4 years and approximately 63 hours ago, I set up my LLC and officially hung my shingle out into the world. There have been a lot of crazy ups and downs in that time, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought “maybe I should just get a job.” I know I’m not alone here. And, with that in mind, here are some of my favorite entrepreneurship lessons so far.
1. Not every client or project is for you.
Last time I checked, even though we are legendary, neither you nor I is a mythical beast that can please everyone and do all the things. So why would you try to fit your star-shaped peg into a square hole?
2. Some princes look like frogs, and some frogs look like princes.
Okay, weird metaphor, but some people out there feel legit and like perfect-fit clients, and they’re just not. They might even be incredible referral partners, but not right for you as a client. On the other hand, dream clients aren’t just a dream. They exist, and they are GLORIOUS.
3. Sometimes the only way to learn about red flags is to encounter them.
Directly related to #2. Sometimes you don’t know a boundary until it gets crossed. It’s the live, learn, and redefine your non-negotiables as you go. Even if it means returning a client’s deposit.
4. “Urgent” deadlines are often arbitrary.
‘nuf said. One of the biggest entrepreneurship lessons is that that some people think of as urgent isn’t always on fire. I can’t count the number of times I’ve pushed hard to meet a deadline and the client…didn’t. And that’s okay.
5. Trust your gut.
Every time I ignored my gut, I lived to regret it. Same goes for bending over backwords to make something work. However, you have to figure out if your gut is saying no because it’s no OR if it’s saying no because of head trash that’s keeping you from doing something really flipping cool.
6. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
This is SO hard for many of us with the “what if” monsters that float around:
? “What if they laugh at me?”
? “What if I fail?”
? “What if no one listens?”
? “What if everyone knows everything I have to say?”
And the truth is, the same demons make their appearance at every level. Whether you’re launching your first site, throwing your first offer out there, publishing your first post, appearing on your first podcast, launching your first course, hiring your first contractor…
The more you get used to trying new things the easier it gets.
7. No is a complete sentence.
You don’t have to give someone a reason. You can simply say no to things. To that end, you don’t have to explain your reasons for saying yes to something either. Your biz, your life, your rulez. (The z is for spice)
8. Your worth isn’t tied to what you charge or make.
One of the hardest phrases for me to hear is “charge your worth.” The truth is, you can’t possibly charge your worth. And that $50 blog post so many of us wrote for the first time? That’s not our worth. Your worth isn’t the first $5k project you do, either. Your worth is priceless. So don’t stress about charging your work. Instead, charge based on the value you bring. And if you don’t know, ask others who do what you do.
9. Speaking of…talk to lots of others in your industry.
The biggest mistake I made early on was not building a network of colleagues. I thought I needed to talk to prospective clients and referral partners…which is true, of course. But the biggest gains in my business have come from talking with other copywriters, marketers, and brand strategists.
10. I wish I had started sooner.
Last year, as I sat staring down 40 (now it’s 41), and watched friends in their 20s building killer businesses, I thought “What could I have done if I started then?” But what if, instead, I’d simply dove in 6 months earlier? Where would I be then? It doesn’t pay to compare yourself to others. AND, I got years more experience doing #allthethings. 🙂 I still definitely wish I had taken the leap well before I did.
I had no idea where all this would take me… and truth be told, I still don’t (but, universe, if you’re listening, I could really go for a beach and a mojito).
When I sat down to write this, I didn’t intend to go all-in on the inspiration, but here we are.
Here. We. Are.
And on that, I’ll end this, but if any of these entrepreneurship lessons resonate with you, please let me know… I won’t quote you unless you’re cool with it, and I definitely won’t bite. 🙂