What I Learned After a Year of Going For It
At the beginning of the year, I decided to go for it. I wanted to try and explore different ideas I had had for my business, and this was the year to do it. Now, as 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on how this year went.
I started the year with two simple goals: I wanted to invoice a specific amount (it doesn’t mean I actually pocketed the money, just that I wanted to generate that much revenue) and I wanted to book more traveling and paid workshops. All year, I made these goals a priority and spent the time and resources necessary to get there.
And guess what. I achieved both goals!
But, as happy as I am for reaching both goals, it has taken a lot of trials and tribulations that have caused this year to probably be one of the more stressful years of my life. More so than any other year, I have spent more restless nights worrying about my future, money and all of the other things that come with being a small business owner.
“Achieving your dreams” sounds like it’s all sunshine and rainbows. Even in movies where the protagonist faces major setbacks, we still tend to focus on the singular good feelings of the final win. One thing I try to do on this blog is show what real entrepreneurship looks like, not just what it looks like after you make it.
With that in mind, here are a few lessons I’ve learned from my year of going for it.
JUST BECAUSE YOU THROW MONEY AND RESOURCES AT SOMETHING DOESN’T MEAN IT WILL WORK
I think in this way I was really naive, especially when it came to my one-on-one workshops and webinars. I thought spending time and money making things look great doing social media ads would all of the sudden fill my schedule with new customers.
Even writing this is a little raw for me because it hasn’t really worked out as I wanted. It will take a lot more than what I thought. Even more so, it will be a continuous process of seeing what works and then what doesn’t.
As I go into 2019, I am re-evaluating my workshops and maybe even changing course completely. I have decided to hold off on pushing my campaigns until the new year, so I can reconsider my options and where to go from here.
JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE MAKING MORE MONEY, DOESN’T MEAN IT’S PROFIT
My business has made more money this year than it ever has before, but I made less in profit.
How does that work? I am paying more people and for more things to make my business run. I think this year was a growing year, and that it was necessary. However, looking to 2019, I am going to see how I can correct my mistakes from this year. I am weighing all of my options because I obviously can’t run my business like this forever.
THE “OVERNIGHT SUCCESS” IS ACTUALLY “OVER MANY NIGHTS”
At the beginning of the year, I spoke at the Makers Conference in Greenville, SC. The keynote speaker, Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, said something that I seriously repeat in my head on a daily (maybe even hourly) basis. I wish I had written down so that I wouldn’t have to paraphrase.
Basically, she said that after 25 years of hard work, all of the sudden it seemed that she was an overnight success.
What she was saying that yeah, it might look easy now, it might look like she has everything and like she is an overnight success, but she has been tirelessly working at this for 25 years. I always remind myself of this.
YOU HAVE TO LOVE THE PROCESS
I always talk about this, but being an entrepreneur is a journey, not a destination. You really have to learn how to enjoy the ride and not just focus on how you will be happy when you have “made” it.
Believe me, some days I know that it is really hard to enjoy that journey, and throwing in the towel seems like the best option. But, sustaining an entrepreneur lifestyle means you need to enjoy the entrepreneur lifestyle.
CELEBRATE THE WINS
I cannot stress how important this is. Sometimes wins feel far and few between when you work for yourself, which is why you have to learn how to learn how to let yourself celebrate them and let people around you celebrate them too.
I’m going to start working on this one right now. I wish I could tell you that I am going into 2019 on top of the world, but that isn’t how I feel. Instead, I am going into the new year feeling a little uncertain of where my business will be going. Like I mentioned before, for November and December, I am going to slow down a bit and just focus on my client work, celebrate that I did achieve my goals for the year and figure out what goals I might want to celebrate in 2019.