Although I became an ‘entrepreneur’ almost 9 years ago when I started an online wedding dress-making service, 2018 was my first year as a full-time entrepreneur, running two businesses and all without the safety blanket of my corporate job to fall back on.
As I reflect on the year that’s been, I’ve learnt so much about resilience, motivation and mindset that’s needed when you’re working solo while also parenting young humans and struggling with the ever-changing demands of life as a WAHM (work at home mum).
Here are my top 6 lessons that ‘m taking forward to 2019:
Embrace the power of community
I’ve come to highly value the online communities I am involved in. As humans we thrive on social connections and it’s important to make these bonds online when you’re working from home so you don’t feel so isolated.
It’s incredibly heart-warming to see the support, generosity and kindness complete strangers give each other.
I’ve formed some great friendships with other women just like me in my favourite groups. They’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs. They give me a boost when I need it, and celebrate wins along with me.
I don’t know how I would have got through the early stages of my business without them!
If you’re not already part of a Facebook group like this – go out there and find your tribe. You might like to join my group for female entrepreneurs (My Tribe).
Hit unsubscribe/ unfollow on competitors
This is about managing your mindset and keeping control of your fear.
Don’t allow yourself to be distracted or derailed by competitors.
While I think it’s smart to keep connected to your niche, aware of what’s on offer with competitors, and in tune with what the issues are your market is struggling with – having too much noise from competitors crowding into your inbox or your social media channels can have a negative effect on your mindset and your motivation.
So I think it’s much better to get them out of your consciousness and change your focus to your own customers and audience.
You’re different. You’re the only one who is YOU. Your ideal customer is likely a bit different to theirs. You will connect with different people to them.
If they’re succeeding it means there’s a good market for what you do!
There’s enough opportunity out there for everyone. Embrace the fact you’ve got competitors out there, and stay strong to your own vision.
Say no to prospects if they aren’t the right fit
A few times last year I accepted a client who wasn’t the right fit – they didn’t match my ideal customer profile.
Each time I regretted it.
They required more time and effort, they didn’t want to follow my systems, and they were not a pleasure to work with which gave me less enjoyment and satisfaction from my work.
It started right at the beginning when they wanted to do things differently to my normal process – which also meant that none of my automated systems kicked in and gave me extra admin work to do.
This was a big warning sign I should have taken heed of!
In direct contrast, all my other clients who fit my ideal customer profile were lovely to work with. It was easy, pleasurable and most of all they were very satisfied with the value they got.
It does matter who you choose to do business with – don’t waste time on the ones that don’t fit.
Look after yourself first
You can’t do your best work if you’re tired and continually stressed. I noticed that when I pushed myself too hard last year I lost my happy spirit, I found it hard to get motivated and give value to my community – because my own tank was so empty.
At times I was really stressed, feeling the pressure of running a business while also being mum to 2 young kids under 5.
But I realised – it’s me putting this pressure on myself. I don’t have a boss dictating expectations. I can choose what I spend my time on, and I can decide on my own deadlines.
I’m the boss. So I’m going to be a good one!
What I’m going to do this year is give myself some time off regularly.
Sometimes it will be spontaneous – if I’ve had a rough week with the kids waking at night and I’m a walking zombie, then I will have a break and choose sleep over work.
I’m going to take control and make sure I’ve had enough sleep and get regular exercise.
There are some great groups out there for helping you achieve this. I recommend There’s More to Mum for some great advice on self-care.
Turn up and be present
Some weeks I was more active on social media than others. You know, we all have those times when we aren’t feeling super social and I didn’t spend much time on social media.
But when I was being active, it had a direct impact on my business.
Those weeks I got more subscribers than usual, my followers on social increased, and usually I would end up with a new lead or two.
It was honestly this simple!
Just being present in some Facebook groups, engaging with others, offering support and being helpful was all it took to grow.
Being present and putting yourself out there is how you help people find you.
Play to your strengths
Knowing when and how to outsource is a tricky one and the ‘right time’ is different for everyone.
While I know I ‘can’ do pretty much everything to run my own business, it’s not in my best interests to do so.
It takes my valuable time away from activities that only I can do.
I need to be focussed on servicing my clients and creating my core content.
So much of the other stuff can be done by others, and I’ve invested a fair amount of time in finding the right people to help me.
People I know are in sync with what I believe, who are great at what they do and I can trust them to do as good a job as I would have myself (or better!).
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
There you have it – my 6 lessons from my year in 2018.
Do you have any other tips you’d give to help people find success in 2019? Please share below, I’d love to hear them.
p.s. I just thought of number 7. Make sure you have a good coffee machine! Coffee is always a good idea 🙂