How can you forget your birthday? Well, I did. I forgot (mainly because it wasn’t in my calender so therefore doesn’t exist). I didn’t realise that I had passed 5 years in business. WOW, I cannot believe I have gotten this far.
I am planning to celebrate with a bottle of champs on Friday afternoon however I think it is important to also reflect on the wins, challenges, how far you’ve come, what you have learnt and where you want to go next.
So, it got me thinking about what I have learnt in the last 5 years and what I would do differently. I have made mistakes and wrong turns which I know have resulted in taking a much slower road to where I am today. But I also think there are opportunities and lessons that come from those mistakes and missteps too. They are part of who I am and what my business looks like 5 years down the track.
5 things I wish I had’ve done from day 1 in business (5 years later)
I have learned many lessons but these are my top 5:
Get specific and niche
I started out with a specific idea and niche in mind but very soon just grabbed at anything which is not uncommon when you start a business and need to pay bills. I noticed a big difference in revenue, focus and where my time was spent once I decided to get specific and niche and I am still narrowing down this focus today. If I had a do-over this would be number 1.
Pivot as needed (and do it quickly)
As much as I am a big believer in planning and have clear goals and direction, I also know you need to be able to pivot and change based on market conditions, personal strengths and opportunities that present themselves. One of the many advantages of running a small business is the ability to do that and I think it is vital for survival. (oh hey that rhymes) So, if you aren’t getting the tracking you need, fail fast and move onto something that does.
Get fresh eyes and expertise
I have this conversation over and over with business owners I know. We all seem to have the issue of not being able to identify communication messages & marketing that isn’t working. Often it is the thing we do every day for our clients with no problem. But when it comes to our stuff, we are just too close to it.
I have been part of a small women’s Mastermind group for 18 months and this ‘brains trust’ of amazing women have been my rock and savours of my sanity. Best thing I ever did. Plus, I also recently joined a business program that provides me with some personal coach and direction and that is proving to be gold. The key here is choosing the right one for you.
Always be learning and open to new ideas
I have always been a learner! I love reading, writing, listening, watching, and I am inspired by new ideas, people and ways to do things. It is a big wide world and there are awesome things happening everywhere. I don’t think the growth of you as a person or business is possible without continual learning. Every week I watch webinars, read blogs, listen to podcasts and read books. It pushes more forward and reminds me that I can achieve whatever it is I want to.
Eliminate your biggest frustrations
I learnt this one very recently. After a particularly stressful Friday afternoon caused by a tech issue, I got to thinking about the things that really frustrate me, make me angry and divert my attention away from what is important. For me it is these 3 things and I knew there was a solution to them. As Marie Forleo says “Everything is figuroutable”
Parking > Easy fix – If am concerned about parking I can just catch an Uber
Technology > Pay someone – pay an IT Support person to fix the issue in a fraction of the time I can (and before you say it, digital is NOT IT)
Waiting for responses on emails > I can include a timeline outlining expectations on when a response is required + set a reminder before I send it.
So, I plan to eliminate these frustrations from my day, moving forward.
5 years, 1825 days, 43,800 hours is a long time to be in a role. It is certainly the longest I have ever been in one place for but I love being Chief of Everything and I love the flexibility and being my own boss (and harshest critic).
Would I change anything? Perhaps? Maybe? But I can’t regret any decisions I have made – good or bad. That is part of life and part of running a business.
So, thank you to all the people who have supported me, the fabulous clients and strategic partners I have worked with over the years and to my supportive number 1 fan – my husband. He has been the receiver of tears and tantrums, frustrations, excitement and everything in between.
Cheers to the next 5 years – I look forward to where it might take me across the globe.