When I started my business eight years ago, I was fortunate that things took off rather quickly. The downside to that was that I didn’t have a solid foundation in place, to grow on. I like to say “I tripped on my superhero cape and fell flat on my face.” In many ways, it was a rite of passage as I moved into the entrepreneurial world. They were those first big steps every small business must conquer.
Some of us simply learn the lessons the hard way. Others can learn from those who have been in the trenches. Here are a few of the lessons I learned along the way.
Protect what is important to you
The first big step I took that shifted everything for me was to listen to myself. Remember that vision we hear so much about? I stopped doing what everyone said I should be doing (or what I thought I should be doing) and I started living my life in alignment with what I truly wanted.
Chances are you went into business looking for freedom. Many of us long to create our own hours, spend time with family or doing things we love. It’s important to get really clear on what is important to you and set boundaries to protect it.
I share a simple exercise to help you align yourself with your vision. Getting clear on your vision means knowing what you want for your life, not just for your business. Once you are clear on your vision and priorities, protect it. Base all your decisions on where you want to be, instead of where others think you belong!
Know your weakness
Acknowledging your weakness is the next step. We can’t be all things to everyone. It is as important to know your weaknesses as it is to know what you excel at and what you want to be known for in your business. Knowing your weakness allows you to adapt to it and set strategies to overcome them.
Being aware of your weakness is important in determining the services that you offer. Part of falling flat on my face, many years ago, was that I agreed to take on work too quickly and that I wasn’t qualified to do. The great thing is that others had faith in me to let me try. The problem lies when we don’t say NO. We take on more than we have the bandwidth to handle or ability to manage at the level and quality we want to serve.
Don’t mistake busyness for productivity
We live in a world where we are busy all the time. Some wear this business as a badge of honor. To thrive in business, you need to be selective on where you spend your time and your energy. If you are saying yes to every opportunity, your level of service and productivity will suffer.
You also need to be aware of where you are wasting time and can be more efficient. Doing a time audit will allow you to see the blind spots in your day and allow you to better manage your time, often resulting in hours saved each day!
Build your network
Building your network is an important first step in building a business. When we discuss marketing, I tell clients that everyone you meet is a potential referral source. They may not need our services, but they may know someone who does. Everyone you meet is also a source of support and information. Reach out to others in your field for opinions and resources. Their experience can help you avoid early mistakes, and their connections can accelerate your growth.
Begin building your network from the beginning and remember that support is a two-way street. The more you give, the more you will receive! The bigger your network, the bigger the opportunity for growth and collaboration!
Looking for your own supportive community?
When you have a supportive network, you don’t have to learn the hard way. You have mentors in your life to support you through those tough times and provide encouragement and guidance in the early days. The Fabulously Balanced Life Academy provides that support and guidance with monthly content and masterminds!