In my last post, I mentioned that if you don’t figure out your process and set an hourly rate that reflects your time and value, you’re never going to make it to daylight. Today, I explain what “Driving for Daylight” means and what it can do for your business.
I’m a huge Motor Sport fan. As such, many drivers often refer to the concept of “driving for daylight.”This means the driver never looks back, he’s always focused on what’s ahead. He fixes his eyes on the furthest thing he can see and continuously pushes toward it.I love this as a metaphor for running a web design business. You can’t look back. You must fix your eyes on your biggest goals and constantly push forward.When you land a new project, you must immediately ask yourself, “What’s the next thing?”You can’t slow down, you can’t rest, you can’t take time to examine past project mistakes. If you’re always doing things that are within arms reach, you’ll probably end up falling flat on your butt.You must see so far ahead that you have no choice but to push forward. The best part is that, eventually, you get there.
When I was younger, I was an art student who was great with computers. Naturally, I gravitated toward a graphic design degree. To my disappointment, it turned out that the program was more focused on designing books and going into publishing. I didn’t want to do that.Despite the fact that I had very little training in web design, I was interested in web and digital. I didn’t let my lack of training or experience hold me back. Creating websites became my daylight and I drove toward it as hard as I could.By my 3rd year of school, I got a web design job with a local business. I convinced them I could do web design and that I was fully qualified. Somehow, I got the job, and I just started doing the work. Because I lacked training, I spent a lot of time on forums learning as much as I could connecting with the web design community.I gritted my teeth and got through it all. Eventually, I helped my boss’s web business take off.The problem is that when you drive for daylight, you reach it at some point, forcing you to seek new daylight. After working fulltime for someone else for a while, I decided to go legit in 2011 and started my own business, Summit Web Design.
A key to the “Driving for Daylight” strategy is understanding that you can’t do everything yourself. This was a lesson I quickly learned when I started my own business.I knew I was a great graphic designer, but not a good developer. My time would be wasted trying to learn how to do development, so I went out and found someone to do it for me.Imagine you’re a driver with no pit crew. You’d be in the pits changing the tires, putting the fuel in the car, driving the car, handing the bottle of water, checking time, checking stats, doing everything.If you just go, go, go with your head down, you’re going to fall behind. You’re going to look up and you’ll have no cash because you didn’t sell anything.Eventually, you’d run out of steam.This is true in your business as well. Learn to trust. Learn to let go. Learn to drop the ego. You’re not the best at everything.You’ve got to bring in people who allow you to do what you do best. You’ve got to get a good crew together so that you can focus on the bigger picture. If you don’t, you’re going to miss opportunities.
So how do you get there? What if you can’t afford to hire someone into your pit crew right now?Understand how much it costs, then make it your daylight. Look at how many sites you need to sell to make the money for a new employee, then work backward. If hiring a partner will cost you $10,000, then you know you need to sell five $2,000 projects (or better yet, one $10,000 project).If you know 50% of your clients sign when you’re pursuing leads, this tells you that you need to book ten client meetings to close five deals. Make the calls, set up the clients, then get out there on Monday morning and start selling.I hear you saying, “great theory, but it’s not that easy!” Here’s an example: I knew I needed to bring on recurring revenue and I needed to do SEO. I’m a graphic designer. I don’t want to deliver mediocre services, so I tested some new staff on my own websites and once they had proved themselves I took them on full time so they could do what they did to my website for my clients.
I approached my clients to offer them a new service and sold it. Within a week, I had a handful of current clients signed on with my new SEO service.
There’s power in moving an idea forward quickly. Move yourself. Find the daylight and drive for it.Whether you’ve think you’ve got the proper training or not, driving for daylight is all about going out there, slamming the pavement, and putting in the work.When I want to do something, I pick it up and drive it forward. I don’t wait around.I listened to people tell me to pick a niche for over two years. One morning, I finally decided I was done wasting time. I literally woke up and said to myself, “Today, I am picking a niche.” I chose tradesmen as my focus.I came up with the idea in September, had the branding done by October, had a website build by November, and went to market in December.Stop wondering if others will approve. Stop wondering if it’s a good idea. Who cares what everyone else says? Are you passionate about it? Then just move forward.I’d love to hear about your daylight. What are you driving toward in your business? Leave a comment below and let me know your experience.
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