As we head into the new year, it’s always the perfect time to reflect. About a year ago, I had this crazy idea of starting a blog to support my design & branding business. When the idea first popped into my head I literally stayed up alllll night because I was so excited at the possibilities. I was brainstorming names at 4am and could not stop.
Now that it’s been a year of amazing ups and downs, I am excited to share with you 10 really, really honest things I’ve learned from all of this. I promise to keep it extra real and juicy. Hopefully, you can learn and implement this into your own world.
1. If you don’t have anything to share, it’s 100 times better to wait until you have content ideas or inspiration than to share bullsh*t!
This is true for blog posting and even for social media. I made a commitment to myself early in the year that I would commit to posting on Instagram at least once a day. IT MADE ME INSANE!! I would stress out if I didn’t really have anything of importance to share and was scrambling for some random photo in my phone to put up. If I didn’t know what to write in a blog post I would do the same. I hated sharing for the sake of sharing. It felt so inauthentic, so I squashed this crazy, robot goal of mine and deleted all the bullsh*t posts.
If I do anything that doesn’t feel genuine in my business or life, I feel like I die a little death. It’s just part of my personality and is a true blessing + curse. I have major feelings of guilt and it doesn’t do well for my mindset. It’s great to have goals, of course, but remember why you are doing them.
In order to create quality content, you have to stop posting for the sake of posting. Make goals that you know you can keep your authentic space while balancing consistency. It’s truly an art form and you’ll get better at it day by day.
2. You cannot be of value to your audience if you don’t take care of yourself first.
OH EM GEE! This might of been the biggest lesson for me in 2015! I started 2015 with an overflowing business. I had so many clients I didn’t know what to do with. It was beyond exhilarating, but in the mix of all of it I stopped putting myself first. I worked really long hours and sometimes made hard-to-keep deadlines that I mostly always magically met, but I become a crazy, anxious person.
I had to take major steps back mid-year and truly reevaluate. I couldn’t sprint at this marathon forever. It just wasn’t sustainable.
I had a major epiphany after getting pretty bad carpal tunnel – that in order to serve my clients, I MUST take care of myself first or this could all come crashing down. Like literally I couldn’t work because I was in pain from not taking care of myself. I set boundaries and really started valuing myself outside of my business.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, know it’s ok to take care of yourself and practice some major self-love/care. Going 100mph all the time won’t be sustainable. Slow down and really create space for YOU!
3. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
Of course I knew this all along, but that doesn’t mean I was perfect at implementing this. I have to constantly remind myself almost daily. If you feel yourself in the comparison trap – remember we all have to start somewhere and there’s major magic in actually starting something so make sure you give yourself a big hug for doing that. After you’re done giving yourself that big hug remember to not compare yourself to anyone or their business because it’s a total buzz kill and can distract you from being the awesome person you are.
We need all the positive mindset power we can get as business owners, so don’t let your comparison thoughts get the best of you. A really awesome tip I implemented this year, was a social media/digital detox. I unsubscribed, unfollowed, un-whatevered I could to keep my eyes on my own paper and keep creating awesome content for my own audience.
Examine what you let in and see what you can let go that triggers the comparison trap. If you have to let things and people go that are no longer serving you, than do it! You’ll feel like a million bucks after that.
4. Get organized even if you hate it!
I highly resist organization! Calendars and schedules are scarier than an episode of American Horror Story. To be honest, structure makes me feel anxious, but running a business without organization is no good and this is something I’ve had to realize.
I know I’m not very good at putting systems into place so I use tools to keep structure in my business. My favorites being basecamp, asana, evernote (where I create to-do lists), and I’m in the search for a really, really organized assistant/project manager.
If you are like me, sit down and have a heart to heart with yourself about organization because without it you can’t have a strong business foundation and you’ll save yourself so much time in the future by putting systems in place.
What are ways you can outsource organizational tasks? Get on it, sister!
5. Don’t hire someone who is exactly like you.
When I was hiring someone earlier this year, I wanted someone who was also creative. I wasn’t clear on truly what this person looked like and would do. I realized that I need someone to pick up the things that 1. I don’t like doing and 2. can do them faster and more efficiently than me. In conclusion, this person would be the opposite of me.
If you are looking to hire someone, truly think it through before jumping the gun. This is a major commitment. Depending on your business’s needs right now, you probably don’t need another you/bestie; you need an opposite!
6. Make a list of potential post ideas and keep adding to it ALWAYS.
My mind usually goes 100 miles per minute. I am always coming up with blog post ideas. I used to not write them down in hopes of remembering these brilliant ideas but most of the time they are 100% forgotten once I got to my computer to write a blog post.
Now that I’ve learned that lesson, I keep an ongoing note in the notes app on my phone + computer that I can brainstorm ideas whenever they come to me. I get a lot of my ideas in the car so I love speaking them and having them dictated through the notes app. That keeps me safe while driving + open to creative ideas!
7. Start a stop doing list.
I took this tip from Hilary Rushford’s periscope. It’s where you make a list of things you don’t like doing so you can give it to an assistant or your future assistant down the road. I started this list a couple months ago and it’s been so helpful to know exactly the person I want to hire next.
Even if you are not ready to hire someone right now, it’s a great way to start manifesting that perfect person to support you when the time is right.
8. Make like-minded biz friends!
Let’s be real – being an online business owner can feel uber lonely most of the time. When you’re working allllll day behind your computer and realize you haven’t actually spoken a word out loud or been outside in 5 hours, it can feel a little sad.
My #1 cure for this is to make like-minded biz friends. Before this year, I didn’t have very many friends in the entrepreneurial and blogging world. I would try to talk to friends and family about my accomplishments + struggles as an online business owner and even though they loved me and tried to understand, they just didn’t get it. It’s totally ok because there are other ways we connect, but having people who understand can be a true game-changer.
Having this type of loving biz support is truly a necessity to keeping balanced and sane. If you haven’t met any business besties yet, don’t worry because there are tons of places you can meet them. Just to name a few – facebook groups, local entrepreneur meet-ups, social media (I’ve met tons of awesome people through Instagram), and online business courses (This is where I’ve met most of my biz friends. Private facebook groups that go along with courses are the best!)
These friends don’t always have to be local either, you can meet via phone or google hangout. It’s just nice to connect with people who just get you.
9. No one has your unique point of view and that’s your best advantage.
This was a true game changer for me. Can you imagine how many designer/bloggers there are in this online space? Like a billion (ok, that’s a slight exaggeration), but only I have had the unique life experiences that led me to this place right now. No one else can speak on my behalf and no one else can combine all these words I’ve put together in this blog post because it’s what I’ve created and am sharing with you right now.
Once you realize this, competition isn’t a thing anymore. Competition can become collaboration and everything loses its intense tension.
I just launched my Instagram workshop, while I was launching there were 3 other Instagram e-courses launching at the same time. Of course, I’m sure they were all equally as awesome but each and every one has a different take on the subject.
Don’t let competition paralyze you from launching, creating, and doing because the way you do it is way different than the next.
10. Commit to being kind to yourself, always!
Let’s face it – this whole entrepreneurial thing is tough. I’ve immersed myself in it because it challenges me to be the best human I can be and have the opportunity to serve people in a way I couldn’t anywhere else.
If you’re going to commit to being an entrepreneur, you MUST commit to being kind to yourself or you will lose your mind. You can quote me on that one! It’s a balance between pushing yourself but also showing some major compassion through the process. It’s all a journey and the best part is you get to learn along the way.
I’d LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear some of your business or blog lessons you’ve learned in 2015. Please comment below with some of your own favs!