What I'd do Different If I Started Over in Business - The Content Experiment
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What I’d do Different If I Started Over in Business

Do you ever feel like you could just call a mulligan? Throw away your day (week, month, year) and start over? Yeah, me too.

To be totally candid here, my life today (in my 40s) is nothing like I imagined it would be when I was in my 20s. I’ll spare you the details. But that doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy with where my path took me. I’m actually quite content with my life and ecstatic with how my business has grown.

I’ve been in business full time for nearly four years now (part time since 2007), and support my little family of two humans and three furry kids on my own. It hasn’t been easy, not by a long shot. And I think if I had done a few things differently early on in my business, I’d be a lot further ahead than I am now.

I reflect on this not to woe and moan about it. Trust me, I’ve done enough of that in my life. Instead, I want to hopefully help someone who is earlier in their business than I am. Maybe what I have to say can help someone else move forward faster than me.

Hire a coach sooner

Hiring a business coach was hands-down THE thing that propelled my business forward. When I quit my day job to pursue my business full time, I really had no clue what I was doing. I accepted projects for the sake of the paycheck and low-balled more quotes than I can count, just to get the work. As a result, I had to work 60 hours a week just to make ends meet. I was completely burned out by the time I realized I needed help.

My coach helped me put together packages that priced my services appropriately for my expertise and helped me see the value in what I was doing. This gave me the courage to let go of clients who were draining me emotionally so I could work with the clients who energized me.

Believe in myself

This goes back to hiring a coach who helped me see the value in what I was doing. But as I was doing this, I learned to shut down (some of the) self-doubt and see where I fit into the grand scheme of this online world. People need what I have to offer. I offer something unique that other copywriters don’t offer (and similarly, so do they). I wish I could go back and trust in myself and my business a little more, and sooner.

Set goals in the first year (or the second year)

I’ve always had goals in my business, but I’ve never developed them with such intention as I did this year. In 2017, I wrote my goals, met with my coach to tweak them, hired a marketing guru to map them out and now have them written in trackable form on my office wall. I’ve put a lot of thought into my goals this year. And as 2016 drew to a close, I realized how powerful it is to have all that in place. I SO wish I had done that sooner because even only a few weeks into this year, I can feel the momentum growing!

Seek biz buddies

It’s hard to go from a demanding full time job to working from home in silence every day. As a teacher, I had 30 children vying for my attention all day in addition to the coworkers and friends I saw daily. The day I walked out of the classroom for the last time, that ended abruptly.

I’m an introvert, so I welcomed the silence and the ability to control my own day. But eventually, the silence wore on me. I didn’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of every day and I craved input from others. Eventually I reached out to others in the online space. I made great friends, accountability buddies and connections. I wish I had had the courage to do that sooner!

Limit in-person networking

You’ve got to network to grow your business, I get that. But it needs to be intentional and it needs to be with the right groups of people. I joined a paid, local networking group in the summer of 2015. I met some great people there, a few of whom I still keep in touch with. However, eventually I recognized that the people in that group were not part of my “tribe.” They weren’t necessarily the people who could help me grow my business in this online space many of us call home. From the other local networking I’d done, I found that none of the groups were a good fit.

Instead, at the beginning of 2016 I started having “coffee chats” with other online entrepreneurs. We’d meet via Zoom or Skype and chat about life and business. I met so many great people there that I could kick myself for not doing it sooner.

Of course, I know t here’s no value in looking back at the should-haves, but there is value in recognizing what has worked for me and what I’ll continue to do moving forward.

I’d love to know: What’s the biggest change you’d make if you had to start your business over today?

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