by Lara Eastburn
If you spend any time in business groups online, you've heard the ambitious and dialed-in wax on about "leveling up."
In my early years of business, I found the phrase perplexing. I just never really understood what everyone was talking about. I knew it generally meant to grow - or get better at - business.
Okay. Just like everything else in life, I didn't get it until it started happening to me.
Which is, like, right now. So, I thought I'd share what I think I know for those of you who might find yourselves in similar places.
Read on for what I think "leveling up" is, how it happens, and the signs to look for to get ready for it.
What It Is
Leveling Up: The illustrious - and often elusive, ephemeral goal - of growing your business to a benchmark you can point at and say, "Boom! I achieved that goal. What's next?"
Such benchmarks are measured in terms of income, time, and/or ability to hire. For instance, you might consider yourself to have "leveled up" when you reach a certain monthly income, can charge enough to work less hours, or when there is demand and structure enough to warrant hiring a team. Or any combination of the above.
Leveling up denotes having amassed an amount of experience in business that allows operating the business to become noticeably, measurably, less pain-inducing. It generally means you get to the point where you get to do LESS of the parts of business you don't like.
And no matter how YOU might frame leveling up, that should sound like a pretty rad goal.
So, um HOW does that happen, exactly?
Signs You're About To Level Up
It SEEMS like it was overnight. It's exciting! All of a sudden, they need new shoes and new clothes. Nothing fits anymore. Similarly, you'll find you suddenly need more sophisticated tools for managing your projects and responsibilities.
Next my growing girls trip and fall down a lot. Imagine growing a couple inches so quickly! They've got to adjust legs that are taller, modify their stride, and settle into a changed form.
You will, too. No matter how well you've accommodated your "new" business, it'll take a minute to settle into a new groove.
Finally, my girls enjoy a brief period of being where they are. Until the process begins all over again.
How To Do It
"Leveling Up" is a term that comes, of course, from gaming. Even if you're like me, and your entire video game experience consists of playing Mario Brothers once when you were 8, you'll see the parallel.
You advance to the next level of the game once you've "mastered" a certain set of skills required by each level. Said mastery is almost always a matter of repetition.
Once you've leveled up, the game appears "harder." But like the level before it, the only task is to add new skills to those you've acquired.
That's why bombing a launch, or failing at your first Facebook ad, can feel a lot like Pinky just caught up with your PacMan.
Every time your PacMan bites it, you're presented with two options: "Play Again?" or "End Game?"
But only one path leads to leveling up, doesn't it?
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