A year ago this week I launched my business. It was the most exciting/scary thing I've done in a VERY long time. Would people like me? Hate me? Respond well to what I just put out into the universe or simply ignore it? Looking back, these are some of the greatest lessons I've learned.
In my mind, I could picture my perfect website, content, imagery and how I wanted to present my business to the world. I wanted my launch day to pack a serious punch! Looking back, I probably could've launched a few months earlier had I accepted the fact that everything wasn't going to be perfect on day one. The business has evolved so much over the past year as I learned what worked (and what didn't) that I've made TONS of changes to my website and content. I should've just put it out there and made running changes as needed. Who knows what I missed out on those few months I was trying to perfect everything.
FIND THE BEST PLATFORM TO SHARE YOUR STORY
You may be surprised to know that I'm really an introvert at heart. I don't like talking about myself, I'd much rather learn about you and what you've got going on. (this is definitely one of the reasons I was such a successful salesperson!) I begrudgingly attended networking events because I thought it was what I had to do in order to get my name out there. I felt like I was speed dating. Some people were genuinely interested in making new business connections but more often than not I was often hit with a hard sell. It was only when I started participating in Facebook groups that I felt comfortable sharing everything that I had in the works. In the comfort of my home, messy hair, and my dog in my lap are how I made some of my best business connections. Figure out how you're most comfortable networking and go all in.
DEVELOP BIZ BFF'S
I have the most supportive family and friends but developing friendships with fellow small business owners and creative entrepreneurs helped keep me sane. Sometimes, a well-meaning friend or family member will ask "How's your business doing?" and depending on the day, I'd be feeling like a Rock Star or total failure. I didn't want to unleash all those feelings so I'd offer a short answer and hope to move on. Small business owners have ALL been there, and don't look at you funny when you admit to having a meltdown moment. We cheer each other on, support the wins and provide comfort and cocktails on the tougher days.
YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA NUMBERS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF YOUR SUCCESS
When you're developing your social media following each new follower can feel like Christmas! Yes, they like me! Woohoo, what I'm (doing/selling) really is connecting with people! I'm definitely going to be successful! And then, as quickly as they were there, they disappeared.
The follow/unfollow/like for like is infuriating and getting swept up in it can seriously impact your focus and self-esteem. Instead, make growing an engaged audience that loves YOU and your content a priority. Just because an account has high numbers doesn't mean their following is super interested in what they have to share. Building a community takes time, and just like business, some will have what appears to be an overnight success while others will take more time to develop. With the constantly changing algorithms, who knows what the future holds for these platforms.
INVEST IN THE COURSE/EBOOK/COACH/HELP
As a brand new business, my budget was basically nonexistent. I've always considered myself a pretty savvy and resourceful lady so I thought I could figure it out on my own. The problem was, I was spending so much time researching for my business I wasn't actually working on my business. I literally spent a month trying to figure something out on my own that had I paid for the course up front, would've saved so much time, energy and some of my sanity. It's really hard to justify spending money when little (or no) money is coming in. Once I accepted that I could benefit from someone else's expertise and made so strategic investments my business shifted almost instantly.