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© 2019 Small Business Collaborative

8 things I learned in my first year in business


As 2019 is coming to an end and we're getting ready to ring in a new year and a new decade I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what I've learned and set a few goals and intentions for next year.




1. Reflecting is even more important when you run your own business


I'm a very all or nothing person and once I get that feeling in my gut to go for something I am pretty unstoppable. This year I've learned that although it is not wrong or bad to just run with it and see where it takes me I do also need to put a pause in somewhere and reflect before I take that last step.


I really admire how others seem so intentional in their decision making for their business and I talk about reflecting and making thoughtful and impactful decisions all the time with my clients but in truth, I have found it challenging to do the same for myself.


I am very excitable but I have learned that when I do stop and just let myself be for a couple of days my mind re-fills with ideas almost like a well and that's a good thing. I need to let it!


In 2020 I am going to schedule even more time for reflection, I've already committed by blocking out 2 full days each quarter for "big thinking".





2. Investing in your business is freeing


There are so many things I would love to invest in, a professionally built website, a copywriter to re-write all my posts and copy, SEO, a photography course, a business coach, the list goes on and on.


2019 I've have had to prioritise how I spend my money but I would love to invest in a little bit more help in 2020. We can all learn almost anything but having some help, either someone doing the doing or someone teaching us what to do can really save a lot of time and effort and be really rewarding.


For example, by making by investing in a bit more help I will be able to spend even more time with clients or creating resources.


I've already started by investing in a new client management system and some help with copywriting, I'm going to do a section at a time. I've also invested in some personal development (more on that below in lesson 3).



3. You learn something new all the time


This year I learned that when you work as a business mentor with something that is so uncomfortable as sales you have to help people get past lots of mind blocks.


I absolutely love doing this, and I learned just how much I love it and I think I naturally empathise with people and helping others really energises me.


I've learned that knowledge is a great confidence booster but it's not always enough. Sometimes we need to dig deeper and I would love to be able to help my clients get past those mind blocks and build the businesses they dream of.


To that end, I'm studying a few different things at the moment, NLP, life and business coaching and CBT. This is not because I'm planning on pivoting my business but more for my personal development and to be able to understand where those mind blocks around selling come from deeper.



4. Not everyone is after world domination and that's okay


Perhaps that header is a little misleading as I never set out to build a large business and I also didn't go into this thinking everyone wants to build an empire.


However, this year has really affirmed to me that everyone defines success and their dream business differently and that it also really depends on where each business owner is in their personal life.


My job as a business mentor is not to get all my clients into every shop in the high street but to help them get to where they want to be (how many stockists, 5, 50 or 1000's is completely up to them).


Goalposts can change as you grow your business and that's okay but I want to help my clients build a sustainable business for them and their lifestyle.



5. A business owners mind never goes quiet


This was such a surprise to me and I've said this before. I have always been hardworking, I've always found it difficult to not pull extra hours and check emails in my free time but this year I've had to learn to switch off in a completely new way.


I tried lots of different techniques and read a lot about routines and keeping a schedule and blocking out free time and I think I've found a happy balance for me. I love working and I love what I do and it's okay to work long hours sometimes as long as I take "me time" when I need it.


I get out every day with the dog for a proper walk, for me avoiding burn out doesn't mean that I work 9-5, Monday to Friday, it really doesn't suit me that well. Instead, I learned that I need to listen to my body, every now and then I will need a long lunch on the sofa with a film or I go and meet a friend for a walk or coffee in the middle of the day and then catch up with work in the evening. This freedom gives me so much joy and makes me feel so much gratitude.


I constantly have to work on not feeling guilty when I do this and will continue to work on this in 2020.


I'm far from perfect, one of my goals for 2020 is to get back into a more healthy lifestyle in terms of exercise and eating. It's something I often push to the back of the to-do-list but I realised this little business of mine doesn't run if I don't take care of myself.



6. I am strong


This year has been testing for sure, I've made lots of mistakes, I've doubted myself, thought about going to get a "proper" job more times than I have fingers but I never ever got very far in that thinking.


The imposter syndrome has definitely got the better of me on some days and I am sure it will continue to knock on my door from time to time.


However, not even when my savings dried up and my husband was made redundant did I seriously consider going back into full-time employment. I absolutely love having my own business and working for myself.


Saying that this summer I realised I missed having colleagues and getting out of the house and connecting with people in real life, it completely surprised me as an INFJ but I embraced it and got myself a part-time job and I'm now a WW coach, this was a completely selfish move.


I knew I wanted to get back to a healthier lifestyle and working as a coach really appealed to me as it forces me to consider my habits and it's taught me so much already about our behaviours and about behavioural change.




7. I am now a morning person


I never thought I would say this but I've realised I'm actually the most focused first thing in the morning. I love the ritual of getting up when it's dark outside, light some candles, have a cup of coffee while I plan my day and clear anything urgent in my inbox.


This doesn't happen every morning but when I do manage it I know I will have a great day and I feel really creative and focused.



8. Being visible


Putting myself out there and being the face of my business was scary but so rewarding and now you find me over on Instagram stories all the time. I've also fully embraced being on camera and taking selfies, something I never thought I would say.


The reward has been amazing, I got to know so many inspiring people that a little over a year ago I would have just admired from a distance, in a non-stalkish way :). Now when I come across a business on social media I admire I comment, dm and share without holding back and I am loving it.


This is not to say that I have an easy relationship with social media, I've obsessed about the numbers of followers, likes and comments, wondered why no-one likes me and all that and I got into bad habits of checking my phone way too often and not putting my phone down enough and letting it distract me throughout my day. This is something I will have to continue to work on in 2020.



Looking ahead to 2020


I feel energised and really excited about the year ahead, I have so many things I want to try and do and I've been busy planning over the holidays.


A few things I want to achieve:

  • Schedule more time to reflect

  • Get better with my finances and be more financially stable

  • Finish my studies

  • Host some sort of in-person workshop, I have a few ideas, one focuses solely on selling and different sales techniques which sounds scary and not very sexy but I think it can be fun and really help so I hope I can be brave and make it a reality!

  • Get back to a healthier lifestyle

  • Go on a proper holiday

I like to set SMART goals but to outline all my goals for 2020 in detail is probably a whole other blog post. However, if you're a newsletter subscriber and would like some help to set your own SMART goals you can download a worksheet on this and another one to help you reflect on 2019.



Word of the year


Do you set a word of the year? This year is the first year I'm setting one, first I thought my word would be Kindness but lately, one word, in particular, has appeared in my mind, sometimes without me thinking of anything in particular.


My word for 2020 is IMPACTFUL.

I want to get better at making impactful decisions for my business and stop procrastinating and doing the easy tasks.


I want to help my clients make impactful decisions in their businesses, things that will actually help grow their business, and make their life easier and more enjoyable.


And I want to make a positive impact on the people around me. Perhaps collaborate even more with other small business owners, get to know and connect with new people and make an impact in their lives somehow.



Thank you


I want to take this moment to say a big thank you for reading this far, for being a part of the community and for making my first year in business so special.


I would love to hear about your plans for 2020 and if wholesale is a part of that journey I would love to be a part of it in some way. My DM's and email is always open and I am now booking discovery calls to work with me in 2020.



HAPPY NEW YEAR, I CAN'T WAIT FOR 2020!