Launching your first business can be one of the most challenging experiences of your entire life. No matter how many articles you’ve read or how many your mentors you’ve had, at the end of the day the most valuable lessons will come from getting out there, making mistakes as you try to make your goals happen, and adjusting your approach as the world gives you feedback.
Here are the 5 most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my business experience so far:
1. Working Overtime Is Not Something to Be Proud Of
Let’s go back to the first few weeks when I launched my coaching business. I was so overwhelmed by the launch that I kept staring at the computer screen 24/7, not returning my friends’ calls and spending whatever free time I had working from home. I suffered from insomnia, lack of appetite and nervous breakdowns.
One day, I was so exhausted that, when I opened my eyes in the morning, I couldn’t get up. That day I realized what burning out actually meant. I had done it before when I worked as a copywriter in the advertising industry, but this time, it was different.
My business was my baby and I refused to let it breathe without my oversight. I thought that, by working as hard as I possibly could, I would get more done. WRONG. All I did was worsen my health and temporarily destroy my productivity.
So, my first tip to you is to never get so caught up in “hustling” that you forget to rest. Trust me, it will be overwhelming at first and you may be too excited to sleep, but a few weeks in you’ll feel the need to sit back and relax. Don’t overlook your precious ME-time.
2. You’re Going to Get Hate, Lots of It'You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.' - Winston Churchill Click To Tweet
Anyone who puts themselves out there and tries to change the status quo will get criticism and hate from those that support it. What you must remember is that, whenever you’re being hated for something, it means that you’re actually accomplishing something. For better or worse, a lot of people prefer to judge others and project their own insecurities onto them.
Let me give you an example. In the very beginning of my coaching practice, some people hated on me for being “too young” to launch a coaching business and for “not having enough experience in life” to be a life coach. They couldn’t be further from the truth.
But I remember myself feeling a little crushed inside because I worked really hard on launching my business and expected everyone’s support. WRONG. People are not going to be supportive of you, just because you feel like you’re doing the right thing. Get over yourself and on with living your life and building your business. Feeling entitled will get you nowhere because the world doesn’t really owe you anything.
I remember my husband telling me one thing that completely shifted my perspective: “I got just as much hate when I was launching my own business. That’s what people do. It’s not personal—and it’s not about you.” A big shift happened inside me. I felt not only stronger and more centered, but also felt compassion for them.
When people hate you, they have something bigger going on inside themselves. Click To Tweet
I’m not saying you should spend your time thinking about their issues, but you should definitely realize that, where they’re coming from, is a place you never want to be in. So let them be and let them go.
3. Other People Don’t Determine Your Value
This is probably the hardest lesson I learned as a coach. My first client was a friend of mine who was determined to get coaching and, being a close friend, I offered him a big discount on my services. Because I had lowered my price and undervalued my services, he wasn’t as committed as he really needed to be to bring about positive change in his life circumstance. He would reschedule, delay payments, and do all of those things an uncommitted client would do.
As a new coach myself, at first, I didn’t know how to handle the situation. I was completely puzzled why such a great friend would be so unreliable when it comes to getting coached. What I realized, later on, was that it wasn’t about me at all. I felt so self-conscious because I was just starting out, but what turned out to be the problem was that he actually felt like he couldn’t commit to himself. He didn’t want to spend 1 hour digging into his problems and soon realized that coaching wasn’t for him, but didn’t really know how to tell me.
I learned a couple of valuable lessons from this situation alone:
You determine your product’s and service’s value. The higher the value, the more committed the clients. Of course, you will have to work harder to get these clients in the first place. As an entrepreneur, don’t be afraid to charge accordingly. Trust me, recommendations and new clients just like them will follow.
If you give away big discounts or offer all of your services for free, you won’t be taken seriously.
Money is not the most important thing in the world but it’s the fuel for your business. Click To Tweet
So, don’t be afraid to charge what you believe is fair and give your best to keep your clients happy. If you have limiting beliefs about money, I recommend this awesome book by Ramit Sethi and this one by Robert Kiyosaki.
4. Financial Security Is Crucial
When I was starting out, I sat down and discussed our family finances with my husband. He offered to help me and told me that I should focus on launching my business, and he would take care of earning enough for the both of us while my business turned profitable. If he didn’t have my back, though, I had a couple of options in mind:
- Finding a part-time job as a copywriter and coaching half the day;
- Finding a full-time job as a copywriter and coaching on the weekends.
I know how tempting it may look to quit your job and focus entirely on your new business. But, if you don’t have financial stability, it’s a really, really bad idea. Some businesses take off pretty fast, but others can take months or even years to build. Be patient with yourself, don’t forget tip #1 and everything else will fall into place.
5. Be Persistent and Don’t Give up Too Early
Entrepreneurship is a test of your persistence. Trust me, I’ve been there. Some days, you won’t want to get out of bed, other days you will mindlessly be watching cats on YouTube or some comedy TV show you’ve already seen. Any other fellow-procrastinators here? 🙂
Procrastination doesn't build character. Putting yourself out there will. Click To Tweet
One of the best articles on procrastination I’ve ever read is by Tim Urban. I highly recommend you check it out. But first, let’s get back to the last and probably most valuable tip I can ever give you on entrepreneurship.
Giving up is easy, especially when it gets hard. It’s not typical for us, humans, to prefer pain over pleasure. If you have the opportunity to choose, it’s pretty obvious what you’re going to end up doing. But the problem is that by giving up on your business and your dreams, you’re depriving yourself of the opportunity to fail and grow.
In order to grow, you need to fail as many times as your growth requires. Click To Tweet
That’s right. You’re not going to become the best version of yourself if you keep living in your comfort zone. You need to get out there and slay some dragons. But in order to do that, tips 1-4 are absolutely essential. Tip #5 only works if you take a good, honest look at yourself and you don’t let the external circumstances define you.
Whatever you’re up to, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please, comment below and share your own experience! If you have any questions on entrepreneurship — I’d be happy to help.
Take care and slay those dragons that we’ve talked about.