10 lessons from my second year in business

10 lessons from my second year in business

Every July, my dog Naomi and I get a little pale (especially me) because it’s so blazingly hot here in Miami that our daytime walks get super short. It looks like this: her, a large, furry mutt taking weary steps in the burning sunshine, her tongue hanging out of her mouth… and me, the sweaty human companion, listening to NPR via headphones and desperately seeking shade along the way.

So we’re not huge fans of July.

…Except that this is the month when, two years ago, I went full-time with my business. So July’s got a rad side too.

It’s my two-year bizversary, lady bosses!

I’m now a ‘lil smarter, wiser, and, uh, maybe also stubborn perhaps (kidding! I’ve always been stubborn).

In case you were wondering, I blogged about the 10 lessons from my first year in biz here.

Here are 10 lessons from my second year in business:

  1. Launch early and often

    (Yup, I’ve hijacked Google’s mantra). I created and launched the beta version of my Be Your Own WordPress Superhero (DIY Website Maintenance Course) in two weeks last December! Then improved on and launched it again that winter, and now finally a third time (early bird is ON all month long in celebration of my 2nd bizversary, by the way!)

    And speaking of creating courses, you don’t need a fancy instructional designer (just like you don’t need a copywriter or — MM-HMM — even a web designer/developer for your first website). It’s super nice to have one, but it’s not required, and if it’s gonna get in the way of you creating and launching your next rad thing, just go ahead and create it. And launch it. And learn from it. And improve on it. Ad infinitum.

  2. Growth comes from action.

    Duh. But I mean, put a cap on how much planning you’re gonna do before you actually, y’know, DO the THING. Cuz the point is DOING the thing, not thinking about it. I’ve always seen the most growth in my biz (as in, “OH HEY check out all this cold hard cash coming in! Let’s take an epic vacation with it!”) when I get off my ass and do whatever IT is.

    Cut down on the Googling and vision boarding and just DO it — write and send off those sales emails, run the Facebook ads for your course, do the follow-ups with past clients, etc. Planning is great, but keep it in control.

  3. You are your biggest sabotager.

    Yes, entrepreneurship is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Getting out there, launching, selling, self-promoting, and the myriad other things we gotta do (at least) as frequently as flossing our shiny white teeth? Fuckin’ scary! I KNOW.

    I know I know I know. (I’ve been full-time for two years and there’s still no webinar on the horizon for me, man. Because stage fright. Let’s not even go there.) So it’s super easy to not take action.

    So what do you do? You deal with your personal emotional, mental, spiritual, whatever STUFF. Do NLP, EFT, CBT, meditation (I’ve been doing mindfulness!) — whatever works for you. Definitely necessary.

    It’s helped me finally get on podcasts, finally get in front of the camera (so far, I’ve done it for my course), etc. Next: Periscope (add me! I’ll get gutsy and scope with Q&As on all things be-your-own-WordPress-superhero soon, I promise. I’m @nataliapresent)

    Remember that you’re on a unique journey. And by this cliched, trite, blergh line I mean that you gotta keep your defenses up against your mind’s pro sabotagers — like comparisonitis (does that crap NEVER go away? It never goes away) and general, everyday, oh-hey-I-know-you-cuz-you-just-ruined-my-afternoon-with-bullshit-worries fear.

  4. Your health is your biggest asset.

    Take care of your body in addition to your mind. This means preemptively avoiding burnout: take at least 1 day off work per week (I know, if you’re just starting your biz, this can seem im-freakin’-possible, right?). Keep a social life going; make an effort to see friends and socialize regularly (“What? Leave the house?!” – past-me). Lacking energy or motivation? Get your hormones and whatever else you need checked.

    Eat right, sleep enough, move your body — all that shiz your mom’s been pushing you to do since before you learned to paint your nails purple in 8th grade French class.

  5. Don’t get comfortable.

    Keep striving to constantly learn more. Just because you’ve launched a product or two with a killer marketing campaign, doesn’t mean something new and better that you could benefit from won’t pop up between now and your upcoming launch. Stay informed and engaged. And revamp yourself every now and then, too (ahem, my redesign is finally almost complete. Stay tuned!).

  6. Always have a mastermind.

    If yours dissolves, and it eventually will, that’s okay: form a new one. You need biz buddies on your level that will support you anytime, give you constructive feedback on your latest sales page mockup, assure you you’re not the worst person in the world when you feel like a privileged entitled asshole because you had a photo shoot and can only complain about it because you hate feeling like a diva (ahem, talkin’ about me there), etc.

  7. When the haters come (cuz they will, and that’s okay), gather all your resources to shore up your defenses and stay strong.

    STAY STRONG. (Unless, of course, you did make a big mistake and it’s deserved — in which case apologize or give the refund or whatever — but chances are your hater is a disgruntled, bitter, macabre, miserable little person simply eager to spew fury at the world, and you’re its latest victim of circumstance).

    It’s just this thing that happens, like getting sick. You learn to deal with it with meditation, chocolate, booze, sex, exercise, whatever works for you (or sometimes you need all 5, amirite?).

  8. Track your growth

    (And losses, and plateaus, and so on). I’m a fan of Google sheets. See what worked and what didn’t. Definitely track your income per month, client load, etc. This data serves as motivation to reach your goals, reason for celebration when you crush ‘em, and perspective when you look back. 

  9. We are social creatures. (Duh.) But I mean, we need human interaction in person, not just online.

    See how you feel. If you live alone, you may wanna get a roommate or find a coworking space. For me, virtual mastermind meetings and walking my pup 4-5 times/day (plus sometimes interacting with fellow dog parents) isn’t nearly enough. Neither is going out with people a few days/week. If I get lazy and stay in on weekends, I get bummed out. I’ll admit: I’m still figuring out the best way to find balance. My point is, put effort into finding yours.

  10. Your biz — like your website, like your body, like your life (this just got real!) — is a living, breathing being. There will be ebbs and flows. And that’s okay.

    And if you don’t think so, fine, but find a way to deal with it (because I lied: it’s not fine if you don’t think so). Because I’ve had months when I was super stoked with my income and months when I felt very inadequate about it, and while there are strategies to boost your income, they may not always work, or stuff will come up and ruin your biz parade, or destroy your health, or shatter your heart, because life.

    And I don’t wanna die of a heart attack anytime soon (or, y’know, ever), which means I gotta chill the hell out either way. Which takes me back to points #2,  #3, and #4. It’s all full circle, buddy. It’s all full circle.

To celebrate all my growth (lols) my second bizversary, I’m extending the early bird for my newly reopened Be Your Own WordPress Superhero Course (easy peasy DIY website maintenance) all month.

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The sooner you sign up, the better, because I’ll be making one Q&A video tutorial every month for the rest of 2015 (that means you get six total, plus 30 days of email support from moi, if you sign up this month. Ka-pow!).

Not sure if it’s for you? Sign up here for an all-free 3-part video and PDF training on what you need to do and when, how to design and build a custom landing page for your business (no web designer required!) and more.

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19 Responses to 10 lessons from my second year in business

  1. Loved it. I need to learn a few of these lessons myself! Working on getting out of my own way – just did my first Periscope today, so freaking scary but great for momentum and energy!

  2. Congrats on two years! I am in second year of freelancing and it has been a great thing for me. I can’t wait t grow my blog and business and start making my income in a new way and help more people.

  3. So many great lessons here! I especially resonate with “Launch early and often.” I usually find when I’m stuck the solution is to take the thing I’m trying to launch and chop it into smaller pieces. Voila… Traction and progress! Admittedly still awful at prioritizing my health, though … working on it!

  4. Happy bizversary! Nice summary. Now that my kids are not around all the time, I feel the strain of the lack of social interaction to.

    • Thank you! And I bet, yeah, when you’re used to having kids around and then they’re suddenly gone, the silence must be… loud haha. Ever check out meetup.com? I recommend it.

  5. Congrats on your 2nd year! I really loved this post and definitely need to take some of that advice on board. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so number 2 is hard!

  6. Love this! Congrats on the anniversary :)
    I think that launching is probably what I’m stumbling with the most. Way too much thinking, planning, plotting (and then doing it all over again) before something becomes ‘real’… Thanks for providing perspective from the 2year mark to this 6mo newbie!

    • Thank you, Devon! Oh, yes, launching… that’s why I like doing it early and often, otherwise I’ll never get to it! Happy it helped :D

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