If you read my previous blog: 18 Years in Business: 18 Lessons Learned you’ll know that it’s my coming of age business anniversary. This means I’ve dealt with lots of curve balls, challenges, and obstacles, as well as the exciting, goosepimply adventures, too.
I’ve been taught many business lessons – some came the hard way – and I’d like to share 18 of the best with you. The intention behind my sharing might just stop you from having to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get on with things again, as many times as I had to in those early days.
So here goes… if you want to get on in business, please don’t:
- Compare yourself to others – you bring your own unique gifts and talents and that is incomparable. Remember Dr Seuss’s words: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”
- Try to be someone you’re not – this leads to problems. Be you, be honest, be authentic, and you’ll never go far wrong.
- Plan too much – as someone who likes to wing-it as much as plan, I’d highly recommend finding a balance when it comes to planning. Don’t spend so much time planning, though, that it holds you back from taking action.
- Listen to the naysayers – they lie and they’re only thinking of themselves anyway. They may have good intentions (to keep you safe and in your comfort zone) but they don’t know what you’re capable of. Smile sweetly, thank them, and then do what YOU want to do.
- Get sucked in by mood hoovers – this kind of negativity will only squish your good mood, your productive day, and your forward steps. Let them hoover elsewhere.
- Spend your life on social media – even if your business is online and you get most of your customers from social media, please limit your time on there or your productivity will plummet.
- Be a people pleaser – this will get you nowhere because you’ll be prioritising someone else’s needs and intentions over your own. And that’s unhealthy if you want to grow a successful business.
- Lose sight of your vision – even on the most rubbish of days, never ever forget why you’re doing this. Instead of wallowing in the ‘whys’ and ‘what-the-hell’s’ look at the bigger picture to put things in perspective again.
- Undersell yourself – when you first start out in business you might undersell yourself to beat the competition. But this only leads you to the Office of Busy Fools. Think of how long you’ve taken to learn your skill, and how much you’ve invested in training. Forget about what the competition’s prices are. (Check out Dr Seuss’s words again in #1.)
- Stress if things don’t go to plan – you can easily create a plan b: you’re in charge of goalpost moving and plans here, so go manage your business instead of stressing.
- Expect overnight success – it’s not going to happen, I’m afraid. Being a business owner requires patience, consistency, and reality. With the right investment of each, your success will come at its own time.
- Be a chameleon – don’t blend into the background! Define yourself and stand tall, stake your place in the market, get visible, and the right kind of people will notice you.
- Let others make you feel small – it takes a lot of guts to start a business, so never ever let anyone make you feel small. You’re a brave business warrior, remember!
- Stay in Stucksville and Overwhelm Street – you have no place there. Negativity, stagnation, procrastination and overwhelm are not healthy traits of a successful business owner.
- Worry about what people think – life’s too short to live in fear of what people think about you. Do what you feel is right and what they think of you won’t matter.
- Forget to keep your finances in order – it’s not just a headache to pick up months and months of finances/paperwork and try to sort them out, it’s also something that can get you in trouble. If you can’t afford a bookkeeper or accountant, prioritise an hour a week, without excuses, to tackle your finances.
- Think you have to do it all alone – how do you think these multi-millionaire ‘solopreneurs’ reach this benchmark? Because they’ve got a fab team of experts covering their back. The sooner you realise that outsourcing can free you up to focus on the stuff you love, the quicker your business will take off.
- Be too hard on yourself – you’re a human being, you make mistakes, things can and do go wrong. But that doesn’t mean you can be hard on yourself. Instead, start afresh tomorrow with a bright new perspective.
Have you already learned any of these lessons? How far into your business adventure did you learn them? I’d love to hear.