February 18th 2010 was the most exciting time I can remember, with my wife Jacki, bags all packed, nursery decorated, expecting our first child any moment.
I was working in corporate life as CEO and due at a contract meeting with the world’s largest car rental company to sign a long-term agreement for a business we had set up only 6 months prior.
Things were pretty good.
But the next day everything changed forever, as our baby daughter Louise came into this world and left us on the same day.
No one expects death at birth. It was an incredibly tough period for us.
I didn’t want to leave Jacki on her own.
I didn’t want to return to the corporate rat-race, working long hours, all to line someone else’s pockets (don’t get me wrong, I was paid handsomely, but I was just a cog in a giant machine).
Experiencing tragedy makes you look at everything differently; I just wanted to break out of what I’d been doing for years and start helping others, but with Jacki off work we still had the bills to pay.
Despite this, just four months later I left my safe CEO job, still with no plan or idea what to do.
Crazy, right? Let me explain.
When tragedy struck, it dawned on me if our daughter had survived, I wouldn’t have spent much time with her had I still been in my CEO job. I’d have missed the bedtime stories and the Sunday trips to the park because I was either commuting or stuck pouring over another set or reports.
So, I took the brave (or stupid, so family and friends thought at the time) decision to jack it all in.
But I had hit a wall.
For the first time in my life I didn’t know what to do.
I wanted control back, but I had lost my mojo and my confidence, and we had the mortgage to pay.
What I did know was that my family was the most important thing to me.
And time; time to choose what I wanted to do and not be a slave to work or a business.
As an entrepreneur, I am sure you have experienced these fears and feelings at some point.
I didn’t want to have to think, so I bought into a couple of franchise businesses as I knew they gave you a manual on how to run the business.
One lead franchisor said: “leave your intelligence at home and do what we say.” This was perfect for me, and so I started to run these new ventures.
Slowly, I started to get my mojo and confidence back and decided to find ‘my thing’, restart this intelligence I had put to one side, and so joined a Mastermind group.
After a few months, one member said: “Martin, you’re like my scalability coach; you explain something, I do it, and it works – thank you!”
All I had been doing whilst searching for ‘my one thing’ was offering advice and experience based on what had worked for me over the years.
Apparently, this was of real value to the other business owners sat around the table.
This ONE thing was: big business thinking for the SME world.
Really at that point I didn’t realise my knowledge and experience was worth something to others, it all seemed common sense to me.
But to them I had this mountain of knowledge that would help them, and they wanted more of it.
I needed to get it all out of my head in a structured way, create an easily digestible philosophy and system, and reach as many people as I could. I called this my Scale Model™.
And when I did, it started attracting a lot of attention, and those businesses using this system started generating real results.
Today, we’re oversubscribed on a 1-2-1 basis and I have a business that works for me, which means I’ve been able to travel across the world to coach, speak and invest in other opportunities.
I have more time; 3-day weekends, regular holidays, and time to purse new hobbies. I even got my FA coaching badge and have started helping coach under 7’s football with my son and his friends twice a week.
Most importantly, I get to read bedtime stories and share school runs (when Jacki lets me!) with my seven-year-old twins Lily and James.
I don’t know what your definition of success is, but I want to let you know that there’s just 3 things standing between you and the life you deserve, that next level, that reaching the full potential:
(1). Lack of structure.
(2). Business knowledge you have
My passion is to help all the business owners out there who:
- Have tried everything but are still feeling stuck and can’t (or won’t) let go.
- Have spent thousands on programs promising to make them millionaires overnight.
- Continue to work long hours and weekends.
- Go on holiday and sit in the shade glued to their laptops.
- Spend endless hours networking or going on ‘retreats’, but still aren’t where they want to (or should) be.
I know exactly how you feel. I did all that stuff too (I was so desperate once I flew to New Orleans for a conference where I didn’t know a single person just hoping I’d get lucky!).
It’s Louise’s 9th birthday today, and we should be celebrating with her. We cannot change what has happened, but today seems fitting to remind you of two simple things:
(1). Never ever forget why you set up your business in the first place. You are the business, and the business is you.
(2). Here at Advocate, we’ve got your back.
Have a great week.