I First Started My Business
If you’ve made the decision that your own success is a non-negotiable, then you’re already even stronger than you think you are. Whatever has gotten you to this point has given you the inspiration, commitment and drive to go after your desires. Now is the time for you to become the woman and business owner you’ve always known deep down to be.
However even the most driven among us still have to conquer doubts and face unexpected challenges along our entrepreneurial paths. I know I did. Even though my first year in business was a truly wonderful time in my life (and I brought in multi-six figures) there is still so much I learned that would have been game-changing had I implemented it sooner.
Today I’m reflecting on seven things I wish I had known, believed and acted upon from day one (or at least day 30) of starting my business. I hope my experience encourages you to push past your doubts, show up big every day and create the life you’ve always dreamed of even faster than I did.
When I first started my business, I worked 12 hour days, usually six days a week, for six months. I enjoyed the hustle, but I know now that if you set up the right structures, it is possible to launch and grow a business on whatever schedule you create for yourself.
And if like me, seeing quick results motivates you to work even more, then remember that’s only a good thing up to a point. You do not want to turn your passion and freedom-based business into something that makes you into a workaholic! To have sustainable growth, you have to prioritize self-care, taking time to enjoy the moment with the ones you love, exploring new places and seeking new inspiration to get to your next level.
It’s totally normal if some days you don’t wake up feeling totally exhilarated about working all day at your kitchen table or local coffee shop. Inspiration comes in spurts and building momentum requires you to think bigger, remember your commitment and just put one foot in front of the other—so don’t lose confidence in yourself on those days you’re just not into it.
When you feel like you’re lacking enthusiasm and excitement, commit to spending extra time in the morning anchoring in your purpose and remembering who you’re meant to serve. Focus on what lights you up and where you’re going. Consistency is the most important thing, so trust the process and keep showing up on behalf of your dreams.
Every time I’ve had an up-level in my life, it’s because I surrounded myself with people who could show me who I wanted to be. I see so many women struggling to launch their online businesses and when I find out they’ve been in total digital isolation, signing up for this or that free webinar and hiding it from friends and family, I know that just getting out of that will totally transform things for them.
If you’re just starting out, it’s so important to make sure you’re engaging with people who share your energy and vision. Whether it’s a daily check-in with a mastermind partner, working with a coach and belonging to a community, or attending events to meet other women entrepreneurs like yourself, having the right support in your entrepreneurial journey is essential.
The temptations to remain a solo-preneur are many. Maybe you think you couldn’t possibly afford to hire anyone good without draining your bank account. Or you think you’re just saving so much money by doing it all yourself and until you’re bringing in $X, it’s better to just hold off.
You could play this game forever and it might never be time to make your first hire! I for one wish I had realized sooner the power of expanding my team. Even starting with a VA for just an hour a week to handle things like scheduling and payments can change the game. And if you’re thinking you’ll just figure out your own taxes around April 12th, please—get a book keeper.
Just because you’re on the path to success doesn’t meant it’s going to be a straight shot to the finish line. Sometimes you make a lot of progress quickly, while other times it may feel like nothing is moving forward. Your journey will be full of opportunities to course correct—and hopefully you see them that way, rather than as failures or set backs.
One of the most important lessons I went into my business with is that “no means not yet” (which you may remember from the DC issue!) and it’s one every entrepreneur should take to heart. No one else has the power to determine a vision for your life. Know that you will create what is meant for you, as many zig zags as it takes.
You have to make the switch from thinking that other people who have success are somehow different or special,to realizing that they are simply further along their own path. You don’t have to make yourself less than those you admire and respect, nor do you have to tear them down.
What you celebrate in others, you allow for yourself. Steer clear of comparison mode and support the people around you in achieving their own goals and dreams. Focus on reaching your own potential. Once you’ve made the commitment to doing so, you can realize that success is already yours, right now.
I wrote about this at length in this month’s one-on-one column, but it’s important enough that I wanted to include it again here. A decade into my business, I’m still learning this lesson and if I could have embraced it more fully at the beginning, I’m sure I would have saved myself a lot of anguish.
Remember you’re not in this business to please everyone, anyway. You’re in it to have impact for the people you’re meant to serve, to fully express yourself and reach your fullest potential while contributing of great value to the world. You can be open to feedback, consider it honestly, make amends when needed and learn from your mistakes—and none of it has to stop you.