What comes first, impact or income? Today we’re talking about how your impact and your income are in an equation together. Some of you might be getting this flipped the wrong way around, upside down, turned around, and we are going to clarify impact and income today in our conversation.
Now, I have no intention of talking you out of your desire to make a meaningful contribution to the world. As a matter of fact, I want you to have the biggest impact that you want. I know it’s possible when women use their voices to boldly advocate for the change they want to see in the world. I do that every single day. It’s become routine. I’m on sabbatical, and I’m still doing it. It’s a habit that I just can’t shake.
But that’s not how I started. That’s not how this happened.
It didn’t start with me impacting millions.
I started this business four years after going financially bust during the last economic downturn, or I should say a few economic downturns though at this point, in 2008 and 2009. At the beginning of starting this business, I had no credit cards, and I needed to figure out how to replace my six-figure salary with all the juicy trappings of corporate America.
Did I want to flee that fluorescent den of that cubicle farm to run off with the unicorns and make my mark on the world? In theory, yes, absolutely, 100%. I am a big thinker. I have a big vision. My vision sometimes is so big, that it scares me to be completely honest, and I 100% wanted that really big impact in the world.
But in reality, I was burned out. I was tired. My health was failing. I was trying to navigate chronic illness, and I really just needed to take care of myself. That required cash, not followers, likes, nice comments, hearts, and downloads. It required cash. If anybody has been around long enough, you know that likes, hearts, follows, emoji comments, and even people telling you how much they love your content does not always translate into cash.
In those days, my impact was a mere ripple even though I knew I was capable of more. As Stephen Covey says, “Put first things first,” we have to master and own what is right in front of us today right now, before we can move forward to what comes next. Once the bank account started to fill and I was able to pay myself consistently, that’s when I was able to start having a greater impact because my oxygen mask was on first, and my nervous system was calm.
I was able to have more clarity. I felt safe. I felt safe financially, I felt safe in my body, and all the things that I needed to do to make sure that I was able to pay myself consistently were the uncomfortable challenging things that I needed to learn how to lean into so I could make a larger impact.
These were the parts of me that I had to heal, navigate, find a process for, practice, and all those things so I could have a bigger impact.
Even when you say, “Okay, I’m going to focus on income first,” it’s in service to that impact, that much larger impact that comes later. That’s when I started a podcast. It wasn’t when I was first starting out, or when I didn’t have the money because the podcast is an investment of time, energy, and money.
I needed time to record the podcast, which means I needed to be able to buy my time back. I needed to hire people who could help me on the delivery side and free me up so I had the creative time, the recording time, and the ability to be consistent with that. I also needed the money to pay for some of the things that came along with podcasting, and initially, they were less but today they are much greater.
This podcast takes quite a bit of capital to produce and send out in the way that we do. There’s an entire team, Stacey at Uncommonly More, that supports this behind the scenes. If I didn’t have Stacey and her team, my ability to do this wouldn’t quite be here. It wouldn’t be as consistent, it wouldn’t be as meaningful and easy for me to show up in this way, and enjoyable for me to show up in this way. So we needed to build that over time.
At that point I was already making almost multiple six figures in revenue when I started to focus on this podcast and having an impact, and then over time, long term, not overnight, it took a few years, this podcast started to become the engine in my business that consistently helps me convert leads, but it didn’t happen right away. It took time.
I needed other ways to be making income before this podcast really took off and started to have an impact both on you, the listener, and me the podcaster. We spent years refining that strategy here before we invested in another impact-generating activity.
If you’re not paying yourself or generating over that glorious $100,000 a year revenue, then you need to delay your impact gratification.
You need to find it in smaller ways. You need to find the joy in making an incremental impact instead of going for immediately launching into impacting millions. Focus on the few who value your work and who already value the meaning and the purpose that you are bringing into the world. Because income is greater than impact until a point, then the equation flips. Try to flip that equation too soon, and the impact won’t come. The more money I make, the greater impact I have in all aspects of my life. It’s easy to lose sight of this as we become increasingly more conditioned by social media: likes, hearts, follows, and downloads.
They have rewired our reward centers and linked our worth to an algorithm. We’ve gamified connection, and in the process, disconnected us more than we might even realize, which is concerning on a whole, but for business owners, this has a much larger, and in my opinion, more sinister impact where entrepreneurs have started to feel more rewarded by social capital than actual capital, the real dollars, and cents that keep their businesses moving forward so you can pay yourselves like the experts you are.
It creates so much harm, we are so draining our energy and our lifeforce to these tools. I’m not saying don’t use social media in your business. I’m saying, can we evaluate the relationship we have with it and understand how it may or may not work for us in what we’re trying to do in our businesses and with our business models?
Because the more time we spend on there, the more I hear things like, “Oh, I felt rewarded by it. My post did really well. It got shared, downloads are up, downloads are down,” and I’m no stranger to this. I look at my data, and I’ve had to really spend a lot of time with my data to the point that it didn’t have an impact on my worth as a human being and my value as a person, but I look at it and I go, “Oh wow, downloads are way up. Oh, amazing, amazing.” Or downloads are down, “Hmm, what’s that about?”
We have to be able to get to a point of neutrality around some of these things, including money because we don’t want to get hooked into money being and defining our worth, but as a business, to keep your business moving forward, you need to make sales and you need revenue. That is how you can pay yourself.
Money has always been a terrible motivator and short-lived.
I spent a lot of my career in human resources. I did a very long stint in compensation where I was responsible for analyzing everybody’s compensation in the organization, determining how we’re paying jobs, what the pay grades are, what the pay ranges are, and how people get raises, bonuses, and all of that stuff. It has always been in the research that money is a short-lived motivator, but it’s what’s beyond the money that is the real motivator, things like the ability to have a business that survives and thrives for decades to come.
My business is my primary wealth generator. What I mean by that is each year, I hope to grow my business by 10%, 15%. I’m not looking to 10x. I’m not looking to double my business over a year, and certainly, in the beginning, I did do those things because it’s much easier to do that as a startup, at a pure early stage startup phase than it is to do that as you are really getting into your business and looking to hopefully make good, sound decisions for the long term.
Growth starts to slow. The reason why I look at this as like “Can I grow by 10%? Can I grow by 15%?” is because I think about my business as an investment. This is one investment in my portfolio. I would want my investments to grow at 10%, at 15% year over year over a long period of time. So that’s what I mean when I say this is my primary wealth generator.
Then I take the profit from this business and invest it into other cash-generating assets so that my money is always working for me. I don’t have to work as hard for my money. It gives me a tremendous amount of space. It gives me a tremendous amount of freedom. But we have to get to the point where our businesses are actually generating cash to use toward creating more wealth and the things that I invest in, the people that I buy from, that is me having an impact.
Impact or income, how one creates the other.
When I am doing well and profitable, and I’m paying myself and I can go and pay the hairdresser, the dog trainer, the private driving instructor, the local gym, and the tutoring center, that is me having an impact through my income on the people around me on their businesses, on their kids, on all of those things. I get to do that having a business, a career that brings me a tremendous amount of meaning and purpose.
That has an impact too. Me showing up with clean energy because I love my work. There is no friction here. I feel like I’m nurturing myself and being creative. I am making money for that because if we don’t make money in our businesses, even though we are doing something that is meaningful and impactful, we do become resentful. Being paid for our work, being paid well, premium, lucratively as the experts that we are, not peanuts, not over delivering and under charging, when we can do that, then we also have the greatest impact.
Because anything that we’re giving in that case, we’re coming from a place of true generosity, because we’re doing well and then the rest of the world around us does well. Now, you have to go beyond the actual dollars and cents. Why do you want to make money in your business? Why do you want to be paying yourself?
Because we need to get serious about the actual rewards that come from getting paid, so that we’re not chasing these fictitious rewards of likes, downloads, pageviews, shoutouts, shares, saves, and all of those things that social media companies or big tech want you to be rewarded by. Because the more you’re rewarded by those things, the more time and effort you spend creating content for them, so they can keep eyeballs and attention on their devices, on their apps so they can go sell advertising. That’s serving their business model. It’s not always serving your business model.
Here are some things that can really be rewarding that money makes a contribution for:
- a child’s education
- time freedom
- choices and opportunities
- a peaceful retirement
- improved mental health
Now, impact doesn’t always lead to income, but income most definitely will lead to impact.
If you are ready to be less dependent on social media, on these marketing tactics, fads, and algorithms so you can make the money that you need and want to make an impact, I want you to come and sign up for the waitlist for The Bold Profit Academy.
We use a waitlist to enroll people. You have to be on the waitlist unless we are opening it up to more than a waitlist. But once you put your name on the waitlist, you are going to get an email from me and you are going to get a personal email from me. I’m going to personally check in with you and ask you if you are ready to join The Bold Profit Academy.