Reflecting on My First Year in Business – The Dream and the Reality.
(Playfully enhanced by the genius of Dr. Seuss.)
My first year in business has been a remarkable journey. I’ve gone as high as Everest, and as low as frightening creek. Ya feel, girlfriend?
The best way I could share this journey with you, is with the wise words of Dr. Seuss.
Me, when I started:
What I Thought Business Would Be:
Honest girl-chat time. I thought #bizlyfe would be:
Flitting around different coffee shops getting my creative on.
Lots of free time to catch up with friends.
Lots of free time I could spend writing my (now) 3 million book ideas.
What It Actually Is:
Ermm, it sure was hard, fast, and disappointing to learn - that’s not #bizlyfe!
You are directly responsible for the income you earn. So, if you’re a perfectionist – that means capitalising on every spare moment of your life to build a better business in the most effective and successful way possible.
Sometimes (most of the time), it means I hide myself away in my tiny hustler’s cave and research, self-develop, write, market, grow. I try to introduce routine and structure, but, my compulsion to please everyone but myself means I over-commit – and, the goals and dreams I have for my own business and personal life are neglected in my chase for more.
In the Name of Self-Improvement – Meet My Major Business Learnings:
I’ve already blogged about most of these key lessons as I’ve learnt them. But – I feel I wouldn’t be giving my story any justice without bringing them all together in this post.
When you’re the sole provider of your income - Life gets hard. Shit gets real. You have to accept things will happen that aren’t in your control. So, then, instead of letting them overcome you, defeat you, crush your soul - you take control and you persevere.
See above. Life continues to throw shit in your face even when you’re a brave new business owner. Don’t let this freak you out. You’ll start stretching your patience muscles and learn that everything happens for a reason.
And, your time will come. (yoga and daily meditation also help. A LOT.)
It’s easy to get lost in the #bizlyfe world of Gary Vee rip-offs, Instagram “business coaches”, and influencers. A lot of this shit isn’t real. Or, it’s not real for you. Remember, most of these people probably sold their soul to get where they are. I’ll remain authentic to my core.
Maintain your perspective – and stay true to what’s real for you.
Ugh. Story of my life. I’m an over-delivering, people-pleasing, perfectionist nightmare.
At the end of the day, most people don’t even notice you’ve spent another agonising 10 hours enhancing your service or product so it’s #neklevel #platinum. Time is money.
Learn to deliver what you promise or beware the long, frantic nights in overtime. (something I’m still learning.)
When I stress I overeat, forget to sleep, and fall in a heap. My runs, yoga, meditation, and gratitude practice keep me alive. Somehow, it’s the simplest of things we forget in our success-chasing race.
Lordy! The amount of times I’ve changed my service offering to reflect what my audience need and expect of me! There’s no place for rigidity in business – some days, you just throw your keyboard up in the air and say fuck it.
It’s called growth. Embrace or fail.
My Story So Far:
The past 12 months have been a vertical learning curve. Starting and building your own business, alone, pumps roids into your self-improvement - I’m an enhanced model of my 2016 self and I’m so proud.
Stronger, more confident, more self-aware (didn’t realise that was possible!), and my biceps and calf muscles are huge (OK, they’re probably smaller than before because I never have time to exercise)!
You've Come A Long Way, Baby
My business now is not the business I envisaged when I started. I moved into freelancing because, as a mostly #corplyfe slave-to-the-machine type, I was done with the dreary day-to-day. The lack of heart, creativity, and celebration in big corporates.
The emotional disconnect; poor communication and an inability to be human in management of self and others. I thought – I will build a writing business to help business communicate better!
To embrace the colour and fun in storytelling to communicate their values, mission, and changes in a way that inspires the response they need. But, I’ve done none of that. Because, I didn’t realise how much small business needs this, too.
Evolved. Inspired. Happy.
At school, we’re all taught spelling and grammar, but not how to play with words. How to have fun. How to write in a language and voice that’s authentic to the one that comes out of our mouth.
Business writing incorrectly forced us to be formal. So, we lost our ability to communicate in real words that ordinary people can (and want to) understand. Instead of connecting with our audience’s emotions – we connected them with their pillows and sent them to sleep.
For a small business – that missed opportunity could be tomorrow night’s meal. So, I want to help inject the fun and personality back into our work words.
I finally built a comprehensive content marketing strategy for Craft to build my brand in a flooded local market (FACT: there are 1,000 x more copywriters than MacDonalds').
I’ve been lazy about my marketing efforts thus far, instead choosing to chase clients! So, I’m excited to see the results of my 'campaign' at the end of the year, and I look forward to sharing my wins (and fails!) with you, too.
Onward and upward they say!