Today, October 1, 2015 marks one year since I started accepting business coaching clients. I want to share with you lessons I learned within my first year in business. As you know I don’t mind being transparent about the failures and successes that I’ve experience in business because the goal is to prevent others from making the same mistakes. Although I founded a nonprofit organization in 2011, this is my first time owning a for profit business.
Since we’ve been in business 12 months, I will share 12 lessons learned:
- Regardless of how much you prepare you will not have everything together
As entrepreneurs we expect greatness, so sometimes we want everything to go perfectly smooth without any impromptu changes or hiccups. We prepare and prepare and prepare some more to get ready to launch. Once you begin serving clients you will realize some of the services you offer may need to be changed or tweaked or packages may need to be realigned. There are several things that will need adjustments. It’s great to prepare but keep in mind some things will change that you never expected.
- Nothing happens overnight – be patient
I am the ultimate perfectionist, so I picture things the way I want them to be and I want things to be as perfect as possible. This can sometimes to a good thing and other times, not so much. In this case it wasn’t a good thing because I expected to get a certain number of clients each month and when that didn’t happen I began to get discouraged. “Success is a journey, not a destination” things take time; I learned to be patient and diligent.
- It’s extremely easy to confuse your target market
Marketing is tricky, so it’s pretty easy to confuse your target market. You have to be conscious of anything you do regarding your brand. Within my first year, I rebranded. I am satisfied with my rebrand but it confused my target market and caused my website stats to fall drastically. I changed my web address, logo, name, social media accounts, implemented a blog, and everything in between. It already takes a while to build a trustworthy brand so when you rebrand within the first year it may confuse people. My brand has rebuilt itself and we are moving forward. A rebrand should always be strategically done.
- An office space makes a difference
I use to work from my bed all the time or in my living room. I figured I didn’t need an office space but one day I thought I would probably be a lot more productive if I set up an office area in my room. I was absolutely right, when you sit at a desk and work on your business you feel “official”, it motivates you. After setting up a desk in my room I moved into an apartment where I had my own home office. I’m able to meet with clients there, stay more productive, and keep organized.
- To do list overload
Keep one to do list, don’t write a million list and expect to finish every task, every day. To do list are great and they should be utilized, however it becomes difficult to keep up with task that you need to complete when you have 12 lists floating around your office, you are bound to miss something. I also want to note, you might not finish everything on your list every day and that is fine, there is always tomorrow.
- You need a team
I love to do everything myself because I know what I want and I know if I do things myself they will get done correctly the first time. I had to learn how to let certain tasks go and pass them on to interns because I began to take on so much that areas of my business began to lack. Which brings me to my next lesson learned…
- Rest is well needed
I took on way too much at once, which caused me to work ridiculous hours and not get much sleep. Before I knew it I was totally burnt out and needed to take a couple of weeks off to get rest. It’s great to have the desire and passion to succeed but it’s important to take care of yourself and balance life properly.
- You need a business coach
You NEED a business coach. Regardless of if you are a business coach or in another field it is always best to have a coach. Professionals have coaches so that they can continuously learn and grow. Think about professional athletes, even though they are professionals and great at what they do, they have coaches. You always want a coach that knows more than you so you can continue to build your expertise and be of great service to your clients.
- Automation is your bestie
In the beginning I tried so hard to stay up to date with social media, it was taking up way too much of my time. When you are being productive with other things in your business it becomes difficult to post on social media at the right times. Then I learned that you can automate social media post, my life changed forever. I am active on social media and I do engage with my audience when it is feasible for me but being able to schedule post far in advance is a time saver. For those who neglect their social media following or don’t have time to post, start automating, today!
- Jack of all trades and a master at none
A lot of us are people pleasers and we want to create services that fit everyone’s need so we try to super extend our service offerings. If this is you, please reevaluate and realign what you offer, immediately. When I started I offered every service that you can think of that relates to business. I literally offered well over 20 a la carte services. Choose the top 3 services that you are great at and stick with those. You never want to be a jack of all trades and a master at none. Fine tune your services.
- Offer a referral program
Referrals will bring you profit and because of this it is important to implement a referral program. When I first started I didn’t have a referral program. Current and previous clients who were referring me to others weren’t getting any type of incentive. I noticed that once I implemented a referral program to my current and previous clients as well as potential clients I was able to make more profit. Be sure to show appreciation to your clients and compensate them as needed.
12. Blogging is necessary
Blogging is a great way to capture the eye of a new client. This is one of the reasons I decided to rebrand. I needed to implement something that would show potential clients my expertise. If you are offering a service and the only thing you have on your website is what you offer and the pricing what is going to make that potential client turn into a paying client? When I started blogging for my site as well as others I noticed how much more website traffic I was getting and the increase in clients. Don’t be afraid to display your expertise.