A friend recently posted that she was celebrating 20 years in business. That’s an amazing milestone for an entrepreneur today, and it got me thinking about how long I’ve been in business. I launched September 1997 – that means it will be 26 years this fall. How did I miss my 25th anniversary?
I’ve seen and experienced many changes since those early days when the Internet was in its infancy and social media non-existent. So, I thought I’d share the top 5 growth lessons I’ve learned along the way.
#1 Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
This was a massive lesson that I had to repeat many times before it stuck. When I began my copywriting business, I had a minuscule portfolio. I didn’t know how I would compete, and for the first year, I played small. Very small. But then, I finally reached out to a few local ad agencies to offer my service on a freelance basis. I landed interviews and was terrified. But I stepped up to the challenge. Today, I still freelance with one of those agencies and have grown my portfolio substantially by writing for national and international brands.
#2 Invest in Yourself
For too long, I neglected to invest in my personal growth. I was concerned if I showed up at a professional development workshop that others might think I didn’t know what I was doing. What the heck was wrong with me? Obviously, I really didn’t know what I was doing! But I finally upgraded my skills (and continue to do so because change is constant), hired a coach, and then hired another coach. Eventually, I began coaching others as my business grew and succeeded. You never finish learning in life and business.
#3 Network. Network. Network.
Networking has been instrumental to my business and personal growth. The connections I’ve made and the confidence I’ve gained through the years has led me to add speaking gigs to my business offerings. I ran a networking group for many years and published Networking Today (for 20 years), an online resource for entrepreneurs and sales professionals. I even tried my hand at franchising it and learned so much more. Some things work. Some don’t. But you carry on to the next great adventure.
#4 Know When to Let Go
Again, this took time for me to bring into my life. It started with my accounting. After wasting an entire day trying to balance my books, I finally outsourced all my bookkeeping (I should have done it sooner). Then I hired a virtual assistant, salespeople, and others who were experts in their fields so I could concentrate on my passions – my writing and coaching.
#5 The Best Advice I Received
One piece of advice I was given when I started out was to ask this question: What would you do differently if you knew you could not fail? Wow…talk about spurring you on.
- If I knew I could not fail, I would call that ad agency.
- If I knew I could not fail, I would fly to Los Angeles and take part in that conference that terrified me.
- If I knew I could not fail, I would attend my first networking group.
- If I knew I could not fail, I would hire people to support my business growth.
- If I knew I could not fail, I would do whatever it took…and I did.
Life and business have not always been easy over the years. There have been many, many highs and wonderful moments that I treasure dearly. But at times, it has been downright tragic and horrible…but I’ve gotten through. We all do because tomorrow is another day.