What I Learned in my First Year of Business
First off, I can’t believe Thoughtfully Designed is almost a year old. We will celebrate our first birthday in January! The fact that I am here in this very moment, writing a blog for my company a year later, is an amazing accomplishment in itself. I see business coaches all over the Internet saying starting is the hardest part, but I’m going to disagree. You only have to make that choice once. The hardest part is waking up every single morning and choosing to push on, to get uncomfortable, to take risks, to learn new things, to fall down and get back up again, again, and again. I’m enjoying looking back on the year and thinking about what I learned.
Own up to your Mistakes
Let’s be honest, when you first start your business, you have no idea what the hell you are doing. And, even later, we are STILL human. We mess up. We make mistakes. Most clients are completely understanding if you are straightforward and honest about what is going on.
Communicate Clearly & Frequently
Communication is key! The more clearly and frequently we communicated with clients, the better the relationship. At the beginning of the year, I would just send off reports via email and it was hard for the client to understand why numbers looked the way they did. I quickly realized, the more open communicated the better. We now have built in “check-ins” with every client contract.
Cover Your Butt
Unfortunately, I got screwed once or twice. There were some messy breakups and my contract didn’t have strong language to take necessary actions. I also got blindsided by clients changing direction completely out of the blue. Our contracts now contain language around late payment, no payment and clearly defined renewal terms and timelines.
Create Processes & Systems
When I first started working with clients, I was making it up as I went. There weren’t processes, systems or timelines and this made every single project take way longer than it should of! It also created a messy client/consultant relationship. About six months in, we discovered the right tools to help us keep everything organized on track.
Ask for Help
I wish I asked for help sooner than I did. I hit major burnout this summer, and it wasn’t until just recently that I hired help. Seriously, it has been the best decision I have ever made. If you need help, ask for it.
Going into 2019, I can’t really imagine my life without Thoughtfully Designed. I am excited for a year of growth. It’s all about building on what worked and re-configuring what didn’t. I can feel it in my bones that this is going to be an amazing year filled with highs and lows that equate to one hell of a ride. If there is any piece of advice I can give business owner to business owner, it’s quite simple, “Don’t give up.”