Feel like you’re on the road to nowhere? The chances are that you’re hanging out with the wrong crowd. Here’s why finding the right community is so important to your growth as an accounting firm owner.

They say that you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. You’ve probably heard the theory that every individual is a sum of their five closest friends, and there’s a reason that motivational speakers love to cite this wisdom so much: it’s true.

In my experience, accountants and bookkeepers fall into two categories: the 1% and the 99%.

The 99% are content with the status quo. They don’t strive to better themselves each and every day, both personally and professionally. Their lives are not underpinned by the intention to grow and develop as a business owner.

The 1%, on the other hand, know that running a firm is not about being an accountant, but running a business. These are the firm owners who work hard every day to grow, learn and improve. The way that they do this is primarily by surrounding themselves with the right people.

Being a part of the 1% is a lifestyle. If you want to grow every single day, the first thing you need to do is find the right community.

The Power of Social Influence

Business coach Dan Pena – aka the “50 billion dollar man” – famously said “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

This claim sounds slightly eerie, but there’s science to back it up. The Framington Heart Study is an ongoing study that examines the causes and history of certain diseases. Analysis of the data found that individuals with a friend who smokes are 61% more likely to smoke themselves.

Similarly, the data showed that when a smoker’s spouse successfully quits smoking, they became 67% more likely to stop, too.

However much we might like to think of ourselves as strong-willed and independent, there’s no denying that we are heavily influenced by those around us.

If you want to achieve success as an accounting or bookkeeping firm owner, you need to create the right environment.

When I started my journey as a business owner back in 2009, I didn’t know any of this. I didn’t hang out with ambitious people who were constantly seeking to better themselves, or who were further along in their journey than me.

Instead, I had friends who would encourage me to abandon work in order to spend my afternoons drinking tea and gossiping, or spend my evenings in the pub so that I’d be too tired to work at my best the following day.

I wasn’t living my life in a way that enabled me to be a part of the 1% and have the business that I wanted. That was largely due to the fact that I was keeping the wrong company.

It may sound like I’m blaming others, but I’m not. The fault was all mine, because I was surrounding myself with the wrong people. I wasn’t setting myself up for success.

How the 1% Live

So what’s the difference between the 1% and the 99%?

Instead of discussing last night’s TV, the 1% talk about psychology, client acquisition and how to run a better business. They see every conversation as a learning opportunity.

The 1% don’t invite you to the pub on Wednesday night, they invite you to conferences, networking events and masterminds.

Nowadays, I spend time with people I can learn from. I hang out with business owners who are light years ahead of me on their journey, because that’s what inspires and motivates me. I keep the company of entrepreneurs who make a huge impact on the world and take ten times the action that I do. Simply talking to and spending time with these people reminds me to strive and never settle.

I don’t get up at 5am every day – I believe in sleep! Instead, I spend a chunk of my morning educating myself and speaking to people who both inspire me and keep me accountable.

We all love the idea of being self-made, but behind every successful business man or woman there’s a supportive community of entrepreneurs. If you want to be part of the 1%, I’m afraid that you can’t do it on your own. You need to connect with people who are ahead of you and have already walked the path that you want to take.

You can’t just invest money and expect to be successful. You have to invest time and energy too, and in many ways that’s even more difficult.

Being surrounded by people who constantly strive to better their business will allow you to learn by example, gain industry knowledge and pick up good habits – perhaps without even realising it. It will stop you from staying out until midnight when you have work the next day and neglecting your business, because in 1% social circles, that sort of behaviour isn’t acceptable. You need to surround yourself with people who set the right standard for your growth.

Just as flowers need the right soil to grow, you need to create an optimum environment for success. The first step towards joining the 1% is auditing the company you keep.

How to Find the 1%

It’s all well and good saying that you need to find the 1% to hang out with, but where do you actually find them?

One way is to join a mastermind or mentoring program. This is the route I took back in 2012. I was still on housing benefit and earning less than £1,000 per month, but I knew that I needed to find an environment to help me grow and overcome my current situation.

Despite my financial struggles, I invested £7,000 in a mentorship. I’m not advising you to spend money that you don’t have, but I saw this as an investment and not a cost. I knew I needed to work hard to justify the price of the program, and as a result I achieved a lot more success than the people who had joined simply to “give it a go.” It wasn’t trial and error for me; I gave it everything I had.

I began to act like a fully-fledged member of the 1%. If I was instructed to write one blog post, I’d write five. If I had to find a JV partnership, I’d connect with fifty business owners to create as many opportunities as possible.

In seven months, I went from earning around £400 per month to £100,000.

I realised that this was only possible because I was in the right environment for success and connecting with the right people. I then took the next step and joined an amazing coaching program, which I’m still a part of today. It costs £24,000 per year and I don’t spend a lot of time on it. However, it’s 100% worth it because this program connects me with inspiring business owners who motivate me and illuminate the way forward.

My Momentum program is filled with accounting and bookkeeping firm owners who are proud members of the 1%. As well as teaching you how to discover your sales and marketing powers, this program grants you access to an inspiring network who are dedicated to growth and development.

However, you don’t have to join a program.

You could start by auditing your social media and unfollowing or muting any accounts that don’t belong to the 1%. If you start your day by looking at friends who are out partying or simply not taking their jobs seriously, this will encourage you to adopt the same lax mindset. Only following accounts who inspire and educate you sets a very different tone for your day.

I also highly recommend finding an accountability buddy. You need someone who’ll build you up on your down days and remind you that this rollercoaster of a journey is all worth it. You need somebody to reprimand you when you’re being tempted away from your goals and set you on the right path again.

Environment is Everything

Running your own firm is a rollercoaster and there certainly will be times when you want to throw in the towel. However, having the right social circle will prevent you from doing this. You need to become part of a group that motivates you and encourages you to keep going when things get difficult. You need examples of success to show you that the life and business you want are possible. You also need someone to call you out when you’re heading in the wrong direction.

In order to be the 1%, you need to surround yourself with the 1%. If you don’t feel like you’re part of that group right now, that’s okay. Nobody starts off that way, but spending time with the right people is how you get there.

P.S. When you are ready to have more TIME, increase your PROFITS and catapult your IMPACT here is how you can get help and increase your superpowers:

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