Five Things I Wish I’d Known When I First Started My Business

Today is my 3 year anniversary of owning my business.

My business doesn’t look much like it did when I first started.

I’ve grown. My family has grown. I’ve changed and my business had to adapt right alongside me.

The dedication and commitment it takes to see an idea through is intense. Naturally, hindsight is always perfect and it’s so easy to say “I’d have done things differently if I’d only known…”

I definitely thought this journey would be easier and had I know these 5 things at the beginning, it maybe would have.

  • Don’t be afraid of the cost of outsourcing. Outsource as much as possible. As soon as possible.

When I first started, I was so obsessed with not spending money, that I literally tried to do everything myself. Seriously. Everything.

I had purchased a rather expensive CRM and marketing automation software right off the bat. And because the program itself was a pretty penny, I learned the back-end user interface myself. I spent hours learning this system to avoid paying someone else to help me with it.

This was a truly terrible use of my time and talents. Had I realized how much time outsourcing would have freed up for me, I could have created more content, made more business connections, and done more of what only I can do.

I didn’t full embrace this until just about a year and a half ago. I started making investments in my business and I had the freedom to do more of what I’m good at.

Remember there is no substitute for you in your business. All the other stuff can and should be handled by experts.

  • Wanting to quit is totally normal.

Even still to this day, after publishing my book and speaking around the country, I have moments when I think to myself, “Why am I trying so hard to make this work? Getting a normal job would be so much easier.”

And you know what?

Yes. Yes, it certainly would.

But doing the easy thing has never really been my M.O. I like the challenge. I like being my own boss. I like trying to figure this beast out. I believe I have become practically unemployable at this point anyway and not due to my skills, but due to my heart.

My heart may never allow me to have a boss again.

So, even though I feel the desire to quit sometimes, I won’t.

  • Just like golf–it only takes one beautiful shot to keep you coming back.

One keynote talk. One amazing book review. One win. It almost always snaps me right out of a funk and reminds my why I won’t quit. Not every day will be great but man, when things go well, it’s hard to imagine doing things any other way.

  • Doing is the best way to learn.

I still struggle from time to time with analysis paralysis. I like to have a plan and I’d prefer to be reasonably certain that my plan will work. There are no certainties. We need to try things. Probably mess a few things up and try again.

I would have started things sooner had I really understood this. I always thought that success was reserved for those who executed on their plans. I now have come to believe that success will be defined differently for all of us and we need to allow ourselves to learn from the journey rather than being so fixated on the destination point.

When we can do that, we realize that we learn just as much from what didn’t go well as we do from the times when everything falls perfectly into place.

  • That after three years, I’d still question what the flip I’m doing on a semi-regular basis.

The learning curve just continues. Once you achieve a certain level of comfort, something else will come up, continually pushing you to adapt, grow and learn. This is both the beauty and the pure frustration of being a business owner.

The bottom line is this: I don’t regret leaving my full-time job for a minute. There are challenges and there are disappointments. There are uncertainties and there are fears.

But there are wins. Some are big and some, not so much. No matter the size, these victories belong securely in the W column. To me the most important thing is this: if I can make a difference to at least one person on any given day, my work matters and I will share what I know with the world.

If you’re in business for yourself, what have you learned along the way? Be sure to share those nuggets of wisdom in the comments…we learn from each other!

Here’s to many more years of this crazy roller coaster ride!

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