At age 12, I opened my very first business:
A basket full of cool toys, which I rented out to my three younger brothers.
“This will make me a ton of money,” I thought. “How could it fail?”
Cool toys (like Ninja Turtles) were 50 cents an hour. Dumb toys were 10 cents an hour.
I called it the “Trade-a-Center.”
Within hours of startup, my business was already falling apart… I was fighting with my customers (i.e., my brothers), scolding them for breaking shit, haggling over the prices. I couldn’t sustain revenue. I quickly gave up and retreated to my bedroom to type up my latest fictional stories.
Those were the early seeds of my entrepreneurship!
(Never mind that my people skills weren’t that great… and my business model wasn’t sustainable.)
Instinctively, even at 12, I knew I needed some sort of “system” that would generate money on autopilot.
But I couldn’t figure out how to actually CREATE that system. (Turns out, it’s not my job to create them… it’s my job to improve upon EXISTING systems!)
Fast forward… I forgot about the idea of systems…and didn’t touch it again until almost 15 years later.
In my 20s, I began working with actual home business owners who were successfully making 6 or 7 digit profits off their biz, through “systems.”
They were selling products (some were selling services)… and the customers kept coming back.
“Fascinating,” I thought. “Why is this working so well?”
I kept studying, and kept doing hands-on work with these clients — writing and editing.
I noticed a clear pattern: those businesses that had good systems in place (e.g., sales funnels) made the most sales, consistently, over time.
Those who didn’t, floundered and struggled endlessly.
One of my early clients didn’t have ANY systems in place at all…but she had a great product. She was basically re-inventing the wheel every time a new customer came in the door! She found herself exhausted, depleted, burned out.
(And I quit working with her, because I just couldn’t handle her stressed out energy anymore.)
It was all a massive learning experience for me, a budding entrepreneur/writer, who was beginning to discover what it takes to create a sustainable home business.
The essential key was, “Do more of what works. Scrap what doesn’t work.”
Turn that into a system… then work to consistently refine and improvement the system over time.
Every piece of the system must work (i.e., do its job) properly — and must be in its proper place.
Otherwise, chaos ensues.