Don’t Take Your Business to the “Next Level”

by Karol K 6 Minutes

If only I had a nickel for every time someone said anything about taking their business to the next level...


And it’s not only about the business education space, actually. These days, it seems that wherever we look, there’s someone preaching the next level gospel.

Hey, you should work on getting your business to the next level! You won't get to the next level without social media. Sign up for my training to take your guitar playing skills to the next level. If you want to get your muscle gain to the next level, you need to consume more protein.


… and so on and so forth.

So the question I ask you today is:




Really, can anyone explain this?Maybe it’s just me, and please let me know if that’s the case, but I have to officially admit that I’ve just about had it with people saying that you should aim at taking your thing to the next level no matter what!

There’s at least a handful of issues I have with the whole idea.

  1. The expression “next level” is completely non-meaningful.
  2. It implies that you should feel bad about the results you’re generating at the moment and that you remain unsuccessful until you reach the next level.
  3. It isn’t always worth aiming for.
  4. It prevents you from taking action and capitalizing on the tools you have at your disposal right now.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But please bear with me. The rest of this post is about 10 minutes of reading time, and in it, I will tell you exactly why the mysterious next level might not be the best thing to worry about right now, and what the better approach is.



The expression is non-meaningful

What does “getting to the next level” even mean?

Does it stand for growing your business a little? Growing it twofold? Tenfold? 15.34-fold?

Well, it has to mean something… After all, there are more than 36,000,000 results when you try Googling it.

Unfortunately, don’t look at me, I have no answer. Really no idea what it stands for, and that’s the main problem.


Next level implies that your results are bad

Hey, we are all at some level with our thing. And no matter what, there are always going to be two types of accomplishments in our portfolios:

  • things we should be proud of – the ones that bring us great results,
  • and things we can and should improve,

…but this doesn’t mean that our current position is bad in any way.

The fact not many people like to admit is that in all likelihood …


That’s just the reality. There are surely great things in the future waiting for you and your business, but right now, you should work with what you have at your disposal, and grow one step at a time. Thinking that the level you’re at right now isn’t good enough is just deceptive, to say the least. And it strips you from enjoying your work on a daily basis.


Next level isn’t always worth aiming for

Let’s use some science to explain this concept, plus a handy example.

Money is believed to be something you can’t buy happiness with. We like to think this is true, but science says otherwise.

Some time ago, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School published a study in which they say that people report to be happier with every dollar they make.

However, once they hit the $75k per year mark (in the U.S.), the upward trend stops and no greater happiness level is reported.


This means that, according to science, the top level of happiness in relation to money is $75k a year. Or in other words, aiming at “the next level” above $75k will not make you any happier.

Of course, this is just a metaphor, but it does show that the intuitive next level isn’t always going to make us feel any better about ourselves than we already are.


Next level prevents you from taking action

Finally, we have the last issue, and this is probably the one issue to rule them all.

Contrary to popular belief, thinking about going to the next level can actually stop you from taking action on the things within your reach today.

I know that this does sound strange, but hear me out. Does any of the following sound familiar?
I shouldn't be offering services in this niche, I'm just not experienced enough.

I shouldn't offer consulting at this time, I need to make a name for myself first.

I'd like to split test the client contact form on my site, but I don't have enough traffic yet.

I shouldn't rely on Twitter for promotion, I only have 56 followers.

At some point, we all think this way… Come on, admit it.

The reason is simple; the next level mindset convinces us that we need to achieve X before we can do Y.

But guess what, X never happens, and we’re just left dreaming of what might have been.

When in fact …




Why would you want to believe that there’s nothing exciting waiting for you at your current level?You’re gaining experience, you’re learning to leverage the opportunities coming your way, you’re expanding your network and meeting new people. All this is going to help you grow. And all this is going to help you face new challenges that are waiting for you in the future.

The funny thing is that no matter what level you’re at, the difficulties you’re forced to face are things you are able to solve only because of your previous-level experiences.

In other words, you need the experience you’re building at this level to survive the next ones. Thus, speeding things up might not be the best of ideas.

Processed with Rookie


… is what you should do today


The advice I have for you here (and actually the advice I have for myself as well) will be a little counterintuitive, and it’s this:

Act as if you already were at the next level.

I know that I’ve spent exactly 1040 words so far dissing the concept of the next level, but hear me out, it’s going to be quick.

The act-as-if strategy is about pushing through and doing the things that this small voice in the back of your head tries to prevent you from doing.

In short, do stuff anyway. Even if you’re afraid you might not be qualified enough yet.

Going back to one of my earlier examples, if you think that you shouldn’t try split testing your contact forms just yet because of the small traffic, I say do it anyway.

You will have to wait a longer while for statistically significant results, but they will come eventually, and you will end up with a better contact form. A contact form that will bring you more clients, and as a result, make your business grow.

What about relying on Twitter for promotion even if you have just 56 followers? Same thing. Act-as-if you were Coca-Cola testing your new social media campaign.


Finding a good moment to opt out of the craze

Since you are here then I’m sure you have a business / a freelancing business / or even a website that you want to grow and turn into a seriously profitable project. And that’s good. Very good.

But tell me, do you really want to be working 16 hours a day, just so you can take it to the mysterious next level? And then, what happens next? Will you stop at that next level, or will you bump your work time to 17 hours and continue searching for new levels?

Maybe I’m not cut out for this sort of round-the-clock-work, but I’d rather limit my workday to 6 hours and still be able to enjoy my time with friends, family, my hobbies, and other non-work interests.

Therefore, the advice here is simple. Just enjoy the level you’re at right now.


Explore it.


Learn everything about it.


Find the best way for you personally to be more efficient in it.


Meet other people that are at the same level.


Make them your partners.


Grow … ssssllllloooowwwllly.


(Finally, be careful because people who tell you about getting to the next level in most cases just want to sell you their products…)But hey, what’s your opinion about this? Does this resonate with you or am I just mad for not preaching the next level gospel?


Images by groume / CC BY-SA 2.0, caitlinator / CC BY 2.0

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by Karol K
Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance blogger, published author, and founder of - a site that's all about delivering online business advice for normal people. If that's you, and you're fed up with the information overload out there, then tune in. We need people like you!