It’s officially been an entire year since I made the unexpected decision to stop blogging and re-open my web design business. It’s been a wild year full of ups and downs and a lot of learning, trying new things, tweaking and pivoting. It’s been early mornings, meditation, journaling and sorting through my own personal blocks.
But, best of all, it’s been really fun and I’ve realized that the lessons learned in business often apply to life too.
I’d been debating doing something other than blogging for a long time, but for a year (maybe more), I couldn’t figure out what that next step would be. So, I kept blogging and hoped that the answer would materialize in due time. Sure enough, it did! And, it wasn’t the answer I was expecting, but here we are!
5 Things I’ve Learned in My First Year of Business
Lean on Your Connections & Community
I used to have this mindset that because it was my business, it was my sole responsibility to grow it. And for whatever reason, I thought that reaching out to my community and connections was somehow cheating. Which I now realize sounds so dumb. But, I had this idea that building my own business meant bootstrapping every aspect of it, including finding clients.
Let me tell you—this is not a fun way to go. Doing anything totally on your own gets lonely. A lesson that really stuck with me post-pandemic, and relying on others, talking and collaborating with other designers and reaching out to my connections and community to get my business going has been essential and has allowed for this first year of business to be a successful one.
Sitting around waiting for something to happen feels awful, and puts me in such a weird headspace, but when I’m proactively making connections and growing my network, things just seem to flow.
Try New Things
When I first started, I thought I was going to be only doing web design. Then shortly after, I opened a template shop, then I started doing some Strategy Sessions. Then I built a membership for female entrepreneurs so they could have a space to collaborate, learn, grow and thrive. Most recently, I launched my first online course on a topic that’s near and dear to my heart—SEO!
Trying new things has allowed me to quickly realize which things I do like, and which ones I don’t. I’m all about trying new ideas, even if they fail, because there’s always so much to be learned in the process.
There are No Set Rules
You get to run your business the way you want to. As a mom of two little boys, that means a very flexible schedule, and never 40 hour work weeks. I work 4 days a week. I work out in the middle of the day. We take off early on Friday for afternoon dates before we pick up our kids at school. Somedays I don’t open my computer at all and instead I paint.
It can be weird or feel scary to let go of a traditional schedule, but making time for living my life makes me so much more productive in my “on” hours and has really opened me up to a completely different way of running a business.
Build a Strong Money Mindset
This has been something I’ve worked on so much this year. Getting intimate with your money is essential as a business owner. Knowing where it’s coming from, what’s going out and being grateful for every cent that comes in is key. How can you be happy with a million dollars if you can’t find joy when you’re making $50K?
It’s opened me up to some of my own false money beliefs and allowed me to be more diligent about how I care for my money. It keeps me positive and on the right track and if you’re building your own business, doing this work is a must. If you need a good place to start, I loved “You’re a Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero. It’s a quick read, impactful and she’s hilarious!
Enjoy the Process
It’s not all or nothing! And, even though I know that, I can get caught up in the hustle sometimes and think about the final outcome, but the reality is that there’s no single finish line to cross. Every single day we’re making steps forward. We’re learning, pivoting, adjusting, trying new things and figuring it out along the way. It can be easy to sit in the place of “I’ll be happy when…..”, but will you?
Again, sort of like the money thing. If you can’t find happiness and joy in the phase of life or business that you’re in now, what makes you think that the shiny object you’re putting on a pedestal is really going to make that big of a difference?
This is absolutely a mindset shift, but one that makes you so grateful for every phase, every stage, every flop and every success. Have fun with it and good things will come easily to you.
This year I’ve focused a ton on building out my ideas—my template shop, my SEO course, my membership, my web design packages—and this next year is going to be more focused on growing each of these. I am so incredibly excited to see what unfolds and grateful for each of you who stops by and reads my blog, buys a product, hires me to design your website. It’s an honor to do this work, to do something I truly love and work with people who I admire!
I hope this gave you some inspiration if you’re new to business or thinking about starting one. Take the plunge friend, it’ll be awesome!