As a 4x entrepreneur, I know how it feels to hustle hard for your dreams. I also know how it feels to crash and burn as an excited and ambitious business owner.
My journey to a multiple six-figure career has been full of mistakes and bumps in the road, but I found success — and you can, too. I hold nothing back in sharing my hard-earned lessons because there’s no shame in making mistakes, so long as we learn a thing or two along the way.
If you’re dreaming of navigating the business world for the first time — I promise, you’ll make mistakes, too. It’s part of the process. But hopefully, you’ll have mentors and friends to lift you up and guide you along the way.
Here are 6 things I wish I’d known before I started my first business:
Having a North Star Is Critical
Your vision and values are your true north, and your business won’t thrive without them. You can’t see the future of your business — let alone make it happen — if you can’t articulate your primary aim, values, and brand purpose. This means you need to tap into why you want to start your business, not just what you want to do as a business.
Need some help with that? Download my free brand purpose worksheet.
Automation Is Your Friend
Systems save you from stress, anxiety, and wasted energy. It’s far easier to set up systems as you go. Can you imagine trying to remember the hundreds of steps you took for a successful launch after you’ve launched? Instead, start an account with a project management program like Asana, Trello or ClickUp, and document the steps you take AS you take them, rather than trying to remember every step after the fact. You can and should be documenting every task, big and small, from how to post a blog article to how to launch a marketing campaign or how to onboard a new client.
Make Your Mental Health as Much of a Priority as Your Business Health
If you’re setting aside time to post and engage on Instagram to grow awareness of your business and time to invoice your customers, you should also be blocking time in your calendar for self-care, days off, and personal development. No matter what anyone else says, don’t allow those to be negotiable. They are just as vital to the success of your business as the time spent in sales or marketing. And no matter how successful you are, imposter syndrome and doubt will rear their ugly head throughout your journey. So, find a friend or mentor who can help you during these times, and keep a few mantras on hand that you can recite when you feel the doubt creeping in. I keep this one on a post-it note by my computer: “I am here to serve. I am heart-filled, driven, and living my purpose with each client I attract.”
Here are 3 more mantras I find to be effective:
- I release the doubts of the past for the vision of my future.
- I choose to focus my energy on empowering my dreams.
- Rather than listening to my fears, I’m listening to my heart’s desires.
You Alone Don’t Have All the Skills to Run a Business
Once you realize this, you can ditch the notion that you need to be a superhuman or that your business isn’t big enough or successful enough to hire help. In fact, your business depends on your bringing in help early on. Your quality of life depends on it as well. Help can come in the form of an intern, a volunteer, a mentor, or a contractor – it doesn’t always have to be an employee, especially in the early days.
Speaking of asking for help…
When the time comes and you’re ready to hire some help, start here: outsource tasks that you are bad at and hate doing, and use that new time on your hands to focus on tasks that can MAKE you money.
Picture this: you delay launching your online store for 6 months while you try to DIY it. Meanwhile, you’re making $0 and feeling more and more frustrated every day. (6 months of zero sales = $0.)
The alternative? Hire a web designer for $2,000, launch the site in 30 days, start selling by month 2, and by month 6, add up the surplus of money you have in your account AFTER you deduct your web designer fees. (5 months of sales – $2,000 = $$$).
Is the initial investment out of reach for you right now? Consider offering a trade. Or find a young designer who will cut you a deal in exchange for the portfolio boost.
A Mentor or Coach Could Be Exactly What You Need
There’s extreme value in a coach, mentor, or close group of friends who are also on an entrepreneurial journey. Not everyone will understand this journey, and that’s okay.
Find someone who’s walked the road before you and can steer you away from pitfalls, someone who will encourage you when you want to give up, someone who will motivate you to dream bigger. Even surrounding yourself with people who are also on an entrepreneurial journey can be the greatest motivation for you!
Hustling Is Not the Name of the Game
I’ve been the overachieving woman running 4 businesses at one time, and I’m here to tell you that working hard is crucial, but so is knowing when to turn work off and allow yourself time to rest. There are plenty of people who will tell you the way to success is by “working harder” or “resting when you are dead,” but that is not a sentiment I can get behind.
The entrepreneurial journey will be filled with ups and downs, and yes, you will have to work, but if you’re not enjoying your life along the way, what’s the point? What are riches with no time to enjoy them? What is wealth with no friends to spend it on? What is a life spent hustling when your health takes a downward spiral in your ‘40s because you didn’t prioritize self-care? Knowing how to hustle in a way that is healthy is key to the ultimate level of success: a thriving business you love running, and a personal life you love coming home to.
Want to know how to develop a healthier hustle? Download my free Healthy Hustle guide!