Yesterday was my birthday! Not my actual birthday, but the birth of my business. One year ago, I was hired by my first client and officially became a consultant.
It was the scariest, yet most exciting and satisfying decision I’ve ever made. Would this work? Could I really make a living being my own boss? Luckily for me, the answer has been yes. Early on, I took a number of interviews and phone screens and drove myself crazy, but after I turned down a great job offer early into my venture and made the decision to fully commit and haven’t looked back since.
Throughout my career, I’ve led global teams, traveled the world and managed numerous agencies and consultants. To this day, I continue to learn from my mistakes and re-calibrating for ongoing success. I’m constantly learning how to figure out what I don’t like doing or where I struggle so I’m able to get help.
Below are some takeaways from the year that was, I hope you find these helpful!
“You must learn from your past mistakes, but not lean on your past successes.” – Denis Waitley
- Small successes feel absolutely incredible.When I worked for other people, achievements in the business were exciting, but they never really felt like my successes since they were part of a greater organization. Now, every time something exciting happens, I feel like an owner. Every step forward motivates me and pushes me to work harder since I know what it took to achieve. It feels good to know that anything I’ve achieved is well earned.
- Set Goals. If you start a business with some success, your offerings and mind may shift. It’s like a little alarm telling you that you did something you once thought impossible, and now nothing really seems very impossible. It’s exhilarating however it can open up the flood gates allowing a million ideas that you may way to do roll in. I recommend that you set a quarterly goal for your business. Make it specific and set up an action plan to help you achieve it. It’s easy to get sidetracked and over promise to clients but staying true to myself and the goals I set for this past year has worked (so far!).
- People don’t understand what I do, and that’s okay. Friends and family may not always understand or consider my job “a real job” since it’s outside the normal “full-time” description. I don’t work 9-5 in an office or a traditional setting. Others perception has been one of my major frustrations over the last year. My business is important to me and it makes me happy. I try to share what I do in a way that people understand. I’ve learned there are ways of having productive conversations and getting what you want out of an interaction. It’s been helpful for me to be honest with my friends and family about where I’m at with my business and letting go of any frustrations I maybe holding onto.
- Support is key. I’ve always loved having alone time, but I get a bit stir-crazy being home all day. Building a great business means you need a great network of people to help you. Getting out of the house and doing work from a coffee shop or a friend’s couch has been a lifesaver. I’d describe myself as a creative soul and often I get ideas from my friends within other industries and outside of my house. I encourage people to build relationships with the people who can help to get your business idea off the ground. Connect with individuals who will give expert advice and save you from making startup mistakes and take a break to network and get out!
- If you’re thinking about it – do it! I’m a firm believer that things always work out the way they should. It they don’t at first, you have to keep fighting through. Too many small businesses fail because they were never started in the first place, if you have an idea then give it a shot. I’ve been able to eliminate hours of commuting, travel, busy work for others and so much more. And what’s the best part? Having the ability to spend more quality time with my children and family. Until this past year, I never had time to join my children’s activities at school, meet friends for coffee whenever I wanted too, visit my parents in the middle of the day, or have breakfast with my children. My life was a state of constant rush, drop the kids, rush to make a train or an early call, work and hustle to catch another train home to grab the kids from daycare to get home in time to put them to bed. After my second son was born, I had a harder time spending 11+ hours away from my boys in daycare every day even though I was only in the city a few times a week. I wasn’t happy and it was really taking a toll on me and my husband realized. He pushed me to follow my dream of setting up my own business and has been my constant cheerleader over the past 365 days. He believed in me and kept me going, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.
It’s been a wild ride this past year, but one I plan to stay on for some time! I’d love to hear any advice you may have for a small business owner or someone new to entrepreneurship. Please leave a comment below or reach to me directly!