How To Break Through Three Top Obstacles To Getting to $1 Million Guest Author A guest blog by Elaine Pofeldt, author of The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business. Since the release of my book The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business, I’ve enjoyed holding several panel discussions with entrepreneurs featured in the book and and business owners whom I’ve met since writing it, who have also broken the million-dollar mark before hiring any employees. Often, members of the audience ask me afterward for advice on how to overcome obstacles they are facing to achieving high revenues. Here are the three most common ones, with some thoughts on how to break through them, by drawing on what I learned from entrepreneurs in the book. Obstacle #1: I don’t have access to capital. Having a pipeline to startup cash can be a powerful advantage, but it’s not mandatory to success. Most of the entrepreneurs in the book started out on a shoestring. In some cases, the entrepreneurs self-funded by relying on their own labor or money from a day job to fuel the business. That was the case with entrepreneurs such as Laszlo Nadler, who had a full-time job as a project manager at a bank while launching Tools4Wisdom Planners, an Amazon store that sells daybooks. He kept his day job for two years after starting out and has built the business to $2 million in annual revenue. At Brooklinen, one of the businesses that has now grown to more than 20 employees, founders Rich and Vicki Fulop persuaded family members to help in funding their direct-to-consumer sheet store initially, then raised money by pre-selling the linens they sell on Kickstarter. Finally, when the business was growing rapidly, they raised venture capital. We all have unique circumstances in our lives. Fortunately, what I’ve learned is there are many creative ways to find money if you are serious about starting or growing a business. Obstacle #2: I’m can’t break six-figures revenue, let alone seven. Don’t give up yet! Many of the entrepreneurs in the book didn’t hit six-figure revenue until their third or fourth year in business, because. Some started their business as a side hustle or didn’t nail their business model on the first try. Just because you’re bringing in less than $100,000 now, it doesn’t mean your business does not have growth potential. If you find your sales are climbing, even incrementally, analyze what you’re doing that’s working and try to amplify that. De-emphasize activities that don’t help the business grow. What if you’re making very little money or bringing in less than you did when you first started out? You may have to do some experimenting to find a business model that works better for you. Many entrepreneurs in the book experimented with products and services that didn’t sell and pivoted away from them in favor of pursuits that helped the bottom line more. Obstacle #3: My business is growing, but I’m working 24/7—and want my life back! Although many of the entrepreneurs I interviewed had seasons of imbalance, they eventually course-corrected and got back control of their schedules. Colin and Angie Raja, who run RIMSports, a fast-growing ecommerce store based in New York City, are a good example. In one panel discussion, they shared how they worked late into the evenings their first year in their sporting goods business. Eventually they realized that to restore their work-life balance and make more time for family and friends, they had to step outside of daily operations. They began documenting exactly how they wanted key tasks done in their business so they could outsource it, first to contractors, and later to their first employees. Now that they have enlisted other to help them, they have freed up a lot of time. As the Rajas other entrepreneurs I’ve met through the book have taught me, when you run an ultra-lean business, you, as the founder, are a precious resource. If you let yourself burn out, you won’t be able to achieve your business goals. By giving yourself time to recharge, you’ll be surprised at how much better your decisions are—and how much more quickly your business grows. Author Bio Elaine Pofeldt is an independent journalist who specializes in small business, entrepreneurship and careers. Her work has appeared in FORTUNE, Money, CNBC, Inc., Forbes, Crain’s New York Business and many other business publications and she is a contributor to the Economist Intelligence Unit. She is the author of The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business, a look at how entrepreneurs are hitting seven-figure revenue in businesses where they are the only employees, tapping automation and other technology to scale their efforts (Random House, 2018). As a senior editor at FORTUNE Small Business, where she worked for eight years, Elaine was twice nominated for the National Magazine Award for her features and ran the magazine’s annual business plan completion. During her time at FSB, she ran the magazine’s website, fsb.com, for four years, building its traffic from two to five million page views a month.