stages of business

8 Stages of Business and How to Identify Where You Are Right Now

This is for service providers who want to improve how they are currently running their business so they can save time, save energy, save money, and maybe most importantly, save mental, emotional, and physical health. 

This is going to help you step into a place of greater ownership and responsibility to creating a business that allows you to do four really important things: pay yourself six figures, invest in yourself in the future growth of your business, hire team to take the shit you hate off your plate, and to gain the time, space, and financial freedom you wanted when you started your business. 

I’m hearing from so many women running service-based businesses that as they grow their business, they feel pulled out of alignment. They feel pulled away from their values and exhausted from trying all the tactics on the internet with very mixed results that further erode their confidence as they seek to build something that is predictable, simple, and sustainable.

I’m going to be breaking down eight stages of business that I see and giving you very specific ways to identify if this is where you are. Understanding what stage of business you’re in is going to be so helpful as you think through what your next steps are, what you might want to invest in, how you know if you’re ready to go to the next stage. 

In this episode, I’m going to be sharing the advice and opinions that I share with my clients but tend not to share in a forward-facing way because the ideas here are probably counter to what you’ve been hearing and they might even piss some people off. 

The fact is, I know, based on what women are telling me when they apply for The Bold Profit Academy that there are more women who are ready for this message than ever before.

My goal is to help every woman build the business that she wants based on her lifestyle and choices so she can mind her version of freedom, creativity, and expression. And so, I want to be very clear that this is a program for long-term sustainability, for long-term success. 

We do have things in The Bold Profit Academy that will accelerate your revenue but it’s also not a quick fix. So, I know that there are some people out there who are really into quick fixes, six-week programs, learning something, and moving on. We’re dedicated to mastery. That’s not this program. 

Regardless of joining us or not, I want you to review these stages because this is me caring about your mental and emotional health. 

It’s me caring about your financial health. 

It’s me caring about your physical and spiritual health. 

And what I care about the most is women not being used, chewed up, and spit out by internet marketers and gurus. 

I’m here for women to claim their power, build wealth, and change the world. In that order.

 It’s with this energy that I’m opening this conversation around, helping you identify what stage of business you are in and what you might want to be making decisions on because what’s crushing most women is their inability to make a decision. 

The Crisis Stage

Sixty percent of women business owners are experiencing daily worry, meaning anxiety or unease. 

The definition of this is to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. Matter of fact, 60% of you, 60% of women business owners experience daily worry, meaning anxiety or unease allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or trouble, fretting, anxiousness, agonizing, brooding, panic, dwelling on, stewing. 

These are all other words for worry. 

This is affecting your sleep, relationships, your physical and emotional health and it’s debilitating to your cognitive functioning. You do not start your business to feel worried every day and it’s going to make it really hard to have long-term success because living with that level of chronic worry isn’t sustainable.

Let’s get started with this particular stage of business, which I call crisis. 

I want to talk about this because I have been in this stage in business more than once. There is a really good chance that you are in it or will be in it at some point. And I want you to be able to identify when you are in crisis and maybe consider what things you might need to do. 

The worst crisis a business owner can face is not enough money coming in and too much money going out or debilitating mental health issues that are impacting your ability to show up for your business. 

If you need money right now to support yourself or your family, or if your business is harmful to your mental health, I really want to encourage you to go get a job or consider getting a job. 

It doesn’t matter what kind of job on the books, off the books, part time, full time. You decide but please make sure your basic needs are being met. And there is no shame in this. My husband and I have done this. We have worked full-time jobs while starting businesses. We have worked full-time job. We’ve gone closed businesses and gone back to working full-time jobs to make sure that our financial needs were whole so that we can give it another crack. 

There’s no shame in this. 

If your business has taken a toll on your mental health, please find a qualified therapist. 

If this is trauma-related which there’s a good chance it is, please find a therapist who specializes in trauma, consider something somatic or EMDR. You must be able to regulate your nervous system and provide basic needs for yourself. I

f this sounds like you, please give yourself permission to unplug and unfollow business accounts that don’t make you feel great about yourself including this podcast if it’s a problem until you’re feeling like your situation has improved because until then, you’re incredibly vulnerable and that is concerning to me. 

Here’s how I can help you if you are in crisis. 

Any content on Profit First will help you with this and if this sounds like you, if you’re in crisis please DM me on Instagram, I’m @thetaranewman and we’ll get you the appropriate free resources. Please feel free to DM me. I do understand what it’s like to be in this place. 

The Hobbyist Stage

Hobbyist, here’s how you know if you’re a hobbyist. You have an alternate source or sources of income and that isn’t going away. 

Maybe you have a partner that’s got great income coming in and if something happens to them you have some kind of life insurance plan or a plan that will not affect your ability to sustain your lifestyle. That is great. I am not digging in anyone here. 

That’s a great place to be in and if you were there, you know, you’ve probably started this business because you see it as a passion project or a playground. 

You’re happy being a freelancer, a service provider, and you’re not really interested in building structure or planning for growth. 

That is how you would know if you are a hobbyist and hobbyists have to watch what they’re getting sucked into because we want hobbyists to actually be able to enjoy what they’re buildin.

It is a passion project that they are seeing as a playground. They do have another source of income. 

Hobbyists need to set boundaries around their time, have a clear purpose for the money that they are bringing into the business, don’t go into debt for this hobby, use the money you make from the business to serve and support your purpose. Don’t waste your money on tactics and don’t get sucked into unrealistic or silly revenue goals. 

If you need income to support yourself or your family, you are not a hobbyist. 

I see this happen in the online space where they’re like, well, if you have more money going out than coming in, you have a hobby. No, you don’t have a hobby. You have a business that’s in crisis.

 If you need income to support yourself or your family or want a business that is financially capable of doing that, you are not a hobbyist. So, I just really wanted to be very clear about that. 

Here’s how I can help hobbyists. 

This podcast and my high-value emails, which are free and are great resources for hobbyists, all of my programs are business building incubators. 

The Pre-Start-Up Stage

The third stage of business is pre-start-up. 

You’re excited to start learning and growing. 

You’re researching the validity of your idea so initial income can come in.  

You’re opening those bank accounts. 

You’re setting up an entity, obtaining a state business license, and you are most likely still working a full-time or part-time job. I worked a full and part-time job all the way through the initial startup phase of my business because I needed to have money coming in to help me support my family, so that I could relax and go make money. 

It’s very hard to make money when you need money, right?  I just wanted you to hear that. 

Here’s how I can help if you’re pre-start-up. 

This podcast and my high-value emails, which are free and are great resources for hobbyists, my programs are not for people who are taking an idea and getting it off the ground. 

The Start-Up Stage

This is where you are testing ideas, finding out what works, and working on getting to your first $30,000 or $50,000 in revenue as a service provider. 

This is a very messy stage of business and it’s okay. 

You are in the role of what Michael Gerber, who wrote The E-Myth, calls the technician. You’re great at what you do but not as comfortable or confident in running a business that allows you to plan, strategize, and sustain periods of growth, right? 

If you are in the start-up stage and you are moving toward the end of the start-up stage, you would potentially be ready for The Bold Profit Academy at that point. Joining the Bold Profit Academy as you start moving out of startup is ideal and will save you years of growing pains.

Trust me, it’s the exact program I wish I had when I was at this stage, it’s built off of seven years of experience and data working with women service providers who now have functioning businesses and many who have moved on to creating something larger and stepping into a CEO role. 

Here’s how you would know if you are ready for The Bold Profit Academy

  • You have a depth of prior work experience. 
  • You’re on track for $30,000 or $50,000 for the year. 
  • You have enough clarity to be selling an offer. 
  • You’re taking lots of messy action. 
  • Your main priority over the last 18 months or so has been client acquisition. 
  • You’re trying too many things to know what’s actually working. 
  • Your confidence is a bit meh. 
  • Your revenue lacks predictability. 
  • You have committed to your business full-time and want to work a minimum of 20 hours per week. 

You will also be stepping into a container where there is a diverse mix of business owners from the different industries, in experience, and different revenue goals, and all way up to 10 years of experience in their business. 

You are going to be coming in as someone who can learn from others in the group and won’t be intimidated by that environment. 

I talked to a lot of people at this stage where they’re kind of at the tail end of start-up who are very enamored with shiny objects, quick cash revenue goals, but they’re not really sure why they’ve set them. If this is you, you’re not ready for The Bold Profit Academy.

 At some point, you’ll be a bit fed up with the nonsense and want something different but you won’t be sure what that looks like. That’s when you submit an application for The Bold Profit Academy. I’m here for checking your ego at the door, admitting you don’t have all the answers, realizing you’re not going to think your way to clarity, long-term revenue, rock-solid business foundations, moderate growth objectives, process and systems. 

The Growth Stage

Growth is defined as a business that has momentum to it. Money is coming in but things are still messy. They’re getting messier by the day, actually. 

You have momentum but you’re questioning whether or not you can sustain it, in growth. You have taken probably one to three courses that really helped you get things off the ground but now you realize you need more of a foundation/

Or as one client told me, she felt like she had the shiny Ferrari shell but needed to build the engine and we are helping our clients in The Bold Profit Academy really build that engine. 

You most likely have no idea what is working because you’re trying so many things and you’re starting to feel like it’s a bit unsustainable. This is the ideal place to join The Bold Profit Academy. This is where you will get the exact skills you need to simplify your business so you can pay yourself six figures, hire that team, and experience way fewer growing pains than you’re currently experiencing. 

In The Bold Profit Academy, we will teach you how to solve your own problems without creating new ones. Our primary focus is to give women the skills to get to $250,000 dollars in revenue without causing overwhelm or having to implement complicated tactics.

What things look like for you in this phase and how you would know you are ready for The Bold Profit Academy is you have considered burning down your business more than once. 

The initial excitement is wearing off and a deep fatigue is setting in making it hard for you to focus, take consistent action, and have the resiliency to keep going. 

You’re worried and lack of clarity around how you’re managing your money is causing stress and is probably causing stress on the home front as well. 

You have money coming in but you don’t necessarily know where it’s going or what to do with it. It’s starting to feel overwhelming and it’s going to be hard for you to go make more money if you don’t know what to do with the money you already have. 

You are still not that confident in your pricing sell skills and delivery, so you’re selling your services lower than you should be selling them. 

You might be struggling to see your value, afraid people won’t get results when they work with you or will be asked for refunds.

 You don’t know what’s working or not working because you’ve thrown so much spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks. It’s now time to edit. 

You want more. You are an ambitious woman and you have big goals. You want more but there is no way you can achieve more if it continues to feel the way it does right now. 

Those are some of the ways you would know that The Bold Profit Academy is for you. It’s designed specifically for these people, for you. It’s a program unlike any other where I take much of the heavy lifting off your plate and guide you through key growth assignments that help you reduce your workload so you can feel less suffocated and trapped by what was meant to create freedom, increase your revenue with simple strategies so you don’t have to learn every new tactic on the internet. 

Listen, if you are like me, you are a mom who has a lot on her plate, who’s holding a lot of things. Even if you’re not a mom, maybe you have aging parents, maybe you’re a fur parent, whatever you’ve got going on, you don’t have the time for complication or the desire for it. 

You’re going to get a clear plan for your money using the Profit First system, so you can see what you have, where it’s going so you can have financial peace of mind and communicate clearly with your partner. 

We’re going to help you identify the systems and processes you need to grow and stabilize your business with plenty of templates, frameworks, worksheets, and calculators so you don’t have to recreate anything. This is where I’m taking that weight of running a business off of your shoulders.  

And we’re going to help you develop key skills and competencies through implementation and repetition so you can truly sustain your business and any environment or any economy. And that is empowering. 

Many women I speak to feel heaviness around running their businesses. Either they feel they don’t have a business degree or they simply just want to do that thing they love. So, that is really my goal, is to help women like you do the thing you love and take some of that weight and responsibilities of you allowing me to be the guide and provide ways to make your business easier for you to run. 

If that sounds like you and you are ready, I want you to join us today

The Stabilize Stage

I think a lot of people forget to talk about stabilizing before you scale because everybody is so scaling obsessed. But really, we want you to stabilize, it’s where you pit stop before scaling.

You can’t scale what is a complicated mess. Stabilizing is about the efficiency of your business from the finances to the operations, to your team. 

Stabilizing is about making sure you’re maximizing your time and doing less.

It’s about having a process for managing and measuring work. 

I’m going to be very clear because stabilizing and scaling a business is not for everybody. You might stop at growth and you might just go from growth to stabilizing a little bit and back to growth and you’re going to really keep yourself in that sweet spot of $250,000 – $300,000 dollars a year. 

You can be highly profitable and that’s great. I have so many women in The Bold Profit Academy who, that’s their jam and that’s awesome. We just want to make sure that each year, you’re maintaining profitability, you’re making it easier to run your business, you’re keeping things organized and efficient. 

Here’s how you know you’re ready to stabilize. 

You’re ready to mentally, emotionally, and financially make things more efficient. And I say that because a lot of us are over chronic overcomplicators. If you are a chronic over-thinker, a chronic overcomplicator, we need to handle that mentally, and emotionally, so you can stabilize your business. 

That’s why the next few items are listed as you’re willing to: 

  • You’re willing to do the uncomfortable work of narrowing and niching down, you’re willing to do less, stop doing things even if they might be working, right? This is the stage of hard decisions. 
  • You’re willing to make very small incremental shifts and have the patience to see them through. 
  • You’re willing to embrace boring, unsexy chop wood, carry water type of work, you’re willing to park ideas and not execute on every one of them, right? 
  • You are willing to be accountable and take ownership for what you want. 
  • You’re willing to look at different ways you can work so you can expand your capacity. 

Stabilizing and ultimately scaling is not for you if you’re someone who is deeply resistant to goals, systems, taking advice, and structure of any kind, you will not be able to stabilize and scale your business, which is perfectly fine. You can work as a freelancer, or as a solopreneur. You can navigate that space all you want. There is nothing telling you that you have to scale your business, consider this your permission slip to NOT scale your business.

Once you stabilize the business you can either stay in a place of stabilization because it feels good and peaceful or you can scale. This is why in The Bold Profit Academy, we focus on that $250,000 mark. When you reach that amount, you’ll be able to pay yourself six figures and have a decent amount of money to pay your team. 

It’s also when you need to start thinking about cleaning things up and stabilizing so you can decide if you want to grow beyond the $250,000 dollars in revenue.

I’ve been challenged quite a few times over the last year to defend my $250,000 in revenue as a benchmark by people wondering if this is my limited thinking and why not a million because hey, sky’s the limit and abundance mindset. However, let me rain some reality down for a minute. Not everyone wants a million-dollar business. 

You can become a millionaire without a million-dollar business. 

And once you have enough, meaning your needs are met on a predictable and consistent basis, it makes it way easier to set a more than enough goal. 

Not every business or business owner is meant to scale. Most importantly, what I find is that the million-dollar number becomes a distraction and causes panic in business owners when setting a goal which makes it harder to then reach any goal. 

If you were stabilizing or need to stabilize your business, The Bold Profit Academy is a great place for you. You were definitely ready to be in there. This is not a beginner container. Business foundations and fundamentals are relevant at any stage in business. Mastery is required and that is what this container is about. It’s to help you gain the organizational tools and skills to either maintain where you want to be or scale your business. 

At this point also, you would be considering The Bold Money Mastermind, which opens for enrollment in the fall. 

The Scale Stage

Once you’ve stabilized your business by simplifying it, you can then scale it. 

Scaling is about adding more revenue without dramatically increasing expenses or delivery. This is not something that happens overnight but over time as you hone your offers, to be more efficient to increase your lead generation, to increase your conversion. 

Scaling is about doing more of what works. Not about trying new things. 

You’re ready to scale when you have financially planned for expansion, added team, and other growth activities. This is what we work on when we talk about advanced Profit First strategies. 

You understand that you are not your business and your business is not your baby. There is a separation between your identity and the entity which we are doing a terrible job at in this online business space where we monetize our passions and all that stuff. 

In The Bold Money Mastermind, we are taking you from being a service-based business owner to a CEO of something larger. 

CEOs come with all different kinds of brands and flavors. So you have a founder CEO, you have growth CEOs, you have stabilization CEOs, and they come in at different times. It’s not uncommon that you see a larger business fire the founder CEO, fire at the startup CEO, and higher in a growth CEO, and then they get rid of the growth CEO because they need the CEO who can stabilize the business. 

There are different skill sets within that CEO title.

That’s what you have to start to do here as you scale. You have to kill off that startup CEO, who feels so deeply and personally about the business and move into somebody who is more objective at looking at the business. 

In the growth phase, you’re exhausted but as we stabilize, we gain our energy back and in the scale phase, you’re now feeling way more energized about your business and you’re ready to scale it. You have a consistent rhythm to your business. You’re able to take a month off and the business can run itself. 

This is how you know when you can scale. 

The Legacy Stage

The last stage of business is legacy, which is when you have built the thing. You have scaled it. You have handed it over to somebody else to run for you or you have sold it and now you are on to the next thing. 

You’re on to that next part of your career and you’re going to go back to that pre-startup phase but with all the knowledge you’ve gained growing a business to the point of legacy.

I hope there’s a bunch of you who realize you are actually ready to join us in The Bold Profit Academy. I’m really getting excited to meet you and learn about your businesses.