Do you ever look at other entrepreneurs who are growing their companies by leaps and bounds and wonder how they are doing it? If you want to level up your business, you can’t just take a magic pill and expect overnight results.
There may not be a secret formula for success, but there are some smart tactics you can try. I asked 24 awesome entrepreneurs to share the one thing that made the biggest difference in growing their business.
Some of these ideas are easy to implement, while others may be a bit more scary or difficult. Do what you can and see how the changes pay off. If you try any of these strategies, I’d love if you come back to share your results in the comments. Or, if you’ve leveled up using other methods, please tell us your secrets!
Work Smarter, Not Harder
1. Stop charging hourly.
“I stopped trading time for money. I started creating packages and experiences and setting a flat dollar amount. Then, people were no longer just hiring an hourly helper, but an actual service provider for specific parts of their business. I stopped getting one or two hour jobs and saw my income drastically increase.”
2. Raise your rates.
“I bumped up my rates in early March, and I’ve been able to take on fewer projects while making more money, which lets me focus more fully on each client. Raising what your expertise is worth can be intimidating, but it’s worth the more manageable schedule and happier clients.”
3. Use a retainer model.
“When I was prepping my business for the arrival of my baby, I decided to switch from all one-off, short-term projects, to a retainer model. I like them because I’m able to dig in deeper with each client, which has been really exciting. And now I know the minimum monthly income my biz will generate, so my husband and I can plan around that. (Plus, with the time I’ve freed up, I’ve been able to improve my email marketing and complete a digital product that is bringing evergreen income to my business.”
4. Fire bad clients.
“It’s never easy to let someone go, but I found that getting rid of one to three bad clients freed up my time and energy to be amazingly of service to people who were a better fit. If someone was too difficult, too demanding of my time, or simply contacting me too often, I let them go. Every few months, evaluate whether or not any of your relationships are still working of whether they are conflict-ridden or just aggravating. Up-leveling means releasing people who are no longer of service to you or who you are no longer of service to.”
5. Invest in smart tools.
“The single best thing I’ve ever done so far to level up my business was to spend $5 for Boardbooster to help increase my traction on Pinterest and increase traffic to our website. My last five bucks literally helped me boost my Pinterest profile by 2,000+%.”
6. Automate, automate, automate.
“The best thing I’ve done is automate as much of my business as possible. For example, my to-do list app runs almost entirely on recurring tasks and activity in integrated tools like my clients’ project management apps—I hardly ever need to manually add items to it. As a side hustler, it’s great to be able to get home from my day job and jump right into the real work instead of wasting time on admin and planning.”
Grow and Use Your Network
7. Get to know your customers.
“Spend time getting to know your customers and take an interest in them. Learn about them and their businesses, and share some of your own stories to establish a personal connection and make the customer feel confident in purchasing from you.”
8. Add a business partner.
“Bringing in a partner was the biggest move to level up my business. My business partner brings a whole other perspective to our work as he’s a lawyer and a very conservative business risk taker. For creative types, having someone to keep us accountable and focused is a huge asset!”
9. HIre a coach.
“I joined a high-level business coaching program that includes coaching, training, and a community of fellow entrepreneurs doing transformational work with their clients. I’m getting the support I need from coaches who know and have succeeded in business, much like I provide for my clients. Life has taught me many times that I can do great things on my own, and I can do much greater things with a little help!”
10. Use subcontractors.
“I reached a point where I could no longer take on new clients and more work without putting in a ridiculous number of hours each week. Instead of saying no, I decided to find a younger professional in my field to whom I could subcontract the work. I pay her a reasonable fee that’s still below what I earn on the project. It requires some oversight on my part, but the arrangement allows me to continue adding new clients and gives me time to focus on growing the business even more.”
11. Trust your team.
“I’d say the secret sauce that has allowed me to level up my business recently is having full trust in my team’s abilities to deliver. While I have no actual employees, I work with about 20 various partners and contractors so there is a lot of delegation of tasks. Trusting your team is vital to expansion, and now that I’ve built closer relationships and defined goals with my team, it’s operating a lot more smoothly.”
12. Create a community.
“The single best thing I have done to level up in my business is finding a community. I am an introvert and tried to do it all on my own in the past. This year I decided to change a few things and after getting out of my comfort zone and trying to build meaning relationships and be a part of relevant communities, it has opened lots of doors that will be very beneficial to me in the coming months.”
Change Your Mindset
13. Rewrite your story.
“When I was struggling to uplevel my business, I realized that “I” was the problem. I got quiet and began to journal. I asked myself what my fears were and what was holding me back. I was able to get to the root of the problem. I realized it was an old story of not being worthy and that it no longer served me. I changed my story and my mindset and—bam—my business is on fire.”
Kimberly Capolattaro, Mindful Life Coaching
14. Be more productive.
“I am a procrastinator and though I’m not completely cured of the P-disease, I can confidently say I leveled up in my business by facing my procrastination problem. Leveling up means more than making money or getting new clients, it also means completing tasks that will ultimately help my business grow. When I was in denial of my problem nothing was being accomplished. Now I finish tasks and with each one I check off, my business takes a step forward.”
15. Keep your eye on the ball.
“Do one thing, however small it maybe, every day to move your business forward. It might be sending a tweet to a potential client or adding a testimonial to your site. If you’re consistently performing one task every day with the future of your business in mind, you’ll be moving your business forward 30 steps each month.”
16. Take time to ponder.
“The best thing I’ve done to level my business is to stop and think. Making time to brainstorm crazy ideas is how to grow. We get so caught up in checking off our to-do lists that we never sit back and just think. When I’m too bogged down with an intense work week, I carve out time where I have no choice but to let my mind spin those creative wheels.”
17. Dream big.
“The best thing I did to up level my business was acknowledge I had big dreams and accept I was allowed to pursue those. Once I realized I am just as exceptional, and human, as everyone making Oprah/Beyonce/Marie Forleo money, then I could direct my businesses in a way that aligned with my desires. I felt at ease charging more, working more hours, and talking about my goals and accomplishments. It’s okay to set crazy-high goals no matter where you are in life. The truth is there’s room for all of us to be wildly successful.”
18. Know your limits.
“Take the time to have an honest conversation with myself regarding my own limits. In any business, it’s easy to want to just go go go but knowing your own limits ensures you’ll avoid burnout and consistently put out the best product that you can. If you find yourself struggling to juggle it all—posting promos to Facebook groups, getting content on your website, developing opt-in freebies, etc.—then stop. Identify what gives you the most return on investment and focus on that. The “smaller” bits will fall into place as you continue to build your business.”
19. Make yourself a priority.
“I committed to a high level of self-care. When I started giving my body and mind the time and energy it needed, I was showing up 100% and being fully present with my clients. The results were stronger relationships and a powerfully run business.”
Angela Doucette, Warrior Spirit Coaching
Do What You Do Best
20. Concentrate on your strengths.
“I’ve narrowed down and focused my services around what I do best. I used to offer many different types of design services because I’ve had the experience, but I’ve noticed a trend among my best clients – they always order logo design and branding first, and move on from there. Deciding what I’ll no longer offer to new clients has helped me to streamline my on-boarding process significantly.”
21. Be yourself.
“Being authentic with your audience is critical for growing your business in a way that is both sustainable and enjoyable. If you’re constantly catering to perceived needs of potential clients by tweaking your image, you’ll end up presenting a very discontinuous brand across your entire platform. Additionally, you will be attracting clients that are ultimately non-ideal, ones who you don’t enjoy working with, making your business much more work than it already is.”
22. Cater to the customer.
“The best thing I’ve done to take my business to the next level is redesigning my site to focus on the needs of the customer. Making the site more appealing for visitors is likely why the ratio of visitors to inquiries has more than doubled. Specifically, I moved a video of me talking from the top of the page and replaced it with with a good image and a phone number. I realized a lot of businesses looking for marketing want someone to talk to now, so this just makes their life easier.”
23. Do more content marketing.
“Something that helped us to level up our business has been adding more detailed content to our blog. We began taking questions that our members were having in our Facebook group and answering those comprehensively in a blog post. We answered these questions using video tutorial, text with screenshots, as well as back and forth conversation between ourselves and a student. The results are highly actionable blog posts that speak to our target audience!”
24. Share your knowledge.
“The best thing I did to level up my business was to educate my audience. For the longest time I was only only focusing on promoting my work and my products to my current audience. As soon as I started sharing my knowledge and educating my audience, not only did my following and client base sky rocket, it brought back repeat customers. Becoming an active voice in my field, has been the best thing I have done for my business.”
25. Give more than you get.
“The best thing I did to level up my business was to lead with generosity! I give free talks, free Q&A sessions in Facebook groups and do free calls where I give away a lot of advice. This has people giving me referrals, writing beautiful testimonials, and signing up for my services because they’re left wondering “If the free stuff is this good… what will I get when I pay her?”
Think Like a CEO
Tired of checking things off your to-do list, yet feeling totally stalled? Use this checklist to craft meaningful goals that actually move your business forward.