6 Lessons I Learned In My First Year of Business
Where to focus in order to grow, hit your goals AND actually enjoy the process
Are you in your first year of business? Whether or not you are, you know the growing pains that come with growing a business.
But if you go about it wisely, and heed the advice of those who have gone before you, you can grow your business more quickly and sustainably than most.
Here are my top 6 lessons I learned in my first year of business so that you can grow, hit your goals and enjoy the process.
Lesson #1: There’s never a perfect time to start, so just do it already.
I’ve heard it said that no business or human is born an adult — they’re both born babies. 2016 was the first full year of my latest, and most successful, business and I also spent most of the year growing a human baby. So many parallels, and also so much possibility because here’s one thing that is SO true about both:
There’s never a perfect time to do it.
There’s never going to be the perfect time to start or go all-in on a business.
I started Life With Passion as I was grieving the loss of my first daughter Maeve. If I’d asked for advice from “practical” people, they would have told me to conserve my energy and focus on processing my grief AND on my other business, in which I was full-time at that point. Guess what?
Starting my dream business was one of the ways I processed and made meaning of my experience, while helping my clients design their dream businesses and quit their jobs — it was a win-win, as it should be.
So whatever is going on in your life, if you’ve got that thing in the back (or front) of your mind that keeps calling you to do something big, to grow and get visible, regardless of the reasons that you or other people tell you about “why not,” hear me when I say — it’s EVERY BIT as possible for you, too.
I’m not a superwoman or any more special than YOU. I have plenty of times where I feel uncertain or unclear. I do know how to grow a business, though, and if that’s your desire, it’s learnable for you, too. That’s why I’m sharing.
If you have a desire to grow a business while in a full-time job, or raising kids, or dealing with a personal crisis, or heck, all 3, then pay attention to that voice. You have it for a reason.
Ask yourself, what have you been telling yourself about why this isn’t the right time to go all-in in your business, and what are you going to do to change that story?
Lesson #2: Get Visible.
Getting visible or “putting ourselves out there” is the thing that often scares us the most, the thing that strikes fear into my clients’ hearts, and that was true for me, too.
I used my background and degrees in media communication, and examples from my mentors, and I did it before I felt ready.
I did it when my audience was a fraction of the size it is now, when I’d only worked with a few clients, when they didn’t have the results they do now. I had NO idea how to do livestreams.
I was scared, nervous and felt a little crazy to put myself out there, because before starting Life With Passion I was extremely private, and I prided myself on the fact that I had NEVER advertised to book out in my marketing business — all of my business came in through referrals.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, nearly all of my Life With Passion clients came from getting visible — 95% came to me as strangers.
I decided that my message was needed, and I wanted to reach as many of my fellow high-achievers as possible with it.
So I did what it took to get over my fears & get out there.
Where are you hiding out from, and what are you going to do to change that?
Lesson #3: I learned & used the power of my story.
I’d heard people say that your story was important, but I dismissed it because I thought I didn’t have anything interesting or dramatic enough to say, that my story didn’t matter. That it wasn’t unique enough. So I didn’t talk about it in my first business. Can you relate?
When my daughter Maeve died, obviously that changed. I knew in my head that this was powerful…BUT I felt scared that people would think I was exploiting her if I talked about her in relationship to my business. Just like before, I was keeping myself small by being scared to use my story.
Then, I realized, she was THE REASON I started Life With Passion, so it was actually inauthentic of me NOT to talk about her, and you know I’m all about authenticity and being genuine.
So, I started. I started talking about her in Facebook posts. I started talking about her in videos, and on my webinars, and in articles and on podcasts.
I continued talking about my horses, who were the original driver behind me wanting to get free from my 9–5 (so I wasn’t going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark and never getting to see them).
These were the 2 things I become known for, BUT they are not the ONLY things I’m known for. They make me memorable, and help me stand out in a sea of coaches.
Yes, I’ve worked with many clients who have a connection to horses or pregnancy loss, and I love that. But not ALL of them do — it hasn’t niched me down too far or shut me out.
It’s made me memorable.
Your story is the ONE THING no one else can EVER duplicate. If you’re not using it, I’d go so far as to say you’re not memorable.
The good news is that this can change today!!!
Ask yourself, are you currently using your story to make your business memorable? Do you know what aspects of your story are powerful and memorable to use?
Lesson #4: I utilized the power of FOCUS.
I used to be a professional, proud multi-tasker. Keeping my email open, responding to texts & emails as they came in, refreshing, checking Facebook & scrolling, a million browser tabs open. Any of this sound familiar?
Since that first year of Life With Passion I’ve had to learn not only how that multi-tasking was a disservice to my mindset and business growth, but we threw in the ultimate “multi-tasking” challenge of parenting a newborn and then very busy toddler.
If you want to read my article on productivity hacks, you can check that out here. This isn’t the time to go through them all again, but it’s important to recognize their one important commonality: FOCUS.
Would you describe yourself as a focused person? Or does distracted, overwhelmed, or scattered sound more familiar? What steps can you take this week to reduce overwhelm and distractions and utilize the power of focus?
Lesson #5: “Wherever you go, there you are.”
This was a toughie. I resisted accepting this one because, well, it’s just not sexy.
This is accepting that if we’re not happy, content, at peace, joyful, etc. on the inside, the coolest trip or experience is not going to be meaningful to us. Our outer world is simply a reflection of our inner world, and when that inner world is stressed, or chaotic, or unclear, the same filters get applied to the outer world, whether I’m sitting in my home office or sitting in a gorgeous hotel in Paris.
This is about making time and space to do the inner work I’d been challenged to do by my mentors, instead of staying in my own comfort zone, which is doing all the external things (newsletters, posts, livestreams, etc.).
As I began to do this work, I noticed that I became much happier, much more settled, and I enjoyed whatever I was doing more. Clients also came to me ready to work with me and the whole process became much more joyful.
I realized I’d had a fear of not being busy — that if I wasn’t constantly working on my business, then it wouldn’t grow. I’d carried over that belief from my previous businesses, and it wasn’t serving me as my audience grew to thousands and I worked with more clients than ever before.
Sometimes my clients wonder why I focus so much on the internal work — this is why. Because no matter how much external systems & structures we put in place, if we’re not feeling clear, confident and energized about our business, we’re not going to show up as powerful and be able to serve our clients.
It’s the opposite of how we THINK it works when we first get into starting a business, but it’s so true.
Wherever you go, there you are…so where are you? :)
Have you been feeling unclear? Have you been putting off doing inner work to get clarity & confidence?
Lesson #6: I invested in support for me and my business.
When I was a perfectionist, I had to do it all myself, and I prided myself on my independence. The problem was, I very quickly hit an income plateau in my first business, and no matter how hard I worked or tried, I wasn’t able to move beyond it. It was like I was on a salary again, and that was NOT why I had started my business. I knew I was capable of making more so that I could travel more, save more, and give more, and I was frustrated by my inability to do so, wondering what was wrong with me.
When I FINALLY invested in my first mentor in June of 2015, I tripled my income in 3 weeks. THREE WEEKS. Now, that’s not typical, but it obviously IS possible. More importantly, I learned how to build a business that I could step away from, and with support, I learned to delegate for the first time EVA.
And so in that first year I learned that when I invested in support from mentors & assistants to help me grow my business, I saw the rewards come back to me exponentially — in income, yes, and also in more clarity, more freedom, less procrastination (because I was either getting accountability or delegating the things that were hard for me!) and more joy.
It would be inauthentic and incongruent for me to ask my clients to pay me and not continually be investing in myself to learn and grow my business and show up as the mentor we both desire me to be. And so I’m continually learning and being challenged by mentors who are willing to go deep with me, call me out when it’s needed, and support me in providing more value to you.
I used to think I could do this all for free, but, I’ve learned…there’s something weird about us humans — we value what we pay for. Whether this is $1 or $10,000, we pay more attention to, place value upon, and follow through on what we invest in, and therefore we get better results. This is absolutely true for me, and it’s so true for my clients, as well. The crazy thing? The ones who’ve invested more with me have gotten bigger, faster results.
Investing in your business’ development is part of running a business — and when it’s a business based on you, your passions and your story, that includes investing in yourself. I’ve gone from the lone ranger to being supported at all levels, and this way feels — and works!!! — so much better.
Ask yourself where you need support right now — what does your intuition say you most need to learn, do or have right now to grow your business?
What’s been holding you back from taking action on getting that help?
Ready for more strategies to get out of your own way, replace your income and build your dream business? Grab my #1 bestselling book, The Income Replacement Formula: 7 Simple Steps to Doing What You Love & Making 6 Figures From Anywhere.
You can also download the first chapter for FREE by clicking here.
Then, let me know your thoughts below! Can you relate? I’d love to know!