30 Things My First Year of Business Taught Me …

Starting a business is not always as easy as it sounds. There’s a lot of long days filled with as much caffeine as your body can handle, endless meetings, piles of paperwork (virtual and physical), sleepless nights and tired mornings all to rinse n’ repeat again the next day. Possibly even weekends too! However, through all that, every breathing moment is quite exhilarating. In the beginning, no matter your niche, nobody really knows what the heck they’re doing. Or even what to expect from one day to the next. But we just keep trucking along and telling ourselves it will be okay. That things will get easier …

An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than they can chew hoping they will learn quickly how to chew it.
~ Roy Ash, Co-founder and President of Litton Industries

In the next few months I’ll be rolling into my 11th year in business but only my second as a full-timer. I’ve been lucky enough (and very grateful) to have a full support system at my side every single step of the way. But truthfully for a moment … Nothing I did really prepared me for all the potholes I tried to avoid but constantly fell into. And you know me, I’m pretty organized and resourceful. I thought I has read all the books and blogs, joined all the social media groups I felt were right for me, attended webinars, local workshops (online ones too), ask advise from wiser entrepreneurial sidekicks who’ve “been there, done that” and so many networking events I’ve lost count.

Still, nothing prepared me for all the hoops I needed to jump through and all the extra hats I had to wear. Things I honestly didn’t even think about in the beginning. But lately I’ve had some time to sit back and reflect on everything I’ve accomplished … from good clients to difficult ones, from mistakes that created learning experiences to learning new platforms, design tricks and better ways of time management. And even though some of those potholes hurt like f’in hell my business is still in one piece, I’m still in one piece and I’m feeling like a superhero!

*Even Batman rose from the abyss …

 

I don’t feel those awesome “save the day” superhero moments every single day, and that’s okay. It’s all a part of learning and growing. And with that being said, I wanted to create this special post today to share with you 30 very important things I learnt in my first year of as a full-timer in business. Hopefully some of the items on this list help you earlier on in your entrepreneurial adventure …!

  1. Never take your eye off the ball (“the ball” being your end goals, dreams and desires).
  2. Help is worth the weight in gold, just like your time (designers, VA’s, coaches, accountants, you name it).
  3. It’s okay to let difficult clients go. It’s actually extremely good for your health (mentally and physically).
  4. Always display your office hours online, even if you work virtually/from home.
  5. Not all freebies advertised are good freebies. The less virtual clutter the better.
  6. Be as organized as humanly possible.
  7. Be as organized as humanly possible.
  8. Be as organized as humanly possible (seeing a trend here, LOL!).
  9. Never be afraid to ask for help, or vent (in a healthy way of course) when you need it most.
  10. As soon as you’ve created a process that works for you (and it’s been tested), automate it.
  11. Always deliver more than your clients/customer expect from you.
  12. There is absolutely no such thing as “wholesale rates”. It’s full price, promo rate (if you have one) or free.
  13. Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. Grieve, learn from them then move on.
  14. Grow your team before you’re ready. They’re experts for a reason and you’ll save yourself so much time and aggravation in the long run not trying to wear every hat on the planet. Take that weight off your shoulders.
  15. Take breaks. Long ones … Short ones … Cat naps … Phone dates with your bestie. Take time for yourself.
  16. Make sure you have a tribe whether it’s just purely business, just friends or both.
  17. Network as much as possible. Online or in person at events to build yourself a strong community and share stories as often as humanly possible.
  18. Being the change that you wish to see in the world starts with yourself, then just one other person. Change one person’s world and you’ve helped many.
  19. Start every new day with priorities in place (yes, that means a well-organized to-do list).
  20. Avoid social media messaging for business. Email may be inconvenient sometimes, but it will keep you organized. Remember everything has a place and there’s a time and place for everything.
  21. Always give your current client referrals. And if they give you any and they come through, give them an honorable discount.
  22. 6- to 7-figure business are not built all on free tools. Some free tools but not all. It’s just not possible.
  23. Adults are still motivated by contests, freebies and prizes. Never forget we’re all kids at heart.
  24. Teach what you know but make sure your ideas/knowledge is validated before you share (or sell) to others.
  25. Don’t trade time for money. Your hard work is worth way more than that.
  26. Technology is not a replacement for human relationships. It is there for support and support only.
  27. Never stop learning. Take courses, read books and blogs. Attend workshops and webinars. Join a niche-related mastermind. Then take a few moments to pause, reflect and implement.
  28. Having a brand is not just a designer’s gimmick, it’s real, it’s beneficial and it will help your business grow more than you can even imagine. It will impact others and the world. Don’t skimp on this. Ever!
  29. Don’t take your technology with you wherever you go. A weekend getaway (even if it’s just to your couch) or a holiday is that for a reason. Time to rest up for what comes next.
  30. Comparison is the route of all evil. It is not real. Whatever you do, do not fall down that well. Nobody does things your way and you don’t theirs. Period. End of story. Just don’t do it!

Being an entrepreneur isn’t just a job title, and it isn’t just about starting a company. It’s a state of mind. It’s about seeing connections others can’t, seizing opportunities others won’t, and forging new directions that others haven’t.
~ Tory Burch, American Fashion Designer

I just want to end this post off by saying that I’ve been lucky enough to have so many friends in my tribe, mentors filled with knowledge and support as well as family members by my side who have shaped me into the person that I am today … a strong woman, a survivor or many battles and an independent business woman. So, THANK YOU! 💖 💖

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Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal is an artist, a writer, an organizer, a dreamer, a doer, and down-right proud of it NERD!.

Struck with a love for #AllThings creative at a very young age, Crystal dreamed of a life fueled by her passion for creating and bringing the stories and images in her mind into reality.

As she worked toward her dreams, she earned a diploma as a Computer Applications Specialist then another in Graphic Design and from there began to develop her extensive background in multimedia and the arts. She began her worked in the magazine industry as a layout designer and had a succession of design jobs thereafter. It was her role as a graphic/web designer that gave her the first real glimpse of her future. Soon she began a side job as a freelance designer while keeping one foot in the corporate world. A spark was lit! She turned her freelance gig into a full-time business combining design work with her other passion: creating organization from virtual chaos.

Crystal is one of the most organized individuals on the planet. She is by all means a Zen master of her crafts. She excels at helping others become “untangled” and provides her clients with tools to run their businesses smoothly while she takes care of the details behind the scenes. Thus Virtually Untangled was born. A successful business where her work as a top notch creative in graphic and web — with a twist of virtual assistant — married into one amazing place where clients can come with their virtual messes and become magically untangled. Crystal can always make sense of even the most unorganized chaos and offers a virtual detox of order and peace, so her clients can get busy doing the work that they love the most.

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