It is incredibly hard to believe that 7 years have come and gone. And in an attempt to humble myself on this day, I am taking you and myself down a little memory lane.
I started my business because someone believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She believed in me so much, she offered to be my first client. Before I had a name, a logo, a website, social media. Now that’s faith. There was no way I was letting her down. Two weeks later I opened my business.
Now here I am 7 years and a whole lotta tears and triumphs later. I feel I’m a little wiser, but also humble enough to know I still have a lot to learn. But for this blog and your encouragement, I am sharing my 7 biggest lessons learned.
1) I’m a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for.
Being an entrepreneur ain’t for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of grit and determination to see yourself through some of those hard days. I remember one time early in my business, I was still alternating between the kitchen counter and my dining room [change of scenery was nice I guess] when I got an email that rocked me. No one was home. Just me. At that moment, I just staring at my computer that I bought for $300 cause I had to start scrappy. I just stared at it in disbelief. It was bad news.
At that moment I wanted to throw in the towel. Call it. I was done. I had risked a lot to take on this venture. I had other job offers trickle in once people knew I was starting my own business. I felt as though they were little tests to see if I was really serious…but this was no test.
I stood up from my chair, cupped my bare face in my hands and sobbed. I sobbed so hard I ended up having to sit down on my kitchen floor. So there I was in my kitchen wondering what the heck had I gotten myself into. But after that good cry I stood up, shook it off and got back to work. There was simply just too much to do to let that one email take me out for the day.
2) Highs and lows come and go.
When I first started out it felt like I was never gonna make it. I’m not so good at being patient and to be honest, still working on that one. I felt I was always looking for my next big client cause while I had work to do, the work always ended so I was constantly having to “sell”. It got to be a hamster wheel I wanted off of.
Then finally after a couple of years I felt I got my bearings. I had a great client list, a great team, things were looking good. Buuuut, I was just waiting for the ball to drop. Things had gotten so good, I just knew it wasn’t going to last. And sometimes those good things do come to an end.
Being in business is hard. And just like hard times in our personal lives, this too shall pass became part of my story. Not all hard times were there to stay and not all good times stayed either. When I made the decision to change my business model, I had to make some hard decisions that would impact my business forever.
3) Lead by example.
This may sound like, duh, but I didn’t realize just how important this was until I was leading people. I’ve always considered myself to be a great cheerleader, trainer and overall communicator, but I had to take all three of these and put them on steroids. Seriously. All of my team members deserved the best version of me. I needed to be more for them and help them to gain their success, and I did. Kinda.
I learned that while these characteristics are important, so are things like getting ready for the day [not my strength – I am still wearing yoga pants as I type this and that ain’t about to change] but I felt it mattered then. How I talked and treated clients mattered. How I demonstrated my work ethic mattered. It all mattered. It’s like kids, even when you don’t think they’re watching, they’re watching. Make wise choices.
4) Never stop learning.
In the past 18 months I have done more training and gone through more courses than in the past 7 years. Part of this is due to COVID, part of this is due to how important it is to me now and the other part is just wanting to learn sooo much more to serve my purpose.
I have always loved to learn and do my market research, but I stopped for a bit – I got comfortable. But in that comfort, it didn’t take long for me to realize I wanted to keep learning and growing so I could do more in my career, for myself and my clients.
I jumped into podcasts, paid groups, books and more market research. It felt good. I felt whole again. I felt like I could really make a difference with alllll the new knowledge I was learning.
5) Never stop connecting.
It is true what they say – who you know is just as important as what you know. I would argue it’s more who. Connection is so key when it comes to business. I have survived off of referrals for 4 years. While I am a marketer my main source of marketing for my own business is networking, word of mouth, social and email. I don’t do a lot else.
So when it comes to connecting with people, make sure to keep those close. Help them where you can – karma is real – and that help will come back unto you.
6) You will fail. Get back up and dust yourself off.
This one is a doozy, but oh so important to be totally transparent about. I recently had lunch with a friend and was sharing my heart with her. I had launched my membership group The HIVE a few months prior and it was not doing very well. I knew the group could provide a lot of value but it wasn’t working. As I sat there sharing this story and claiming fully it was failure she looked at me and said, “It’s not a failure. You took a risk and it didn’t work out.” Woah. I literally never looked at it that way before. It changed my entire perspective.
So here’s the lesson. This wasn’t the first time I failed. It was only my most recent failure. And it won’t be my last. Each time before I was able to get back up, dust myself off [maybe wipe away a few tears] and get back to work. And that’s my advice to you too – don’t take it personally. Just get back to work.
7) When it comes down to it, family first.
This one really hit home for me…like hard. When I started my business my youngest was 4. She was just going to start her first full time preschool. My middle daughter was 6 and my son was about to turn 9. They were so young and I felt I had all the time in the world with them.
Flash forward 7 years, that baby is 11 and my oldest is almost 16. I didn’t have all the time in the world…and I learned this lesson the hard way. Part of my struggle was I was trading time for dollars. And I was paying a team to help me execute projects so I could be with my family which from a dollars and cents stand point isn’t sustainable long term. That’s why I wanted and needed to do something different – to create a way to build a one to many model. Again, it’s why I developed The HIVE and will work to grow it’s value and members.
Well there you have it, crampy hands and all my wisdom. I’d like to say that’s all but there are so many more lessons that I have learned while being and entrepreneur. If you want to hear or see those lessons, connect with me on social: Facebook or Instagram. Thank you!