Milestone occasions always cause reflection of the past as well as looking to the future. It could be a 45th birthday (yeah that just happened), a child in their last year of high school (yeah that’s happening) or 5 years of business. In September of 2012 I took a chance and decided to take all I’ve learned along with my natural instincts about connecting and helping others and turn it into a business. It began as strictly social media management, but has expanded to so much more with consulting, planning, training, and promotions.
To be honest, it was only in the past two years that the business really started to flourish, to a point where I feel I am actually contributing to the family income. Not that I haven’t been working my tail off before then, but that’s part of what I learned over these past years. For what it’s worth, here are 5 things I’ve learned in these past 5 years. You can take it and reflect upon your own work, or you can let it stand as what one person is doing to enrich her life and business. I hope the lives of others in some small way too, by helping them with their business.
- Confidence. Seriously, the reason I started a business is because I knew I was as good or better than others. Then boom I’m dumped into the digital marketing career sector, which is filled with many egos and everyone knowing that THEY know best. I’m a fairly chill person and pretty non-competitive, it took awhile to learn that if I didn’t at least speak confidently about what I know, I was going to miss out on plenty of opportunity. I’m still not overly-pushy and I would never claim that I know best, but I will speak up and tell you what I think.
- Everything is Perspective. I love Gary Vee. He’s so smart, to-the-point and will call out bullshit before someone finishes slinging it. But there are many things I don’t agree with (for instance, I have strong counter-opinions about hustle). I read dozens of articles and blog posts daily telling me exactly what I need to do to be successful, a marketing guru, or rich. I think if I followed every piece of advice given I’d have to check myself into a mental health clinic. It would drive me crazy. People write about their take on their own successes and failures. You know, what I’m doing right now. It’s up to me to pick and choose what I feel will work with how I want my business to grow.
- Do Not Compare Your Business To Others. You can follow what someone else does 100%, and it still doesn’t work. You know why? You are not that other person. You are not that other business. Sure, Mr. Guru McMillionaire has the perfect 101 step plan for instant success. It worked for him in 30 days. I used to get so frustrated seeing my peers talk about how damn successful they are and they scored 20 new clients and are heading out to this conference in Hawaii to be a keynote speaker, etc etc etc… and finally I realized that I didn’t want to be them. I had to get out of my ego and make a decision. Did I want that? If I did, then I had to do the work in order to make that happen. However, I have a different way of looking at marketing, and I don’t want to lose that uniqueness. Did I just want bragging rights, or did I want to stick to my original plan of helping other small businesses? That being said, if someone wants to fly me to Hawaii for a conference, I wouldn’t turn it down.
- Spreading Yourself Too Thin. A year into my business things were not going well financially, so I took a part time job to supplement. The draw of a steady paycheck is strong, and I felt pressured. The job ended up consuming more time and energy than I originally thought it would, and it took away from my own goals. I do not regret taking the job, it gave me experience and new friends. It also helped me realize the only way to make something work is to decide where you want to spend your time. Did I want to run my own show, or help someone run theirs? I learned that you can’t do both, and spreading yourself too thin only means something will fall through the cracks.
- Keep Learning. In marketing, especially in social marketing, things change quickly. I was looking over some older blogs and things have changed so much from even a year ago. Keep current with your business, whatever the industry. Subscribe to their magazines and blogs. Attend the conferences (if you can afford it- sometimes video is posted after-the-fact). Sign up for webinars. Find a local group and meet with peers (just don’t get stuck in #3). It will take you and your business further, and you truly will be the expert.