7 lessons I learned while building a business
In 2020 and 2021, more and more ads caught my eyes, all claiming to have the "secret sauce" that will make your business an almost instant success.
I have had my own business for the past 2, 5 years.
And I found that there's no formula to success. There might be some tips and tricks to make work easier, but success is dependent on so many factors, that you can't really bottle up a few practices and sell it as the wonder ingredient for amazing results.
The lessons I learned while working my a## off to make things fit and work together, became quickly not only business lessons but life lessons, too.
The class is in session!
Circumstances matter! I was beyond lucky to have a supportive partner and the luxury of not having to work full time. I also travelled 2 hours one way to go to a coaching course, at the weekend. A business can't grow on your sheer will and ambition. It matters where you are, the community's norms around you, how much time and resources you have, your other obligations, etc. Therefore, no matter what you do, please remember that your way is your way.
It's not about moving as fast as possible towards success, but it's about always doing the best with what you have and where you are.
Knowledge is important. Hard work is not enough. For 1.5 years, I worked on my business and taught myself how to build a site, do marketing, create resources, and set up social media and emails. It was exhausting. I was working hard and having little knowledge. If I could meet my younger self and give her a bit of advice, it would be this: Find a course/ book/ podcast that is reliable and caters to people like you, and use it as a guide. Yes, Google has a tone of information, but Google is messy; 10 000 people have 10 000 different ideas and opinions on how to do something, and as a beginner, you'll end up overwhelmed, scared and confused.
Learn- apply- focus.
You can be the absolute best, but no one will come and knock on your door to ask to work with you if you do not advocate for yourself. Marketing is essential, and it will take a while to figure it out. And (unfortunately!?) there's no one size fits all formula for how to do social media right or how to present yourself to the world... It's trial and error, and it takes time. But one thing became apparent when it comes to showing up in front of others (be it on social media or face-to-face): if you do not enjoy what you are doing or have hidden agendas, people will sniff it out.
Always be yourself. You cannot put on a mask too often before it cracks and you become tired.
It will take time to learn to work smart, not hard. It takes time to figure things out. After almost 2 years of running a business, I finally found some balance in how I conduct my working time. Blessed is the person who has something even faintly resembling a routine! Try different kinds of task and time managing techniques. See what works for you. Once you find what's best for you in time management and getting things done, your life will be much easier. And never go with the flow! Plan and manage your time, so you do the things that matter and please, get clear on your priorities- every day, every week, now and forever.
At least half of what you do will follow the path of your thoughts. MINDSET! Your mindset matters. Mindset can stop you from even trying something new. It's not that the way you think will make things suddenly appear in your life, but it will influence the way you work, receive opportunities, connect with others and the boundaries you have.
It gets more challenging and more frustrating before it gets better. Whatever you will do, you will have to learn something new. And to get better at something new, you need to give yourself time. It's a law of the Universe. Also... stop comparing your beginnings with someone else's end (if you care about your sanity...).
Stop comparing your beginnings with someone else's end (if you care about your sanity...)
No, you do not need to take all the courses available, listen to all the podcasts and read all the books on your topic. Listen! I am the head of the "Read until you drop dead" department. My coach put me on a reading diet. And this is what I learned: trying to hoard knowledge, to "educate" yourself is a form of procrastination and avoiding the discomfort of putting knowledge at work. And it is tempting! There are so many courses available, so many people talking about one topic... There's so much noise... My take? Pick a knowledgeable, congruent, good person/ book/ course/ school who can teach you the basics of something and then go and use the information. Come back for more, as needed! As needed, not because it's cool to read one book a week or because you're avoiding the reality of doing like you avoid a hungry lion!
What did you learn from significant life events?