Almost a decade ago, I met “Hannah.” Our businesses were at about the same amount of revenue, and we connected over this. She was in the middle of creating a new product and I had a feeling it was going to be a huge hit. And ohhhh boy was I right.
When Hannah opened the doors to her new product, she was SLAMMED. She went from having 500 people on a webinar to over 3,000 people. None of her software systems could handle it. One of the webinars where she sold this product crashed because of how many people were trying to join it, and that day she got over 500 angry, vitriolic emails from people mad they couldn’t get into her free training.
Can you imagine the stress she and her small team were under having to reply to all those nasty emails? And the stress of disappointing so many people with a tech glitch that was completely out of your control? Wow.
I had an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at this capacity crisis because she would voice-message and text me about it all the time, crying with anxiety and stress. Those 3,000 people were only just the beginning. Pretty soon, those numbers were climbing to 10,000 and more. Her business went from low multiple six figures in revenue per year to over a million in less than 8 months.
That many people wanting what she was offering meant she had to expand her team. Hannah was used to having a small team: one VA and one tech VA, plus her. Now she had to hire a COO, a Marketing Director, Facebook Ads managers, several customer service people to answer questions from customers, Facebook group moderators, and a better financial manager.
That year, three entire teams quit on her. She was going through teams faster than a Real Housewives binge-a-thon. No one could last for more than three months. Why?
Because Hannah was a ball of anxiety. Her hair was falling out, she was breaking out in hormonal acne all over her face because her hormones were thrown off by the stress. She would frequently snap and verbally abuse her team members. She felt horrible about it, but she was so stretched thin, she didn’t know how to stop it.
She was making more money than ever before, but she was miserable. A year later, I heard she and her husband went into couples therapy. The stress of that rapid expansion of her business had started to strain her marriage. Within two years of her business skyrocketing, her marriage was over. In the third year, she shut the whole business down and took a year to go to intensive therapy.
So where is Hannah now?
She’s in a much better place now, running a new successful business. She actually hired me shortly after shutting down her business and worked with me for a year to build her capacity to match her level of success. Her current business is once again in the seven-figure territory, but it’s so much more sustainable. She’s found a solid team, she’s a better manager, and she takes many vacations with her new husband, with whom she has a beautiful relationship. She has a good life, and more importantly, she can now HANDLE the big success coming her way.
This is why you hear me speak ad-nauseam about how prioritizing your capacity is equally as important as your strategy.
We have this faux idea that success will take all of our woes away. In reality, success amplifies whatever issues you have. People often say “oh they became a different person when they became successful”. That’s not true. All success did was magnify the capacity deficits that were already there but were ignored.
And let’s face it, you ignore lots of your capacity deficits. Everyone does it. Everyone wants the bling, the seven figures, the big impact, and influence. But most people don’t stop to ask themselves if they actually have the capacity to match what they want. Because it’s not fun work to have to step out of your fantasy and into the reality of “what do I need to have in place to actually make this fantasy come true?”
It’s more fun to pretend someone’s seven-step system for success will do the work for you and finally give you the “edge” you need. But in reality, if you don’t have the capacity to match what you want, you’re not even going to implement that seven-step success system.
It’s why so many people sign up for the gym at the beginning of the year and by April the gym is empty again. Or why people sign up for masterminds that promise a NY Times bestseller… yet a year later, where’s your NY Times bestselling book?
The strategy wasn’t the problem. Your capacity was.
You can have the success you want, but you need the capacity to handle that success or you’ll turn into a one-hit-wonder. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be Tina Turner, getting better with age and still making hits, than that one Chumbawamba song playing on an old jukebox in a forgotten diner off the side of the road.
You can get the top 10 hit once, but to leave a legacy like Tina, what you need isn’t more strategy, it’s capacity.
Ps: if you’re ready to do that deeper dive into expanding your Capacity, that’s what we work on EVERY month in Capacity Shift™. One participant just signed two new clients at her new higher rate last week, another just found out her company is headed for 7 figures, another finally hired a nanny so she can focus more on growing her business and yet another participant had her first $40,000 month. Learn more about Capacity Shift and enroll here.