. So it was really important to me that we don’t start emailing people, we don’t change the process. We need to get that order form up right now.
And my team wasn’t able to access the page where the order form was supposed to be embedded, so we weren’t able to do it, and we couldn’t get in touch with the team that is based out of California that was supposed to do it for us.
So, I talked to one of my team members and I was like, “Let’s do this. Forget about the page. Just put an order form from Ontraport on that URL.” Now, how do I even know what any of those words I just said mean?
That’s a pretty technical thing that I understand so well and I understood was a possibility and I understood that the guy on my team would know how to do it. And he did and he was able to get that form up. We were able to sell out the class within four minutes. It was 10 people, a $15,000 class in four minutes. And then we had to close the form down and sell it out at the same time.
But after that whole process happened and I was doing it from my phone on my walk, I just had this moment of, “Oh my gosh, that was one of those examples where that grind early in my career where I learned about order forms and URLS and the possibilities of replacing pages with different order form pages and being able to handle that in a certain way made me be able to problem-solve in a way that saved that launch.”
And it was so fun to sell it out so quickly. It ended up that the page went up about 9:15 instead of at nine, which was great because people were freaking out that they couldn’t buy and it gave the people that were maybe late 15 more minutes. But it was just a mad scramble to get everything filled in.
And there were a lot of people that didn’t get in and a lot of people that were very upset with us and mad at us and frustrated that they weren’t able to get in and that the page went up 15 minutes late and all of that. And I have to say that that brings me joy.
I hate it that those people didn’t get in, but from a business perspective, that’s your dream, right? The dream is you want people to be super upset that they can’t give you money. You want people to want so badly to sign up for your stuff because they know it is so good that they’re really upset when they can’t.
And so, for us, even though I was bummed for those people, I also was excited that we have a company that has that much demand and that wants to learn from us. And I texted Stacey right after and I told her, “Let’s make this the best class we’ve ever created.”
Like, the frenzy around signing up for it was so good and the people that got in are so excited. I’m like, let’s make this the best of the best. And so, since we’ve done that, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. But the reason why I told you this story is just so you can understand that all the grinding that I did that seemed like it wasn’t necessary and wasn’t useful really is my body of knowledge now.
It really is all of the things that I use in little ways and in big ways to create this ginormously successful business now. I put in the dues and the grind when I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere in a way that has made it so that I can really be here now.
And so, I just wanted to speak to each of you who is in the grind right now and just give you some insight that whatever it is you’re learning, you might be learning about Google Hangouts. I still have some PTSD about learning about Google Hangouts and learning about broadcasting video live and learning about posting blog posts live and learning about Facebook ads and what it means to put videos and yourself out into the world and all of the technology that’s required for me to understand all of those things.
You have to remember that in most careers, you learn one thing, you just have to learn life coaching. You just learn all the tools on life coaching. That is your body of work. But I was learning life coaching and my body of work, plus I was learning marketing and how to market my business, plus I was learning all this technology.
And I watch many of you now get frustrated that you have to learn the technology, that you have to learn the marketing. But what I see is that it’s all part of my superpower now. I feel like I stand on the confidence of knowing what I’m doing.
So yes, of course, I’ve hired people to do that now, but I know what to tell them to do. I know how to advise Steven, who works for me, I know to tell him, “Hey, just put an order form on that URL and drop the sales page.” And he’s like, “Got it.” He was like amazing, he was able to do it so quickly.
But had I not been someone that had done that all myself, I wouldn’t know how to manage him as well. I’ve done my own Facebook ads. So, when I talk to my Facebook ads crew, I know what I’m talking about.
When they tell me things, I understand it. When I want to direct them, I know what I’m talking about because I’ve done the grind before. Did I do it as well as they’re doing it? No way. Would it have been way better for me personally and emotionally to just have hired them from the beginning? No, because I wouldn’t even know what they’re doing.
I wouldn’t have that knowledge. I wouldn’t be able to manage them. And here’s the other thing I want to tell you about the grind; the grind has given me the security that I have now. Because if you take away all my money, all my employees, all of the things, what I have left is what I learned from the grind.
And I want to tell you, the grind is terrible, but I learned resilience, I learned how to keep going. I learned how to fail. I learned a lot of very important technology. I learned a lot of technology that’s completely useless now. I learned how to write my own copy. I learned how to do my own customer service. I learned how to work with clients one on one.
I was just talking to a client who wants to build a business, a financial coaching business. And I’m super-excited about it because I think so many of us need her and we need a coach that can talk us through our money and our legacy and all the financial things.
But one of the things that she said is she’s like, “Right now, I’m coaching these clients and I’m all up in their Excel spreadsheets, all up in their budgets. I understand all the – I’m in the weeds with them, with all the details of what they’re doing.” And she goes, “I would prefer to kind of do the groups and the more general stuff.”
And I think, when a lot of coaches or even entrepreneurs look at me now, I’m much more out of the weeds now than I was when I was beginning. But I was telling her, in the beginning, all I did was read food journals. Like, you have to remember, I worked fulltime, 40 hours a week, as a one on one coach. That’s all I did.
I coached people on weight loss. I looked at their food journal and talked to them about weight loss. I talked to them about their mind. I talked to them about their food. All day, every day, that’s what I did. And it was a grind.
But I have to tell you, I can’t imagine doing it any other way because that’s what taught me about me and my clients and my people. And I had to learn how to market to them. I had to learn how to talk to them. I had to learn how to coach them.
I was exhausted every night when I went to bed. I worked. I grind, grind, grinded it out. And people look at me now and they think, “Well you’re not grinding. I don’t want to have to grind either.”
And I’m like, “Listen, we’ve made it so much easier now, there’s so much less grinding because we give you so much more direction and there’s so many templates and there’s so much that you can just follow.” But I don’t know that we’re helping as much as giving a disservice if we can’t force you to go through the grind because you’re going to get so much stronger and learn so much more if you’re willing to go through it.
So, you’re going to be in the details. You’re going to be in the minutia of it. You’re going to be feeling like you’re not producing any results for the amount of work that you’re doing. It’s going to seem like it isn’t working. You’re going to feel like an amateur. You’re going to feel like an imposter.
People are going to look at how hard you’re working and be like, “Maybe it’s time to give this up. You look tired and you don’t have any money to show for it, you should give up. You could just go get a job down the street and they’ll give you money right away.”
That’s the opposite of the grind. But when you’re willing to keep going and failing to see what doesn’t work so you can find out what does work, all of those failures teach you so much.
I think about when a URL wouldn’t publish properly, right, when I was trying to get a URL to publish the right page and it was publishing the wrong page and I couldn’t figure out why and it took me like three hours to figure out why. That little exercise that felt like a complete waste of time served me really well the other day.
You’re going to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing because you don’t. But the only way to learn what you’re doing is by doing it. You can hire someone else to do it, but you still won’t know how to do it.
You’re going to be learning on hyper-speed when you’re learning by doing. And let me tell you something, my friends; it is harder than you think. It’s definitely harder than it looks.
When people look to me and look to other people and compare their beginning with our end, they miss out. Although, I have to tell you, I’m working right now on a brand-new funnel for my business for Scholars. I want to do a video series for the woman who is sitting in her house right now and doesn’t even know about me, doesn’t even know that coaching applies to her, doesn’t understand it.
So, it’s like the very most remote person that I want to tap on the shoulder and say, “Hey, I want to tell you about coaching.” That is the most funnel to create because you have to educate the client on their problem and the solution before you even start marketing to them.
And so, in order for me to create this funnel, I’ve had to do so much research and so much work. And I have about 150 pages of content that I’ve been writing and rewriting and headlining and working and researching that I’m going to take for an all-day visit with a coach, which is going to be eight hours of marketing coaching, which is – talk about a grind, y’all.
So, my husband came home the other day and he was like, “I need to take a picture of you like you are right now, working this hard, because I don’t think people understand how hard you work. I think people hear you say that you work three hours a day, and so they think that you’re just frolicking, that you’re not grinding.”
But I really am. I’m grinding and I’m thinking about that woman that is emotionally suffering for no reason because she doesn’t know about me. And I feel like it’s my responsibility to go find her and let her know. And so, I’m willing to do this grind, I’m willing to do the work.
Now, here’s what I just told my friend Kris. I said, “Here’s what’s going to happen. I’m putting in all of the hours right now to do all the research and write all the copy and record all the vides and do all the things and make it all pretty. And what’s going to happen is I’m going to put it out into the world, and that is not going to work and I am going to fail and it’s going to be so frustrating because I’ve been working so hard and I feel like I should benefit from my work.”
But the most beautiful thing about someone who doesn’t know about me yet is that they don’t know that my stuff works. They don’t know how good it is. It is my job to reach them. And if I don’t reach them, that’s on me, not on them. I’m not doing my funnel right.
So, I’m willing and ready to go out there and create this funnel. And I know I’m going to fail at it 20 times. It’s not going to work in the beginning. I’m going to spend so much money and so much time just trying to get it to work. But when it works, it’s going to be magic.
And someone’s going to come along and look at my funnel that works so well and say, “Hey, how come that funnel works so well? Can I just copy that funnel? Can I do that funnel too?” And many people will just copy it. and maybe it will work for them.
But here’s the thing; they won’t have the knowledge that I have, the tweaks that I can make, the communication that I can do because I went through the grind. You have to take responsibility for your own sales, for your own production.
And I want to say that for some of you, this is business. But for some of you, your grind is your relationship. For some of you, it’s your weight loss. For some of you, it’s quitting drinking. It’s the work that you’re putting in when you feel like you aren’t progressing.
So, I had a client say to me the other day, “Well, I can’t put my sales in the R-line because I don’t’ create my sales. My customers create my sales by buying from me.” I said, “As long as you think like that, you’re always going to be broke.”
You create your sales by selling to your customers, by offering to help your customers. You’re the one that creates your sales. You’re the one that creates the money in your bank account, not your customers. Your customers create their results in their lives. You create the results in your life.
You have to take 100% responsibility. If you feel yourself blaming or complaining or self-pitying when you’re in the grind, you’re doing it right. You’re right on track. But you’ve got to remind yourself that none of that is true. Nothing relies on your customer.
You may go through a period where you don’t like anything. Allegedly, this happens to people. You don’t like yourself. You don’t like your business. You don’t like your customers. You don’t like marketing. You don’t like the internet. You don’t like the world. That’s how the grind feels.
The grind feels like, “What am I even doing? This is hard. I don’t need to do this.” I think this all the time, “I’m already rich.” And people say, “I’m already thin. I’m already happy, why am I doing this to myself?”
And you have to know the answer to that question. I know why I’m doing it. I’m doing it for the lady sitting in her house right now. I want to go find her. That matters to me. That’s important to me. I want to be an example to her. That’s what I live for. For some of you, it’s a different reason. But that reason has to get you through the self-doubt, has to get you through the failure, it has to get you through the grind.
Nothing works well in the grind, but that’s part of the process. And knowing that, knowing that unknown doubt, frustration, failing forward, figuring it out is part of the process will get you through it. You’re right where you need to be. It’s terrible and it feels bad. You have the tools to get through it and you will get through it.
And one day, maybe 14 years from now, you’ll be so glad that you did it because you’ll be like, “I remember when I figured out how to publish that YouTube video. I remember how I figured out how to create that by-link and that auto-responder.” And that’s going to come in useful for you, maybe when you’re helping someone else, maybe in your current business, or maybe just in the strength and resiliency that you have now for having been willing to get through it.
If you are an entrepreneur, if you are trying to create something in your life to make your life better, then you are an entrepreneur. You are someone who is a creator. I just want you to know that I bow down to you. This is not for the feint of heart. This is it. This is real world, real hard stuff, but it’s absolutely worth it. So, welcome to the grind. Keep going.
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