I’m still pinching myself that it’s been a whole year since this little business of mine opened up…ok, who am I kidding? I’m not just pinching myself. Ya’ll know I just LOVE a good excuse for a celebration so I’ve been more like firing the confetti cannons and poppin’ champaign over here. 🎉
And you know what else I love?? That both of my business planners (my Passion Planner and Powersheets ) include month end reflection space to record lessons learned before moving into the new month. Because NOW, I have an easy breezy list I can share with you. 🤗
If you’re looking for confidence, permission, or encouragement in the beginning stages of your business, check out these 11 things I learned (the hard way) in my business, so it’s not so dang hard for you boo.
1) YOUR IDEAL CLIENT CAN CHANGE AND IT’S 100% ACCEPTABLE
Yep. I learned starting from scratch that you have to actually work with clients to know if they’re ideal or not. I learned that it’s ok to settle for something that seems less than “ideal” because the lessons you learn outweigh the not working with anyone at all and it gives you the opportunity to make a list of qualifications you DON”T want in an ideal client ( which is sometimes way easier to identify). THEN you’ll really know how to refine your ideal client qualifications and craft an even more precise brand message around that to create a loyal tribe.
2) PASSIVE INCOME ISN’T PASSIVE AT ALL
Ugh “passive income”. It sounds so fabulous and easy but guess what? It actually requires a LOT of work. It requires that you know your tribe, that you aren’t still figuring out your ideal client or your brand message, and it requires that you already have to have steady income to take on such a major project to prep for launch, technicalities, and #allthemarketingthings. Basically, I’m trying to say it’s awesome to start thinking about it in your first year but don’t stress about it until all your other marketing ducks(and income) are in a row.
For me, I’ve been using the opportunity to work with clients to a) streamline my workflow with templates and checklists to make communication more breezy with them and b) will continue to tweak those templates so I can build my opt-in/marketing resource library so that c) I can eventually have my very own form of passive income– a template shop!
3) BRANDING MATTERS
Controversial subject here for those starting out especially because I know the budget struggle is very real starting out, BUT I’m glad branding was something I took the time and money to invest in. Now I have brands who are pink and black filling out my application. Now I have brands who love the Lord and want to use their gifts for glory sending me collaboration opportunities. Now I have brands who want to work with me because they appreciate the laid back approach they sense through my messaging and still feel confident that they’re getting high value impact and education at the same time.
And that is the power of branding. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Branding matters.
4) YOU HAVE TO SPEAK TO AN AUDIENCE OF ONE
Your brand message can’t speak to everyone or please everyone or no one will ever hit that buy button or fill out that contact form. Plus it’s a serious headache trying to appeal to the masses and write copy for it, Amen?? When I started talking to ONE person and my ONE ideal client and getting really specific about her struggles, her likes, and dislikes I got way more engagement! I’m a people pleaser by nature so this is always a struggle for me, but a reminder I keep very near and dear to my heart every time I put myself out on these internet streets.
5) DO SOMETHING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Cliche I know, but my coaches challenged me to actually do this and I’m so glad they did! Single-handedly one of the best things I did for my business this year was to step out of my comfort zone. I HATE leaving my comfort zone ya’ll. I HATED what I look like and sound like (sorry just being honest here- I struggle with body image and am I total work in progress🤷 ) when I first started this personal brand. I DREADED photo shoots, Instagram stories, and putting my face on Facebook ads so by no means did I ever think I would host a live workshop– but I did.
And I can’t imagine NOT doing it. It ended up being one of my new favorite ways of connecting with my audience. It boosted my email growth and has brought me so many new internet friends to social media and now…It’s going to be a part of my own marketing strategy for the rest of this year. New friends and new income opportunity? More of that please!
6) INVEST IN YOURSELF
Believe in yourself, value yourself, and respect yourself enough to invest in yourself. I struggled with thinking “who am I” to think I deserve to be in this influencer space or talk about these things on the world wide web? I didn’t believe that I could do it well enough according to everyone else’s standards or believed that I could make my money back from investing in things like a website designer or personal coach. The moment I chose to love myself enough to invest in myself was the moment I started treating my business like an actual business. It motivated me, challenged me, and held my tail accountable for living out what I was called to do- which I desperately needed! I’m worth it and so are YOU!
7) KNOW WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY AND PLAN TO DO MORE OF IT
I learned I need to be intentional about doing what makes me happy in this business (and life!). I would grow so resentful of not having time to be with my kids after school or grudgingly working on a work project for weeks straight instead of creating content (which is my jam!). I had to literally write these kinds of things down in my planner to a) remember that I’m my own boss and I control my calendar and b) start living the entrepreneurial lifestyle I wanted.
8) LOVE WHO YOU ACTUALLY ARE… AND FLAUNT IT 💁
Nothing will bring our your truest self than taking the leap to entrepreneurship. At one point, I spent WEEKS on my sofa. I cried, I prayed, and begged God for direction and clarity. And in all of that hot mess-ness that I was during that time, what I really was seeking was permission to be myself but I didn’t know it yet. I kept pushing myself to do things I didn’t want to do, I kept making myself do work I wasn’t passionate about and all that resistance (and rejection of MYSELF) had me all aboard Hot Mess Express for WEEKS.
It was like an angel came down from the sky when I met(and invested in!) my internet friend and faith coach Corina Tripon of Ginger Rooted. She sized me up in less than 60 minutes with her gift of discernment. She had me back on my feet giving me the confidence and encouragement I needed to being my truest self which made work so much more FUN, fulfilling (and easier!)–which outweighs any dollar bills you could throw this chicks way!
9) LIVE BY GRACE NOT PERFECTION
I still haven’t read the book yet, BUT this mantra gets plastered on my daily planner quite frequently. I’m so type-A and OCD about things like graphic design, my Instagram feed, and finding all the perfect words (or fonts 🙄 )for my marketing efforts that half the time I spend more time obsessing over silly details than actually putting anything out into the world! Done is better than perfect girl, especially when you’re first starting out! Which leads me to the next point.
10) JUST START/ JUST DO SOMETHING
My fangirl Marie Forleo says it best: “Clarity comes from thought not engagement.”. I would waste so much time THINKING about what I was going to do that I actually wouldn’t DO any of what I was thinking about. The more comfortable I got with just DOING things like opening up Canva, or starting to draft the blog post or start a slideshow presentation– the more I would push through the project, learn more about what I liked/disliked, and quit being so dang overwhelmed by staring at the same tasks on my to-do list that never got scratched off!
I learned that I had to still pick up the pencil even when I felt scared it would be a waste of time. I learned I still had to start the new Google doc even if I thought it wasn’t going to be good enough. I learned to still open up the laptop and type even when I thought all the words had been written before. The ease, progress, and momentum have been glorious ever since.
11) YOU CAN’T KEEP UP WITH THE INTERNET JONE’S
Slow is ok. Rest is ok. Not being a millionaire your first year is ok. Not having a K behind your name is ok. You can’t keep up with the internet Jone’s and you shouldn’t even try. I’ll be the first to admit that I did this in my first year (and honestly will probably slip a time or two again I’m sure!). At one point, I was even offering services I didn’t even want to offer because I thought I must just be weird and unwanted offering something that I couldn’t find anyone else talking about or offering. But those other services I did because “everyone else” was? They didn’t light me up. They buried my talents. And ultimately, didn’t bring God the glory…and hey, ain’t nobody got time for that!
And though I learned SO much more than these 11 things like basic how to add a line break to Instagram captions or that I had to set phone reminders to actually remind myself to a) change my 3-day old yoga pants or b)leave the house and talk to an actual person for the day…I thought these 11 were the most memorable from my time of reflection 🙂
If you’re in your first year of business I’d love to hear from you! Pick my brain with any of your Q’s in the comments below 👇👇👇