What I've Learned in my First 6 Months of Business
I’m just going to call it like it is...
Starting a business is HARD.
It’s also exciting and invigorating and confusing and terrifying and fun.
Since Tell Your Damn Story ‘officially’ launched on June 16, 2017, a lot of things have happened. Here’s a breakdown:
Worked with 10 incredible clients
Refined my process and offering to be more straightforward and valuable to my clients
Made enough money to sustain the operation between client work and part-time gigs
Attended 3 workshops and received value from 2 of them
Kept going even though I sometimes wanted to quit
Brought on an incredible business partner for 2 months
Shifted my focus and messaging to be more aligned with what my customers were asking for
Grew my email list from 0 - 60 subscribers (not great but still progress!)
Said ‘no’ to a potential client who was not a good fit
Spent too much money on things that didn’t work (clickfunnels, FB ads, other monthly subscription services)
Did not post to my blog, newsletter, and social media with any consistency
Became incredibly discouraged and thought about quitting (~3 times)
Ended the business partnership in early January as a result of professional differences
Did not grow my social media or newsletter following in any significant way
Took a few part-time jobs that ended up requiring more time and energy than I could commit to while adequately sustaining my business
I’ve learned so much over these last few months, more than a blog post worth, but here are the 3 biggest learnings I’m taking into 2018:
1. Everyone (and I mean everyone) benefits from telling a better story.
At the end of the day, this is what kept me going through those sticky days. It’s the reason I am doing this. Because I believe completely, deeply, wholeheartedly in the mission of Tell Your Damn Story.
Our relationship with our work is one of the most profound and consuming relationships we will ever have. It is also hard, if not impossible, to find clarity on our story without a little bit of help from a trusted, outside source.
The right story has the power to attract the work we want, eliminate the work we don’t, form relationships that support this work, and help us stay connected to our mission (even when the shit hits the fan ...and we all know that happens).
2. It’s never too late to walk away from something that’s not a good fit.
Walking away from something or someone that you’ve invested time, money, and energy into is scary and painful. However, it’s not as scary as what happens when you ignore your gut and stay in the same place.
My business partner was a good friend and an incredible storyteller. So many of our values were aligned and it seemed that nothing could go wrong. Then, when we really started working together, our differences slowly began to come into focus. It was clear that, even though we both believed in the mission, we were operating on separate playing fields.
There was no way to end the relationship without pain, anger, and hurt. I have to live with that reality that I have lost a partner-in-crime (and possibly, a friend). As painful as this is, it’s ultimately better for both of us.
3. Consistency and perseverance is what separates the amateurs from the pros.
This statement is the basis for everything I will be doing for my business in 2018. I was not consistent in 2017. I would gain traction on something and then let it fall off before things really got good.
This year, I am honoring the commitments that I’ve set for my business. These commitments include: growing my email list to over 500 subscribers, posting consistently on social media, designing a newsletter that people actually want to read and sending it out once a month, following up with leads, designing a client experience that is intentional, full of care, and wildly valuable.
I love what Steven Pressfield says about consistency and ‘doing our work’ in his book The War of Art:
“The more resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you - and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.”
Happy 2018 storytellers! Now, let’s go do our work!