moneyBy Melanie Benson Strick

Entrepreneurs are a funny breed. We thrive on creative energy. One of my clients told me not too long ago that her number one value was creativity. Which was true – it was the thing she does the most. But does it really serve her to continue to create?

Just like the saying, “A strength overused becomes our greatest weakness,” too much creativity becomes our greatest weakness.

Creativity is just a small part of what makes an entrepreneur successful. We get caught up in the web of “make more, do more” and we never know when to stop.

So, how do we know if we’ve created enough?

During the last year I’ve seen a trend emerge within a small private group of entrepreneurs that I’ve been coaching. I’ve seen them tame the creative beast and transform it into something quite stellar. As they all approach (or pass) their 7 figure goals, they have realized that creativity alone does not make them a success.

What does work however is implementing what I call The CEO Factor. (In case you missed it, CEO stands for Chief Entrepreneurial Officer.) The CEO Factor is where entrepreneurs discover the missing link between a hobby business and a thriving, multi-million dollar empire. Once you realize that creativity alone is not the answer then you have start asking some different questions.

What will position you to have the impact you want to have on the world?
Who do you have to BE to pull off making millions – without giving up your life?
What do you have to do differently to finally achieve your big vision?

Over the years I’ve found there are the four factors that distinguish the big players from the seekers. As you read them, notice which ones you think you already have and which ones you don’t think you’ve achieve yet.

Factor #1: Leverage. We all know we should delegate, have systems and automate to streamline our efforts. But, the kind of leverage I’m talking about here is more advanced. It’s what I call ruthless leverage. This step is where you remove all of the bottlenecks and allow projects, opportunities and leads to flow effortlessly. This stage of leverage requires you to have the CEO Mindset – a willingness to run your company today based on the business you desire (not the one you have now.)

Factor #2: Leadership. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are still doing too much and leading too little. How will you know when you have arrived at your destination if you are rowing the boat? Leaders hold the vision and set the direction. Leaders attract the right players to help achieve the vision. Leaders bring progress and they hold the space for others to step up and do what they do best. Once I realized this and learned that part of leading was about allowing the others on my team to take charge and use their gifts to the best of their ability, I was able to step out of the way from the tasks that drained me and wasted my time and work on fulfilling the bigger vision.

Factor #3: Lifestyle. I’ve always said you can’t stuff a life into a busy business. But you can create a business to support your ideal life. Starting with the end in mind is part of how you know you’ve created enough. If you don’t have an end goal in mind then you’ll continue to drive yourself towards some unknown goal and there will never be an end. This is a common cycle for entrepreneurs but when you get your hands on The CEO Factor Manifesto, you’ll see YOU’RE the one with the power to break it and get back on the right track.

Factor #4: Legacy. As a creative entrepreneur you are going to leave behind a footprint. So think about this for a minute. Is what you are leaving behind something you are proud of? Does it align with your most precious values and priorities? Will you know you completed your life’s work if you stay on the path you are on today? Is it making a difference in the world – to the right people? If it isn’t what steps can you take to change direction and follow what’s in your heart and the big dream you have for yourself?

You see at a certain point our business is just that – a business. Unless we align it with these four factors. The CEO Factor is what positions you for greatness. Not just financially, but in terms of your ability to accomplish your big dreams and leave behind a legacy.

If you apply the principles I’m talking about and you take a whatever it takes attitude to realizing the Lifestyle Business of your dreams, I promise the business you have right now will look nothing like the business you’ll have next year at this time.

Copyright 2008, Melanie Benson Strick and Success Connections

From Sarah: Melanie Benson Strick, The Million Dollar Lifestyle Business Coach, teaches entrepreneurs how to stop feeling overwhelmed so they can create more money, more freedom and more prestige. To find out how close (or how far) you are from the ultimate lifestyle business, take the Free Ultimate Lifestyle Business Quiz->.

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