A Conversation with Joseph Warren and Geoff McLachlan
Geoff McLachlan lives in Coeur De Lane, Idaho, a wonderland tucked away in the mountains. He calls it Narnia, based on the fantastical world of C.S. Lewis. And being from rural Idaho, Geoff says people own a lot of guns. Shotguns, rifles, pistols, you name it.
Now what does any of this have to do with being an entrepreneur?
Geoff is a public speaker and founder of Professionals at Play. He travels the country speaking to professionals and students inspiring them to believe in themselves. He’s currently making about $120,000 a year. That’s in the top 10% of professional speakers.
When he started, he made $5,600… in his first year.
How did Geoff go from $5,600 to $120,000? He explains it in terms of guns. He says you can either approach business with a shotgun or a rifle. A shotgun spreads out and can hit a broad target. But a rifle requires precision. A shotgun is great for shortrange target. But if you want to hit something far away, you need a rifle.
It’s the same for business. You need precision and a steady aim if you want to hit far away goals like becoming a $120,000-a-year speaker. Here’s how to apply a rifle mentality to your business.
Be amazing at your craft
When Geoff started out, he practiced his speeches in front of a mirror over 100 times. He worked on his posture and his hand motions. He repeated his key stories over and over again until he’d completely memorized them.
All this practice made him competent and confident. He was able to step on stage and wow his audiences. His clients gave him rave reviews, which allowed him to charge higher prices.
Startup Nation, whether you’re a writer, a salesperson, or a programmer, you must practice your skills if you want to make your first $100K.
Stay consistent with your one thing
Too many entrepreneurs get distracted by shiny objects. You start managing Google Ads for a local law firm and then think you can make some side money showing off shoes as an Instagram Influencer. But an “entrepreneur” who has four failing side hustles isn’t an entrepreneur at all.
Think about how Geoff practiced his speaking skills. You can’t practice five different skills for hours at a time. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Decide what you’re going to be excellent at and focus.
But even if you’ve chosen the right business, how do you know your effort isn’t being wasted? You have to focus on growth and goals. In other words, measure success by the numbers. The numbers won’t lie.
In Geoff’s journey from $5,600 to $120,000, he grew his business step by step. In his second year, he made $17,000. But momentum often follows an exponential graph. He build on his early foundations and eventually reached his current level of success.
Seek people who can help you out
The best way to adopt a rifle mentality is to find someone to keep you accountable. Geoff says finding a coach improved his speaking skills two or three times what they were at the beginning. The coach helped him craft his verbiage and stage presence. They worked on tone of voice.
Sometimes it’s hard for entrepreneurs to look past a coach’s price tag. The best coaches charge premium prices because they provide premium services. But as Geoff says, it’s an investment. He spent a few thousand dollars on his coach. But look at the difference! A few thousand dollars in coaching led to a $105,000 a year increase in revenue. That’s a great return on investment.
KEY TAKEAWAY: To make your first $100K, apply a rifle mindset to your business strategy. Avoid distracted, inconsistent shotgun approaches.
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