They say experience is the best teacher and indeed it is. But sometimes you can learn a few things from those who came before you. Reflecting back, here's what I wish I knew when I started my business:
1. Save Money For Your Taxes
Yes, I know, it sounds obvious. But for most new entrepreneurs, you are using every penny to get by. The last thing you want to do is put money away for taxes when you could be using it to invest in Facebook ads to get new business right? Wrong.
When you get behind on your taxes, they creep up on you. And please don't take the approach that I took, 'One day, I'll be making so much it will be easy to pay it all back.'.
No. It won't.
Saving for your taxes is a habit. You don't want to begin your journey creating a bad habit that you will need to get rid of in the future. Save money for your taxes right from the get go. Trust me, you'll thank me later.
2. Comparison Will Crush Your Confidence
With the entrepreneurial lifestyle plastered all over Facebook and Instagram, it can be tough not to compare your wannabe business with others. It's easy to think thoughts like:
"I don't have an interview with those podcasts yet."
"My revenue is only a tenth of theirs!"
"If only I could travel the world with my business, too."
Remember, you are more than likely comparing yourself to someone who has been in the game much longer than you. Don't compare their story with yours. It only stalls you from moving your story forward.
Turn it around, get happy for them and that someone else is living the dream... it means that you are closer.
3. Learn How To Get Quality Leads Quickly
I spent a lot of time learning a lot of skills that would help me, but I failed to really understand lead generation and turning leads into clients. That is a skill that I really wish I had taken more seriously. Looking back, I was learning some of it, but I wasn't putting it fully into action. So, learn how to get leads in your business and then take massive action on it. A business is not a business without customers, so learn how to get them as fast as you can.
4. Hire Help Before You Are Ready
If it takes a village to raise a child it takes a team to build a business. Building your business to big numbers is next to impossible to do alone. The reason is that you need to be in your zone of genius as much as you can. If you are constantly doing the other million tasks that need to be done to run your business, then you are probably only spending a small amount of time in your zone of genius.
So, figure out what your zone of genius is and begin hiring out the other tasks as fast as you can. Even if you can save 5 hours/week, that is 5 hours/week that you could be getting new customers/clients, teaching, coaching or doing whatever it is that people pay you for.
5. Your Email List Size Does Matter - Build It Now
I think I've heard almost every internet marketer say this and I have to admit, I'm in the category here as well: I wish that I had taken list building more seriously in the earlier years.
Your email list is critical to your long term success. Even more important than social media. So start building it now, and get really, really good at it because the size of your list and the relationship you have with it will determine the success of your online business.
If you are selling something to 100 ideal clients, you are going to sell more to 1,000 ideal clients by sheer statistics. Get the numbers working in your favour by learning how to build your list now.
6. Get Around Successful People As Much As You Can
I learned a long time ago that your mindset is the foundation of your success in business. The fastest way to help you get the mindset that you are really looking for is to hang around with people who are where you want to be as much as you can. Successful people really do speak, think and act differently. They live their life with a different set of values and rules and look at the world in a way that is full of opportunity.
The fastest way to adopt the mentality of a successful person is to hang around them because you naturally pick up on their language, habits and patterns. They will inspire you and help pull you up the ladder of success. Whether you hire them or become friends with them, get around them as much as you can. It will make a massive difference in your ability to climb higher.
7. Knowing When To Say No Is Just As Important As Knowing When To Say Yes
Your time is the most precious resource you have as you don't get any of it back as it passes. Therefore, knowing how to spend it is an invaluable skill. Being able to be super clear about what you want, where you are going and the fastest path to get you there is an incredible asset.
This means knowing what to say yes to and what to say no to. It also means knowing when to quit something. Often times, as the typical over-achiever in most entrepreneurs, we try to grind something out until the very end, even though it continues to not work for us.
I've learned the hard way that knowing when to let go of something (like a relationship that is good on paper but not in reality), is a skill that you want to learn ASAP because you can then move on to spending time on something that will get you closer to where you want to go.
8. Don't Forget To Have Fun
When you are focused day after day trying to build your business, it can get a little too serious. Don't forget to have fun. It's easy to get lost and let weeks go by without much social interaction from hiding behind your computer screen. But the journey of building a business is just that, a journey. Don't miss it by always staying home behind the screen. Make time for the people you care about, network and be with other entrepreneurs and maybe even go to a co-working space a couple of times/week.
Enjoy the process of building your business because if it isn't fun, it isn't worth spending all of your time doing.