A Year in Review: 7 Lessons Learned as a New Entrepreneur

Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

Sarah Skraban

Dec 27, 2017

Looking back on the past year and reflecting on what went well, what could have gone better, and what you hope to change can have a powerful impact on your business (and life).

Being able to accept failure and learn from setbacks allows you to grow. If you are not growing in your business, you are standing still. And if you are not failing now and then, you probably are not learning much.

This post dives into seven lessons I have learned — or that have been reinforced to me — as an entrepreneur throughout the past year.

1. Let go of PERFECTION and take imperfect ACTION

If you wait for “perfect”, nothing will ever get done.

No one is perfect and no one has the perfect plan.

Get comfortable with imperfection and take ACTION despite any resistance you feel.

Lori Kennedy from the Wellness Business Hub encourages entrepreneurs to “commit to taking imperfect action and get really comfortable with something that is 70% perfect.”

This is the BIGGEST lesson I have recently learned and it is so valuable.

At the end of 2016, I set a goal to launch a specific online product. I spent the majority of 2017 chipping away at this project. I compiled info every week but always felt like the finished product was so far off. In the beginning of the year, I told myself to just get the content down and I would make it better later. I then spent months upon months going over it and trying to make it better.

Finally, in October, right before I went on maternity leave, I decided “good enough” is perfectly good! I took ACTION and launched the product.

I surpassed my initial revenue goal. I have some extra money in my PayPal account for Christmas shopping, which never would have been possible if I waited for “perfection”.

I became more confident in my work. I realized putting something out there and launching really isn’t so scary after all. I want to launch MORE!

Let go of perfection. Start taking imperfect action.

2. Get out of your comfort-zone more often

A comfort-zone is comfortable. You know what to expect. It is not scary.

Going out on a limb may be scary because you might fail. You may lose something. But, you might also gain something…

Every single one of us experiences fear at one point or another.

Whether it is fear of failure in your business or the fear of skydiving.

That feeling of fear is not what is actually holding you back though, it is what you do with that feeling.

“You can’t wait until the fear goes away before you take action that you’re actually afraid of; the only way it goes away is by taking the action.”

Maria Shriver

Learning to embrace fear and anxiety takes time and practice.

Choose to get out of your comfort-zone more often.

When someone says “no”, don’t take it personally. They are saying “no” to themselves, not you.

When an idea flops, learn from it. Let go of your attachment to a certain outcome and focus on the joy of what you do.

Being able to act on your fears and get outside of your comfort-zone allows you to feel empowered and gives you a sense of accomplishment. This is the space where BIG things happen and you become unstoppable!

3. Your dream business is YOUR dream business

We can look at other people who seem to have it all and easily wish we have what they have. But the comparison trap is a no win situation — whether you come out on top or come out lacking. It is a trap.

For example, let’s say there is an online entrepreneur you follow who seems to have it all… A booming six-figure business, perfect hair in every Facebook Live video that gets hundreds of views and comments, and pretty Instagram pictures of her traveling the world.

Maybe what you do not see is that she is working 60+ hours a week — something you do not want. Maybe she wakes up at 3am to do her hair and makeup for videos — something you just are not going to realistically sustain. Maybe she has to travel frequently as a part of her business — and perhaps your family life just does not allow for that.

Whatever the case may be, it is important to remember that another person’s success is THEIR success.

Your business is YOUR business — no one else’s. Do what makes you happy and what works for your life, your schedule, your family, etc.

4. Invest in YOURSELF

Whether it is continued education, a business coach, or a mastermind group, investing in yourself is one — if not THE — best thing you can do for your business.

While it may be difficult to part with your hard earned money, especially when you aren’t making a lot yet, investing in yourself is just that — an investment. And the return on that investment is worth it!

Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and, better yet, those who have gone before you and know MORE than you. This will propel your business forward.

5. Give away valuable content but don’t give your services or programs away for free

You have to give in order to receive.

Offering valuable, free content — or information — shows your knowledge and authority in your field. It allows a potential client to start trusting you.

You can offer free content in the form of blog posts, YouTube videos, posts on social media and in Facebook groups, podcasts, or even emails.

You can, and should, take this free content a step further and create something a little extra special that you send your readers in exchange for their email address.

This gives you the opportunity to start building relationships, gain even more trust, and eventually, sell them something!

You want offer something SUPER valuable to your potential clients. Some examples of this include your best practices, top tips and tricks, cheat sheets, worksheets, challenges, educational video series, etc.

The free offer is a piece of super valuable information but the paid content puts all the pieces together and offers a complete how-to roadmap. Your free stuff is a little glimpse into your paid programs, products, or services.

Do not give away your paid content for free — or even at a large discount.

People appreciate free but they do not value it as much as they would if they they had made an investment.

6. Manage your energy, not just your time.

Being in charge of your day is about so much more than managing your time. You have to manage your ENERGY and ATTENTION.

Understanding the times of day you work best and the times you may need a break will save you time and energy in the long run.

If you are most focused in the morning, do your most important work then. If you feel tired and overwhelmed after a busy few days, taking time to rest and reset will allow you to come back better. Trying to complete a project when you are unfocused is not the most productive use of your time. Chance are you will spend more time on it than necessary. You will not produce your best work. And you may even have to go back and re-do it anyway.

You can never get back wasted or unproductive time.

7. The money mindset

I’ve learned that many entrepreneurs, including myself, don’t actually think they can ever really “make it big”.

We have never experienced a six-figure launch or made a million dollars in our businesses, so we have no idea what those things would feel like.

It seems like only a small handful of entrepreneurs ever really figure it out. True financial freedom is more a dream than a realistic goal. We tell ourselves it is out of our reach. We tell ourselves it may be possible for others but is unattainable for us.

The things we tell ourselves matter.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Henry Ford

When you look at others and feel threatened or play scared, you are unable to make big moves in your business.

Visualize yourself being extremely successful. It gives you something to work towards and allow you to recognize what you want when you see it.

Muhammad Ali saw himself winning long before the actual fight. And Michael Jordan always took the last shot in his mind before taking it in real life.

Focus your mindset on abundance, not scarcity, and you will see growth and success.

There is enough money and success to go around.

In conclusion

A huge part of every success story is failure. Get comfortable with taking imperfect action and embrace failure. Choose abundance and gratitude over scarcity and comparison. Visualize your perfect day and perfect business and make it work for you! Keep learning and keep growing, my friend. You deserve to be successful!

Sarah is a personal trainer, Fitness Director at a private club, mother, and writer behind The Fit Niche. She helps fitness and wellness entrepreneurs be awesome! She also runs a free Facebook Group called Fitness Biz + Blog Mastermind Community. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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