6 Year Reflections – Celebrating my Biz!
I’ve been in business for 6 years!
n those 6 years, I’ve been on cloud nine, ready to throw in the towel, and everywhere in between.
I’m about to get super real here with my reflections and 20/20 hindsight. But I have to own that I’m grateful for all of the business experiences I’ve had because they’ve shaped where I’m at today. And my hope is that by sharing these thoughts, you might get some encouragement and clarity around things going on in your business.
Operating at a high level all the time is usually not the best thing.
I didn’t realize that burnout was going to be something I would ever face. I’ve always operated at a high level no matter what I’ve done, and even back in my corporate America days, I was the go-go-go person. So when I started running into roadblocks with burnout and over-creation (check out last week’s blog on these topics) in my photography business, it was a bit of a surprise. These roadblocks led me to discover that I actually didn’t want to continue at that fast past; I wanted to step back a little. And to that end, what I’ve done is invest in different team members who can help with certain projects, with things behind the scenes, and even at photoshoots.
If you find yourself stressed and hitting burnout, it may just be worth it for you to step back and evaluate what actually needs to be done. Do all of those tiny things you worry about actually matter to your audience? I found that those things didn’t matter to my audience, and it has felt really good to be able to delegate responsibilities and not have to operate at such a high level all the time. In fact, I’m more relaxed which actually has made me more creative than ever.
Do your research before you invest in a business coach.
There are a lot of business coaches out there, and at first, I didn’t understand that within that group there are actually a lot of different types of business coaches with different coaching styles and personalities. In hindsight, this is an area in which I would have taken the opportunity to do more research before just throwing myself into several programs. I would now spend more time interviewing a prospective coach so I could make sure that I was picking the right coach for me at the right point in my business.
In fact, one of the best coaches that I invested in was a business strategy coach. About a year and a half ago, I found myself at the point of a lot of growth in my business, and what I really needed then was strategy around how to handle that. So my investment in that strategy coach had a big impact because it was the right type of coaching for that specific time. As you look at coaches, I recommend diving deep into what the coaches talk about, what the programs they offer focus on, and whether or not those things will address where you’re at and where you want to go next with your business.
Run your business. Don’t let it run you.
When you feel like your business is your baby, it’s easy to think you need to put your business’ needs before your own. But let me tell you that it’s not so, friends. I used to feel the pressure to rearrange my personal life in order to take care of whatever popped up with my business, but as I’ve moved away from that, I’ve found that clients actually respect my boundaries way more than they fuss about them. And if a client is really going to be upset about them, then they just may not be the right type of client for me. When a client can’t respect my boundaries, that means there will be other parts of my process that they won’t respect either. The more I have cracked down on my schedule, the better my clients have been about respecting my time, and we find ways to make everything happen in my offered hours. And in fact, some of the most successful people I know work fewer hours during the week and somehow all of their clients fall right into being able to do things in that time frame with no questions asked.
Social media is a highlight reel.
I’m going to repeat it: social media is a highlight reel. Do not look at what you see online and compare yourself to it. As I’ve posted more and more on social media, I’ve learned what a strategic process it is. I, and everyone else on there, choose what to show, and a lot of content is scheduled out ahead of time. This means followers don’t see the behind-the-scenes or real timeline. Reality is that the cool thing you see someone post online today may have actually happened a few days ago and what they’re actually doing right now is sitting with their coffee, trying to figure out how to get motivated. I have literally taken an adorable picture of my girls, posted it, and then turned around to find one chucking a toy at the other, who started screaming. Yes, that ended up feeling like the most fake post ever.
Collaborations can be great but also confusing.
If you’ve been following me for a little while, you know that I did a lot of collaborations last year–10 different types to be exact. And while I met a lot of great people and enjoyed working with every single one of them, it felt confusing to go in so many different directions. That’s why this year, I’m only doing 5 collaborations so I can be super intentional with the value I’m providing. My experiences last year helped me get clear on what types of collaborations and personalities work best for me and on what subjects people really wanted to hear from me. Because of this clarity, I reached out to my 5 desired collaboration partners back in January to get the ball rolling right away in the New Year. So keep an eye out for the releases of these exciting projects!
There you have my 5 big reflections on 6 years in business. Of course, there’s been so much more to the 6-year-story than this, but as I looked back over the years, these are the a-ha’s that really stood out and had an especially high impact on me and my business. And I really hope that these reflections help you not feel alone in the ups and downs of business ownership.
If you have questions about collaborations or any of the other topics I’ve talked about here, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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