Small business stats are astounding!
95% of adults in the US are employees, which means that only 5% of adults in the US start a small business.
Of that 5%, only 33% ever make it past the 5-year business mark. And only 8% of that 33% will ever make it past the quarter million annual revenue mark.
So what’s the difference? What makes a business grow like that, and how do we get more business owners past that quarter million mark?
The businesses that grow beyond the standard have business owners that take time to level themselves up.
One major part of leveling up is being a student.
But let’s be honest, if you’re an entrepreneur then you already know you need to be a student.
You know that you need to show up for events, sign up for classes, and read business books to grow your company. But what took me years on the violin to learn is that there is a certain aspect of the student mentality that is the true key to being able to grow.
The Student Moment Mentality - Learning the Violin
The best way I can explain this mentality is by telling you about part of my violin journey.
A Quick Caveat:
I’m not talking about the “stay up until 3 AM in the library pretending to cram for your exam while laughing with your friends.” mentality. This goes deeper than the surface-level college student jokes.
I was doing all the right things while learning more about the violin last year. During COVID there were tons of events, masterclasses, and online lessons that I was getting involved with. Atop all that, I was practicing for a solid 1-3 hours a day every single day. You’d think that would give me a ton of progress!
The problem was that I was just trying to get to the next level and the next song/book/technique.
One particular instance of this was when I was learning a kind of note called staccato. It’s quite difficult, and I didn’t like it because it didn’t sound beautiful and was difficult to get right. And as soon as my instructor gave me a piece that was full of staccato, I got frustrated and tried my best to blaze through the song and the rest of the lesson book (which was full of “beautiful” songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star… Yeah, not the most fun lesson book for anyone!).
The point is that I was racing through each step because I just wanted to get to the destination and get where I wanted to go. I was striving for the future without leaning into each individual moment.
Eventually it caused a lot of technique issues for me, and I stalled out my progress half way through the book I hated because I’d ignored the foundational lessons I had needed to learn.
Ultimately, I had to stop and spend a solid 2-3 months working on the basics: the foundational lessons I’d raced through the first time.
Here’s what happened when I stopped and let myself lean into the moment of each lesson:
When I started working with a new instructor after spending those months on the foundational aspects of playing, her first response to hearing me play was to skip me from lesson book 2 to lesson book 4!
In other words, when I went from looking at the songs as “How quickly can I finish this?” to “What can I learn from this?” I created the ability to skip an entire book in 2-3 months (It took me over a year to get through book 1 and half of book 2!).
My point is, let yourself lean into the lessons in each moment you’re there.
As entrepreneurs, we might not be skipping or rushing through songs. But we sit here thinking “if only I could get to a quarter/half/full million, I could get to the next level in my business and everything would be better. I’d be happier.”
The truth is, we won’t be happier as long as we are living only for the future.
Sometimes we have to slow down and give ourselves space (Something that I KNOW is hard, I’m an entrepreneur too!). The periods where we do that are the periods we will find we’re experiencing the most growth.
So yes, being a student is about getting coaches and going to events and buying courses. But it’s also about giving yourself the space to relax into the moment and learn what you can where you are.
If you want to grow your business, give yourself the space to have a student’s moment mentality!