How often have you been told to stay in your lane?
As an entrepreneur, having laser-sharp focus is so critical. I can’t afford to be all over the place, doing a hundred different things at once, and I think this is what separates six- or seven- (or higher) figure entrepreneurs from those who don’t make it; they don’t try to be a solopreneur. One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re starting out is that they try to do everything by themselves, all at once. They try to take care of sales and marketing, systems and operations, customer care and support, and even product creation.
I don’t blame them. Starting out can give someone such an adrenaline rush. It can make you feel unquestionably powerful and incredibly capable. However, this boost of adrenaline is the same reason so many businesses crash and burn after just a few months; the energy plummets, the drive is gone, and all the resources have been used up.
Ergo, focusing on one identity at a time is crucial if you want to make it as an entrepreneur.
FINDING YOUR LANE: 5 IDENTITY LEVELS
What you need to understand is that there are 5 different identity levels needed when running a conscious business. The trick is knowing where you’re at and focusing primarily on that identity. You’re not supposed to be anything else or do anything else unless you’re a hundred percent ready for a complete identity shift. It isn’t necessarily a hierarchy; you could start as one and end up as another, or you could content yourself with just one identity for the entirety of your run. It’s up to you.
My goal is to help you understand how each level functions and what it entails from the entrepreneur so that you can clearly see where you’re currently at.
Level 1: Seeker | Creator | Idea
The first level is all about the concept behind the business. Being a Seeker means being a Creator; you have this pull to create something tangible. You also have to be the Ideas Person. A lot of us are actually really good at being this person. I mean, once you’re inspired, you can conceptualize even the craziest of ideas into a plausible concept. And as we are beings of infinite imagination, there’s rarely a shortage of ideas.
The problem happens when we let ourselves get carried away. Concepts are great starting off points, but you won’t get anywhere on ideas alone. You need something tangible, otherwise your idea remains exactly that; just an idea.
Level 2: Salesperson | Seller | Product
The next identity you need to shift to is the Salesperson identity. You need to understand how to get people to buy your products. You need to understand how to sell, without all the negative connotations and stigma around being a salesperson holding you back. I know not a lot of people are comfortable with selling, but it’s a big part of the business. You can only actually earn through a business by monetizing your message and moving your products.
Level 3: Marketer | Promoter | Reputation
The next identity after Salesperson is Marketer. This identity has a completely different focus and comes from a completely different perspective from that of a Salesperson or a Seeker, and a lot of entrepreneurs also find it quite difficult to step into this identity. I, personally, have always struggled with stepping into the identity of a Marketer or Promoter. You have a lot to think about as a Marketer, not least of which is the reputation of your brand.
Level 4: Builder | Process-Driven | Systems
Your fourth shift will be into the Builder’s identity. This is the process-driven, systems-driven identity that you need in order to actually automate your business. You need a system that you can easily plug people into without you having to be one hundred percent involved, 24/7. Having systems in place for operations, sales, marketing, promotion, creation, and the like means that your business can actually function—and earn—without you. Shifting into the Builder identity means focusing on how to eventually remove yourself from your company.
Level 5: Operator | Manager | Team
The fifth and final identity is the one you need to actually reach the millionaire mark. This is the Operator. This is the identity that manages the team, runs the systems, and manages the processes. This identity is crucial for your team. Even if there are systems in place and different people handling different identities, it all falls apart unless there’s an operator to hold everyone accountable.
STAYING IN YOUR LANE
Ideally, you finish one identity—you learn all there is to learn about that particular stage, you gather the skills you need—before shifting over to the next. So you start out with an idea (SEEKER), you conceptualize it, and then you learn how to monetize it and sell it (SALESPERSON). With enough sales done, you shift over into promoting your idea (MARKETER) to earn more revenue. Once your business starts growing, you have to shift your focus from selling your product to systemizing your business (BUILDER). You shift into an identity that is process-driven and systems-driven. After that, you have to shift your focus again to include your team (OPERATOR). Ideally, it’s a hierarchy.
Here’s the thing, though; we’re usually naturally one identity. Some of us are born Operators. Others are born Salespeople, Marketers, or Builders. We’re often born naturally one identity, which is why we find it so hard to shift into the other identities.
If you find you really can’t, don’t force it. This is when you find people who are naturally the identity you can’t be. If you absolutely can’t be a Salesperson, find someone who is naturally that identity. If you love giving ideas but you can’t realize them, find a Builder and Marketer.
Shifting identities or finding people who fit that identity may seem so easy. It sounds ridiculously simple when you put it on paper and categorize it into levels. But here are some numbers to prove how difficult it really is to put to practice. There are 29 million businesses in the US alone. 17 million never make it past $30,000. 6 million of them earn between $30,000 and $100,000. This means that 23 million out 29 million are actually under six figures. There are only 4 million businesses—out 29 million—earning between $100,000 and $1,000,000. So roughly 27 million out of 29 million aren’t hitting the million-dollar mark.
If you’ve hit the million dollar mark in your business, then you’re doing okay. Will following this 5-Level Layout Plan automatically launch you to a million dollars? Theoretically speaking, yes. Focusing entirely on one identity at a time can guarantee great results. But you’ll never really know for sure where you stand and what you’re lacking until you put this theory into practice.
So I urge you to take some time and meditate. Study the five levels and find your lane.