5 Things I Learned In My First Year Of Business
Ahhh, one whole year in business!!! To some this may be minuscule, but a year ago I was just a girl that decided to START, and now here I am with clients I love, much wiser, and ready to continue to GROW in 2018!
According to Bloomberg, “8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn.”
8 out of 10.
Insane right? I’m sure that there are lots of logistical reasons behind this like; not utilizing your strengths correctly (I loved the book "The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It" for distinguishing this for me), not hiring soon enough, not using the correct systems, not investing properly, etc etc.
However, we never talk about the MENTAL obstacles new businesses face and the day to day hardships. So, I will.
Here are five lessons I learned in my first year of business that I’m carrying over into 2018, maybe you can relate!
1. Don’t Let The Highs Get You Too High, or The Lows Get You Too Low.
MAJOR key. Entrepreneurship definitely has its SUPER high days where I make three thousand dollars in an hour, client inquiries are flowing in, my clients are happy, and I’m on CLOUD NINE. Oprah, I'm coming for you girl!
THEN, there are the not-so-fabulous days when my clients decide they don’t want to move forward for various reasons, invoices aren’t paid, my disk is full on my MacBook for the 1000th time, I’m late for a call, I don’t hit a sales goal, the list goes on and on.
It’s easy to get down on yourself when business is slow or you’re not getting the results you expected, especially when you were JUST killing it yesterday. But, I’ve learned to chop it up as apart of the journey.
My advice? Look for the lessons in the GOOD and the BAD days. “How did I get these great results” OR “How can I prevent this mishap from happening again?” In the end, everything ALWAYS balances out and you get BETTER.
2. It's not difficult, it's just different.
I’m definitely a very unconventional person. I like to test the limits and take risks, but for years I’ve let other people project their fears unto me by telling me things were too “hard” or “difficult.”
We’ve been conditioned to learn a certain way and live a certain way since grade school. We're so used to be GIVEN the tools or being told what to do and how to do it, so when something is out of the norm or different, we deem it as "difficult."
One of the main questions I heard going into entrepreneurship was, “How will you get health insurance” or “How will you save for retirement?” Since these questions came up so frequently, I thought.. maybe this IS going to be hard. With a little research, I learned there are TONS of resources for all of these things and professionals that want to educate you and to see you thrive. Most companies don’t teach you how to get the maximum contributions for retirement or show you EXACTLY what your taxes are going towards. I encourage everyone in the corporate world to be very hands on in those matters, I was not because I assumed companies would have my best interest in mind, but why would they? Entrepreneurship has taught me to research and question EVERYTHING and not just accept what is given to me because it's "easy" to comprehend.
I've taught myself how to manage myself (this was hard), pay myself, code websites, create sales funnels, pitch to large brands and corporations, how to pay taxes properly, and the list goes on and on.
Was it difficult? Not really. Just different.
3. Balance IS Necessary.
For the first 12 months, I literally felt guilty if I had spare time and I wasn’t working on my business. We hear, “grind, hustle, don’t sleep or stop until you’re at the top” but what ended up happening for me was, my personal and spiritual life suffered. Not to mention I completely stopped going to the gym and eating healthy when I went full time in my business. It was the LAST thing on my mind.
And that my friends is how you get “burned out.” The quote, “You can’t pour from an empty cup” is true for business, too. If I’m not happy, how can I keep my clients happy? How can I properly nurture my business?
I stopped focusing on the hustle and started doing the things that made me happy and got my creative juices flowing on the regular basis. Even if that just meant not answering any emails on the weekend. Which leads me to number 4...
4. Boundaries Are A Must!
Boundaries with yourself, your family, friends, and clients. I got really good at saying “no” this year.
No to working until 3 am.
No to trying to help everyone that messaged me on social media.
No to bottomless mimosas and shopping on the weekend.
No to potential clients that showed red flags initially.
No to doing work I wasn’t compensated for.
No to gossiping.
No to comparison.
No to anything that wasn’t aligned with where I wanted my business to go.
5. Everything Is An Experiment.
We see so many businesses fail due to not being innovative. It’s scary. It’s risky. It’s entrepreneurship.
Let’s look at blockbuster or other traditional brick and mortar business. Now think about how Amazon makes more than Walmart, Tiffany’s, Target, IKEA, and Macy’s...COMBINED.
I say that to say, I’m not afraid to test to see what works. Being conservative does not work in my favor. Did every risk I take turn out just like I imagined? NO. But some did. And I learned what works, and what doesn't. My most successful projects were my most random, spur of the moment ideas. Don't over think it, or obsess over things being "perfect."
The best teacher is experience and implementation is KEY.