10 Lessons Learnt During My First Year of Being in Business
Managing and growing a successful business is no easy feat. I experienced many challenges along the way and I had to learn how to navigate them to make sure my business continues to thrive. I’ve learned many valuable lessons because of these challenges, many of them I learned during my first year in business.
1. Community over competition
Competition can be tough. A lot of entrepreneurs become so focused on comparing themselves with others. However, staying ahead of the game is less about being better than the rest but more about building relationships. It is when you cultivate good relationships with your clients that you can build and sustain loyalty to your brand. It’s equally important to build relationships with your competitors. Think of it as building each other up instead of crushing the competition. Collaborate with others – there’s no rule that says there should only be one at the top. I have built quite a few invaluable relationships with clients and other designers and I will always be grateful for that.
2. Learn to say no
When you are just starting, it’s so easy to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way. However, not all opportunities are beneficial to your business. Learn to identify which ones are worth your time and effort. Say “no” to those that aren’t.
3. Work on your business not in it
Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of micromanagement, thinking that things can be done best if they do it themselves. However, I learned that micromanaging stops you from being a leader. As the leader, you should focus on growing the business. All the other tasks can be delegated among your team members.
4. Take time for me
When you’re growing a new business, it’s easy to lose most of your time managing it. After all, you want it to succeed. But don’t forget to take time to do other stuff you love. I spend time away from my business every so often. It lets me relax and unwind. It makes me a better entrepreneur.
5. Learn all the time
Change is the only constant thing in the world and in business. New trends and technology come and go. The only way to keep up with all these changes is to always keep learning as well. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning and that excites me!
6. Have a plan when things go wrong
Always have a plan B. Not having a contingency plan for times when something goes wrong, such as your computer breaking down, can negatively affect your business. You don’t want to turn down projects or lose out on potential clients and income just because you don’t have a back-up plan.
7. Never give away services or advice for free
Remember, you’re a professional with valuable skills. Don’t let people take advantage of that by giving away what you know and have for free. You worked hard to gain all these skills and knowledge. You deserve to get paid for it.
8. Show up every day
Everyone has their lazy days. While it’s okay to take a break when you’re sick or having a much-need vacation, there’s no excuse to not show up when you’re fine and just not in the mood to work.
9. Don’t listen to haters
You can’t please everybody. At some point, people will have something negative to say about your brand, your products, or your services. However, if they’re not constructive criticism, they’ll just bring you down and zap your confidence. Tune out the haters and just continue to improve yourself and your business.
10. Remember your why
In the hustle and bustle of daily life managing your business, you might find yourself questioning why you’re doing all this. Go back to the time before you started it and remember why you wanted this in the first place. Remembering your “why” allows you to refocus and ignite the passion that you might have lost.
All these lessons have helped me become the entrepreneur I am now. As my business grows (hopefully!) in the years to come, I look forward to the many valuable lessons I know I have yet to learn along the way.