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Rich one day & broke the next? Inconsistent income finally explained

Rich one day & broke the next? Inconsistent income finally explained

All entrepreneurs experience a period of inconsistent and irregular financial performance. If you run or own a business, you’ll know exactly what it feels like.

One month, you’ll be on top of the world thinking “I’m rich!”. You’ll barely be able to resist the impulse to go out and eat at five-star restaurants, order leather furniture, cuban cigars and hire a full time clown… or is it just me who wants entertainment staff who juggle??

Next month, you’ll be on the bones of your ass, eating bread dipped in anything runnier than bread. Meals with two colors in will seem gourmet!

Ok, maybe I’m over exaggerating. It’s probably not that bad. And yet, all entrepreneurs experience a period of up and down financial performance.

So what is it inside our brains that makes this bull**** happen?

Why does your business have a profit statement that goes up and down like a yo-yo?

The answer is, because you’re an ass!

Don’t get offended – I don’t mean ass like “asshat”… I’m talking about this guy:

Newsflash: Not ALL donkeys are hideous Yes, I’m calling you a donkey!

(By the way, including a cute animal pic auto-magically means this article will get 10,000 page views… right?)

Motivation is what makes entrepreneurs get off the couch and make dollars. As humans, we’re pretty similar to donkeys when it comes to motivation.

We’re driven and fired up by both the carrot and the stick. For entrepreneurs, the carrot is always “wealth, freedom & happiness” and the stick is “poverty and failure”.

We’re motivated to take action to avoid poverty, plus we’re driven to gain wealth. Towards what we want – away from what we don’t want. There’s a balance to our motivation… or is there?

Successful entrepreneurs have a slightly (but all important) psychological point-of-difference to all the wannabes.

The mega-stars of business focus on more carrot and forget about the stick.

The people who get stuck in a never ending cycle of “I’m rich… aaaand now I’m poor again” are the ones who are primarily driven by the stick.

Their financial performance looks like this:

Your financial performance?Whenever income crosses over that comfort line of “enough”, it quickly dips back down again. Time and time again.

Why? Because this is the graph of someone who is only motivated by the stick. Once they’ve run further enough, they forget about it!

They may tell themselves they want the big success of a truly successful entrepreneur… but the reality? Once all the bills are paid and they have enough for a six-pack, they virtually check out. No more motivation – back to the couch!

To create an income graph with a smooth curve, upwards to 6 and 7 digits, an entrepreneur must be driven by the big carrot in the sky. Plus, they must never fear the stick.

Once you avoid the stick (not having “enough”), it’s easy to get complacent.

Having a clear vision of the huge, long term carrot…. that’s what makes the difference.

Escape the cycle! Chase the carrot!

What do you think? Have you ever caught yourself fleeing the stick like an ass? I know I’ve been there…


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  1. There’s another reason this income roller coaster occurs in the freelancing world (I wrote about it in the Unlimited Freelancer), and it’s insidiously common. We call it the feast or famine cycle.

    Freelancers get work and go crazy with it, laughing all the way to the bank. In the meantime, they’re not marketing their services – they’re booked solid! Why should they?!

    …they should, because eventually, those projects are over and the clients are gone, and the freelancer’s starting to wonder why no one’s around. So it’s scramble-market time, fast fast hurry, and then…

    … that pays off. And the freelancer’s crazy busy again. So he forgets to market and…

    You see how this goes. Not lack of motivation – just pure and simple forgetfulness that there’s more than here and now.

    Which is not to say that your post’s point isn’t valid – I think it is. Just presenting another reason – now you can tell me why freelancers forget the future’s coming 😉

  2. I know the exact phenomenon you’re talking about James – I’ve seen it in sales people of all kinds in the corporate world, as well as startups and solopreneurs.

    It’s short-term stressful… and just plain ol’ destructive over time.

    Why do freelancers forget the future is coming?

    Psycho-analysists would call it “Secondary Gain”… the semi-unintentional positive benefits of not thinking about the future.

    Simple put: Its more COMFORTABLE.

    You’re a freelancer – you’ve got work on, it feels good… you feel (and maybe look) like a rockstar.

    In that moment, if you stop and think “… but what about next month?” then the good feeling goes away and you’re left with that intestine gripping, vice-o-fear!

    … most people will work to avoid that, even if it means producing self sabotage and a permanent wave pattern on their earnings graph!

    The smart ones? They’ll feel the fear and think about next month anyway… while screaming “Bring it on!!”

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