I’m writing this post as we travel to visit family for the holidays. As we trek along for the 12-hour drive (yep, we’re crazy), I think back on my first year of business.
If you haven’t been reading for long, I started my business in January 2016. I began as a social media specialist for small businesses and then grew into offering a wide variety of marketing services for online business owners.
In just one year I’ve grown my client list (check out how I got my first five) and connected with so many people across the globe. It’s been a wild ride to say the least and I’m so grateful for it.
I’ve discussed the highs and lows of business ownership, and I’ve even shared what a day in the life is like, but I haven’t yet shared the mistakes I’ve made throughout this first year.
My hope in sharing these mistakes is that for those of you just beginning your journey to learn from, however sometimes you need to make the mistakes to really learn. Mistakes are a part of life but it’s how you learn from them that really matters.
The 6 Mistakes I Made In My First Year Of Business
I didn’t create time for my own business
In the beginning, I was solely focused on getting client work. Which was great! That was what was going to increase my income and get my name out there. It was necessary for me to focus on getting clients.
However, at some point, I stopped focusing on my own business.
I stopped blogging. I stopped writing email newsletters. I ignored my social media profiles.
Client work always took priority and while most times that is absolutely important, I also needed to give the time for my own business and treating it like my own client.
It can be hard, because when you work with clients, that’s primarily what pays your income. But if you continue to never dedicating time to work on your business, it can end up growing into something you don’t enjoy doing.
My hope for this next year is to make sure I spend time on my own business while still dedicating the proper amount of time to my amazing clients.
I compared myself. A lot.
Gosh this one is hard to admit. But it’s true. I compared myself often to other business owners and it’s something I continuously work on.
“Look at what she’s doing. Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Why did they get more email subscribers in their first month of business?”
“I wish I just made half as much as her in one month!”
It feels gross to admit these thoughts but I’m all about sharing the good and the bad of running a business.
Comparing never gets me anywhere except in a negative headspace. I’ve recently unsubscribed from a lot of blogs and email newsletters that were causing much of the comparison. I also try to spend my time wisely on social media.
Because you can end up spending all day comparing yourself and where does that get you? No where.
Stay in your own lane, focus on your business, and celebrate the wins of other businesses. Other people winning doesn’t mean you can’t win in your business.
Related post: My Struggle With Finding Balance As A Solopreneur (And What I’m Doing About It)
I did a lot of tasks that I didn’t need to
When I first started, I didn’t want to spend money on anything. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat, especially if you’re just starting out.
While keeping things low cost is great when you’re just getting started, at some point you do need to invest in services/people to help you do things that you don’t have the time to do.
I mean, let’s get real, I was manually pinning 30-40 pins a day on Pinterest. That is crazy. And I don’t have time to do that anymore.
So I invested in BoardBooster for $10/month and it saves me so much time.
As my business continues to grow, I’ll continue to invest in my business to save me time, effort, and money.@BrittneyLLynn shares the 6 mistakes she made during her first year of business. Check out the post & learn from her mistakes Click To Tweet
I stressed way too much.
Man, I stressed way too much about everything.
“Did my email subscribers like my email or was it stupid?”
“I just need one more client to get to this amount of money each month!”
“I don’t have any good photos to share on Instagram. Ugh!”
Yes, in all honesty I stressed out about Instagram photos. Instagram. People. If you’re stressing about Instagram photos it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your life.
Fortunately, when I started, we relied upon my husband’s income to live on (read our debt paying story to find out how!).
That means I didn’t have to stress about earning a living wage to be able to feed, clothe, and house us.
So if you’re in that situation your stresses are valid and very different from mine.
But I was stressing about things that did not need to be stressed about. I’m slowly learning to take a chill pill some times and realize that it takes time to build a profitable business. Not everything is worth stressing out over. Especially Instagram photos. Yeesh.
Not investing in a web design
I don’t think I talked about this on the blog (but I did on Instagram stories, follow me!) but I had a major breakdown about my website.
Long story short, the free WordPress theme I initially used on my website was banned from WordPress earlier this year.
This free theme had thousands of users, so I thought I was safe from that ever happening.
In fact, I had no idea it was banned. I tried to update it and I kept getting errors. I put a call out on Instagram stories and the wonderful Jess from Jess Creatives told me that my theme had unfortunately been banned.
Uh, what? How is that possible?!
I quickly purchased a new theme from Bluchic (amazing, feminine WordPress themes!) and installed it in a weekend.
I should have done this WAY earlier than I did but lesson learned: You always get what you pay for and free is not always the best.
I didn’t network with people sooner
I think this may have been my biggest mistake of the year.
I didn’t realize that one of the things I missed most about working in an office was interacting with my co-workers.
I should have known. I’ve always loved collaborating with other people and always think two brains are better than one.
I’m also an introvert so I recharge by being by myself.
I figured since I didn’t mind being by myself that I would be totally fine working alone as a solopreneur.
Wrong. So wrong.
After about a month I was going crazy. My husband travels often for work and while my dog is a great coworker he doesn’t talk much.
I started feeling really isolated and alone.
Another contributing factor to feeling isolated was that my friends and family don’t really get what I do.
I mean, they understand I work for myself, and they know I do marketing, but they don’t really get what it’s like to run an online business.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to talk about your business all the time.
Two of the best things I did for myself and my business:
- I found a group of girls in Dallas to meet up with.
- I started a mastermind group.
These two things alone have helped immensely in feeling better during my days. My mastermind especially has been amazing. There are just three of us, but it is so incredible to have two other people who get what it’s like to be a business owner. They have both been so incredibly supportive and helpful and I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for all of us.
If I could recommend anything to you for the next year is to find a mastermind group, or even a business coach, to talk business with. It will do incredible things for your mindset.
Part of running a business is making mistakes. There’s just no way around it and the mistakes you make help you grow as a person and as a business owner.
I hope in sharing my mistakes that you remember to take time for yourself and make you a priority. How can you run your business if you aren’t taking care of yourself?
I’d love to hear about your mistakes from the past year and what you’re hoping to do for 2017. Please leave a comment below!
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