On the first of October 2020, my very first business went live. As I approach the first anniversary of my self-employment, I’ve been reflecting on some of the highs, lows and lessons learnt over the past twelve months and what advice I would love to share with my past self.
1. Growth is not linear
A year ago, as I first set out on my business venture, I had a grand vision of where I would be twelve months into self-employment. Man, was I wrong. My dream of hitting huge financial goals, out-earning my previous corporate salary, and booking out my calendar could not be further off my lived experience.
But don't let me discourage you. Instead, the past year has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows. I’ve worked intimately with several incredible clients, then had deserted spells of nothing. I’ve hosted sold-out workshops and then had zero sign-ups the following event. I’ve had four-figure weeks and zero dollar months.
None of it has been linear.
Instead, I’ve learnt to go with the flow. To celebrate the highs and allow me to fully feel the lows. Nothing is greater than the myth that business just goes up and up, especially in your first year. Instead, you can expect loop-the-loops, dizzying heights and plunging lows and chances are you’ll feel them all on an almost week-to-week basis!
Rather than feeling discouraged, twelve months into my business, I’m choosing to recognize all of the groundwork I’ve now done, the foundations I’ve laid, and the lessons I’ve learnt. With every day that goes by, I know I am getting a little closer to the business of my dreams.
2. Building a business takes so much more time than you think
I often feel as if I had a false start when it came to first launching my coaching business. Within my first fortnight of business, I had successfully hosted a sold-out masterclass and landed my first private client. I mistakenly thought that this was how business was going to continue to grow and quickly pictured myself a year into self-employment having ticked off many of my professional goals and on my path to entrepreneurial gold!
Once more, I could not have been more wrong! Shortly after launching my business, I achieved a major personal achievement and moved abroad, yet from here everything changed. Being in a completely new environment, adding additional layers of personal development, and simply being outside my comfort zone, quickly disrupted the trajectory of my business growth.
What I thought would take a week or two has taken months, what I thought would take a few months, I’m still working on a year in and I have no doubt this pattern will of course continue.
The bottom line is, building a business takes time. It takes time to grow an audience, to build an email list, to gain traction on your website, and to establish yourself as a leader within your market and you can’t skip this step! But you also don’t want to skip this, this is the time you need to figure yourself out, find your voice, and experiment with this brand new concept that is being your own boss and creating a life on your terms.
3. Self-development equals business development
If I could share just one lesson I’ve learnt from the past twelve months, this would be it- self-development equals business development, your self-worth is always parallel with your net worth.
The number one pattern I have established this year has been the correlation between my internal reality and my external. When I’ve felt abundant, positive, and overflowing with joy my business has also been booming, clients appear from nowhere, opportunities pop up regularly and everything flows with fun and ease. Yet when my internal reality has looked gloomy and grey, when I haven't felt confident in my skin, my business has often felt stagnant, frustrating, or challenging.
As I’ve dived into my own journey of self-discovery, I have learnt to undo patterns, rewrite stories, and objectively look at what is happening in both my personal and professional life. It may sound cliche, but the more I can love myself, the more I can trust myself, and the more I am willing to invest in myself, the more my business prospers. This also means that whatever happens within my business, whatever happens in my external reality, the foundation I have built within myself will always remain sturdy.
As I enter my second year of self-employment, I am so grateful for these unexpected, yet very relevant, life and business lessons and I know that whatever is to come next is ultimately just preparing me for the business of my dreams. My growth may not have been the instant success I’d initially visualized, but instead, it’s been a complete life upgrade.
Watch this space, there are exciting things to come!