Today I'm talking about 10 business lessons that I learned during my first year as a full-time entrepreneur. I spent 12 years as a middle school language arts teacher. During my first year as a full-time entrepreneur, I made well over six figures.
1.Set boundaries. You know from the very beginning what you want. Go ahead and put yourself on a schedule and set boundaries, and set limits. What are the times that you're going to work? What time will you set aside when you're sick? For example, from Friday evening and all day Saturday, I don't respond to any emails. I take some time off for myself and dedicate that time solely and strictly to my family. It's really easy to work all the time when your business is growing. However, you still have to understand that you need time for your family, and you need time for your personal upkeep. Set boundaries and stick to them.
2. Provide good customer service, but don't take other people's issues on as your own. Somebody else's impatience is a natural issue. If a client procrastinated, didn't stick to your timelines, or waited until the last minute to do something and now they want to rush you, that's not your issue. You can provide great customer service and still maintain your boundaries, policies, and procedures.
I think that one of the biggest eye-openers is when people realize that I don’t operate around my business by myself. I have an entire team. Any solid business is too much for any one person to do. Now, when you start your business, you may start as a solopreneur, or with some friends, but you definitely need to hire a team and put your systems in place as soon as possible. When you run your business like a business, then people will change the way in which they approach.
3.Do not attach yourself to anyone else's outcome. You can give someone else the whole entire outline or blueprint, but whether they execute or not it's not your fault. I'm sure you know you can contribute to their success, but their failure is not your fault. Why? Because you cannot force anybody else to actually do the work. You can take them to the door, you can open the door, but you can't make them walk through it. So don't attach yourself to someone else's outcome.
When somebody publishes their book, they start off with a lot of momentum immediately following their launch, but after the first immediate success, they just fall off. They don't keep pushing through it. And that's not my fault. I can't make somebody keep going. I can't make anybody execute, even if I give them a million ways that they can use their book to make a ton of money.
4.Hire an accountant. If you're not at that level in your business where you can hire an accountant, you need to get accounting software. I use Quickbooks. You need to track everything that's coming in your business and everything that's going out of your business.
You need to know the money that you're making. If you have expenses, you need to see where all your money is going, so hire an accountant or start utilizing accounting software immediately. It is going to make your life a lot easier.
5.Track your customers. You can actually see the customers’ journey with you. I use my Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool for my publishing clients who enter my program. Basically, people who spend $1,000 or more with me are coming to my CRM.
I actually have two businesses set up. I have my publishing company set up in my CRM and I have Jasmine Womack Consults as well. It allows me to track every email that comes and every email that goes out. It has a portal where I'm able to keep their documents and allows me to set up different workflows. If you are not yet at the point where you need a CRM, you may still want to utilize a program like Acuity to schedule.
One of the reasons why I like Acuity Scheduling (and I have a link if you need one) is because it's not a full CRM, but it's somewhat set up. You can go in and schedule a payment. Someone can pay you a one-time payment or recurring payments. You can also go in and put notes under certain clients and see a client's history. Ultimately you want to utilize some type of system in which you're able to keep notes on people who you speak to because a lot of times they will not circle back.
6.Increase your prices and provide value. If your goal is to replace your paycheck, one of the easiest ways to grow your revenue is by offering done for you services. Assess your skills and the things you know how to do that others will pay you for. This could be building and designing websites, copywriting, publishing, creating slide presentations, setting up automation systems, etc. Look at your services, increase your prices, and make sure that the value that you are giving is double the price that you are charging.
7.Realize that what got you here won’t get you there. You are where you are now, but you have to look at what exactly is required to get you to the next level. What are you going to have to do to get to the next level in your business? What tools are you going to need? What books are you going to read? What is the level of coaching required? Who do you have to become to elevate to the next level? When I was working last year, I had gotten to the point where I was generating between $6,000 and $7,000 each month. Well, my goal was to hit 10k a month. I made a leap and I made an investment that I was initially scared to make. I made a $2,000 investment in a VIP day where I received one on one coaching because I knew that I had all of my business elements in place, but I didn't have the structure.
We mapped my business out, created revenue goals, put some things into place, and three to four months later, I hit my per month revenue goal and have been hitting it consistently ever since.
8.Invest. Just because you see a class, a coach, or a program and you happen to have money doesn't necessarily mean that you need to spend it right then and there. Save up to invest.
This means that you should plan for what you want to be included in your budget. Include a plan to put some money aside for your budget. Why? Because you're going to have months and quarters where your business is very, very strong. You're also going to have months and quarters where you might take a loss or business might not go as well. So you're going to have your time when you are going really, really hard and then you're going to also have your points in time when things might go a little slower than normal.
You want to be able, to operate business even in your slow bumps. You want to make sure that you're able to cover all of your business. If you have contractors that you pay, you want to be able to maintain those payments You want to be able to ensure that you can still maintain the cost of running your business. Therefore, you need to save up for your personal savings account as if it was for your business savings account. And part of your business budget means that you should put aside money for those big purchases that you want. Just because you have the money doesn't mean that you need to go and spend it.
Save up and create a budget and put aside a certain amount once a month, twice a month or whatever, into a little “bucket”. Just because you have the money, don't go spending it because what will happen is that you will buy a program, take a master class, or get a digital product and you'll never use it.
9.Reward yourself when you reach a milestone. This is something that I wasn't doing. I was doing all this work and I put all the money I made right back into my business. One thing I didn't do was reward myself. If you meet your quarterly goals in terms of your business, in terms of the revenue, you put in all this hard work, reward yourself and be a little selfish.
Do something nice for yourself. Because when you reward yourself, that will give you the motivation to keep going.
10.Prioritize your time. Now when you start working full time, you think that you’ll be at home and have extra time. No, you won't. The day is not going to get extra hours added to it. What you can do is to prioritize the time that you have. From 4 pm to 8 pm is my time with my kids. I've also learned that the best time for me to respond to emails was early in the morning, before seven o'clock. Between the hours of 8:00 AM and 12 PM are my most productive hours. That’s when I do my best work. So between the hours of 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM, I'm working on different things to move my business forward. And then after 12:00 PM, I check the emails again.
These principles taught me a lot and prepared me for even more success the following year. Implement these into your life and watch your life and business change.
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