This week I am celebrating my 21st business anniversary!
My entrepreneurial journey started at the age of 24, my family was given a huge reality check when we tragically lost our lovely mum. Experiencing something so life-changing definitely puts things in perspective, and what was previously a high priority suddenly takes less precedence. For me, schlepping up and down the country as a National Accounts Manager for the hotel industry was now nowhere near as significant as being with my family.
That’s when I had the bright idea of setting up my own business. Armed with my industry knowledge and management expertise, I knew I was more than capable of running my own company. But as I lay in my hotel room, night after night, thinking about it, I really doubted myself. Thankfully, after lots of discussions with my brilliant, business-savvy, super-successful dad, and many more sleepless nights, I took the plunge and began my entrepreneurial journey on 1st January, 2000.
Anyone who runs their own business will have plenty of stories about the extreme highs and lows, and I’ve had my fair share. It’s a rollercoaster adventure which often flies at a scary pace, but it brings lots of lessons every day and that’s all part of the fun. Here are 21 of my favourite lessons and snippets of advice which I hope will help you too.
1. Less worry, more action
It’s good to get started. Don’t put off your decision to start your business. Try to shush those ‘what-ifs’ that run around your head, take a deep breath and be brave. You can do this!
2. Believe in yourself
Self-doubt will keep you stuck, squish your creativity and put a ceiling on your potential. Do whatever it takes to kick those mind monkeys into touch, and your confidence will steadily grow.
3. Don’t underestimate the power of networking
You might not be everyone’s cup of tea, nor they yours but once you find your right-fit kind of business community (both online and off, by the way), you’ll never feel alone or stuck again.
4. Business plans, schmisness plans
Creating a business plan is pretty important (yes, Dad, you have drummed it in) but what’s more important is getting stuck in. You can spend oodles of time writing the perfect business plan, but don’t get so bogged down with it that you forget to make it a reality.
5. Go with the flow
As your business grows (and you, for that matter) you’ll need to adapt to change. If you don’t, you’ll stagnate. Change is a given if you want to blossom in business.
6. Find your perfect-fit coach
I thought I could do this business thing all by myself for years. It’s only when I found my perfect-fit coach that I realised how many wrong decisions I’d made. Now, I’ll never be without one.
7. Find a fab accountant
Accounts don’t excite me and they steal so much of my time, so it makes much more sense for me to let an expert handle them. It leaves us both to pursue our passions, and I can sleep soundly at night knowing I’m not going to miss any legal deadlines or payments!
8. Stay sensible about your products
If you’re a product-based business please don’t be too precious about holding out for price. Instead, liquidate your stock when needs be and you’ll keep that all-important cash flow trickling.
9. Without you there is no business
Take care of you, be kind to you, and prioritise time out because without a happy, healthy you, your business won’t function.
10. Do what you love
Yes, we all have to earn a living but if you can run a business that you’re passionate about you’ll never get that Monday morning sinking feeling again. Above all else, be happy.
11. Don’t put off getting a website
Your website is the very heart of every business these days for both online and offline companies. So prioritise the building of your website (even if your budget is tight), maintain it regularly, and update it consistently.
12. Be branding beautiful
Make sure your branding is consistent throughout every area of your business, and that it reflects you, what you do, and your sparkling personality
13. Ditch the overwhelm
Overwhelm never serves you!, and the sooner you learn to kick it into touch the quicker you’ll start to make those big business leaps.
14. Keep moving forward
Even on the crappiest days when you question what the heck you were thinking about, keep going. Tomorrow’s another day to start again.
15. Haters back off
Without a doubt people will judge you, but that’s their issue. Don’t listen to any negativity, or ‘advice’ that doesn’t serve you. You’re in charge, your rules, your business.
16. Set your time boundaries
Working 24/7 is not cool. It brings out the worst in you, which ricochets on those you love and work with. Evening and weekend working will make you a very dull girl (or boy) and as tempting as you think it might be to sneak in an extra hour or two, it spells burn-out in the long-term.
17. You are not chocolate
You cannot keep everyone happy all the time. You cannot be all things to all people, so don’t even try.
18. Check in with yourself regularly and do what you love
It’s easy to do the work that comes your way but always important to check in with whether your still enjoying it! And if not it ok to change it up!
19. Your intuition is your superpower
I never used to even know what my intuition was but through journaling, meditation and mindfulness I’ve managed to silence the mind monkeys (most of the time) always go with your gut and follow your heart!
20. Never forget you
Always, always always be you. People will respect and appreciate and love you so much more when they see ‘you’ in your business, instead of a bland ‘professional business owner’ caricature. Don’t be afraid to be you.
21. Keep on Learning
Make sure you keep up to date with the latest trends and learning – particularly with accreditations and marketing your business online, things move so quickly, it’s key to keep ahead of the game, particularly for online success!
Being an entrepreneur is an adventure, it’s fun, exciting, and scary all rolled into one. And despite some of the harsher lessons I’ve learned, I will never ever be someone’s employee again. Embrace your business, be brave if you need to, but bear these lessons in mind. They’ll stand you in good stead for the future.
Here’s to the next 21!
Together is my happy place
I know you could probably suss out your online marketing if you spent a tonne of time searching google and you tube and trying to figure it all out by yourself, but there’s something really special when the right people come together.
I love supporting the members of The Website Wonderland to get stuff done, to save time and work smarter, to have all the online marketing resources they need right at their finger tips to create their online success and I would love to help you do the same.
The doors are now open, tea is at the ready and to celebrate my 21st business birthday you can get discounted entry too!
“It’s full of the most amazing resources that are constantly updated to ensure you are always ahead of the game when it comes to marketing and SEO (which I had no clue what this was before meeting Naomi!). As well as video tutorials on how to maximise your website using things like Pinterest and Instagram, there are weekly catch-ups in the Facebook group, guest speakers, and of course Naomi who is always at the end of an email if you’re stuck or have any questions on what you should be doing! I can’t recommend the Wonderland and Naomi enough – thank you gorgeous lady! ” Sarah – Tranquil Soul Clothing
See you on the other side!
“Every adventure requires a first step”
The Cheshire Cat