This post contains affiliate links. If you click through my referral link, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support! Learn more.
It’s officially been an entire year since I made the leap to go full-time into my business! Time has seriously flown by and it’s crazy that I’ve already finished up my first year of business. I am honestly so grateful for this opportunity that came into my life.
If you told me two years ago, that today I’d own my own business I don’t think I would’ve believed it at all. I was struggling with a job I hated and I was trying to figure out my life as my college graduation was approaching for a degree I had no idea I’d use for.
The entrepreneurship journey has not been an easy one. It’s been a full year of growing, learning, making mistakes, and just generally figuring things out one step at a time.
So in honor of this incredible anniversary, I thought I’d share 12 things I learned during my first year of business!
1. You CAN make money WITHOUT the hustle
When I first started this blog, I was constantly in hustle-mode. Working so many hours on it while at the same time juggling a job and being a full-time student. I poured all my time into it.
And I continued to hustle in the months before I made the decision to go all-in with my business. And then as my first year in business progressed, I started to hustle less and less.
At first, I was confused about it. Because I felt like I NEEDED to hustle to make money. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I realized that as time progressed, I refined my skills and began working much more quickly and productively. And this allowed me to make more than I ever have working just part-time hours.
You don’t need to hustle. You deserve a business that you can make money from with ease and without the hustle. Being busy is not a badge of honor. Being busy all the time does not equal success.
2. Not everybody will like you
Learned this one the hard way! Not everyone will like you and not everyone will like your work. But that’s what makes you different and unique.
There’s nobody else like you out there.
Sometimes people might not like your products or maybe they think you’re too expensive (and they’re not afraid to let you know!) Or maybe someone disagrees with you or sends you a nasty message.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. I learned that you need to have thick skin and complete confidence in yourself to be happy & successful.
3. It’s important to stay organized
I cannot stress this one enough, y’all! I will be the first one to admit I am not an organized person and I never have been.
I’m messy and I tend to lose things. But oh my goodness, I found out that for my business I could not afford to be disorganized.
Now I print important business documents and keep them in a file organizer and I have everything organized into folders on my computer. I also am big on paper and keeping a planner so I used The Content Planner to plan out all my content and keep important dates and deadlines on my radar.
Losing just one sheet of paper cost me $$$ and stress when it came time to pay my quarterly taxes *sigh*
4. Content is king
One of the biggest things I learned in my first year of business is that content is king!
Creating valuable free content for your audience is so important an amazing way to build trust with your readers. I made it a priority to be consistent and churn out helpful content that will bring results to my audience.
I noticed that the more I created valuable content, the more traffic, sales, and subscribers I got.
Content is important because it helps people see your level of knowledge and the value you bring so that they will be willing to purchase from you when the time comes.
5. Automation is your friend
Best friend, actually!
When I first started out, I did everything myself. My blog was still a side hustle and I was making very little money from it. Definitely not enough to survive solely off of.
I knew automation was awesome but I didn’t want to have to dish out money and invest in automation tools just yet. When I finally decided to face my fears and actually spend money, one of the first things I invested in was an automation tool.
Since then, I haven’t looked back! A huge part of my business is automated and this gives me so much more time and freedom so I’m not chained to a keyboard 24/7.
Now I used Tailwind to automate my Pinterest, Dubsado to automate my client management, Later to automate my Instagram and so much more.
6. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself
And talking a bit more about investing… I learned that you should be investing in YOURSELF too!
After I started spending money on shiny new tools and resources, I was still hesitant to spend money on other things like courses and programs.
I wasn’t sure if enrolling in educational programs & courses would be of any use to me. And we all know that courses can be pricey!
But one day I made the split decision to enroll in a course for becoming a Pinterest Manager and the entire course of my life changed. Because of the course, I was able to go full-time doing just that not long after.
7. Take breaks & go on vacations
Because of my addiction to being in hustle-mode, I hardly took breaks or vacations from my business in the very beginning. I even took my laptop and worked while traveling.
It was only recently in the last few months that I learned how important it is to close the laptop, step back and freakin’ RELAX!!
I was somehow convinced everything would come crashing down if I didn’t answer an email within 10 minutes of receiving it. I was so wrong about this.
In the last two months, I’ve cut my workweeks to mostly just 4-day workweeks. I try to take Fridays off when I can. It doesn’t always happen but I do make it a point to schedule it that way! I also just recently went on a 10-day (mostly) wifi-free vacation.
I did almost no work except replying to the occasional email!
So. Worth. It.
You can be your best self and the best version of yourself for your clients and customers if you’re constantly stressed and burnt out. Take a break!
8. Don’t compare yourself to others
This is something that I struggled with a lot and still do sometimes. I used to find myself comparing my chapter one to someone’s chapter ten.
We’re all at different phases of our entrepreneurship journey and we’re all doing things differently.
Comparing myself to other people was just a big time-waster. I could’ve spent that time on other money-making tasks that actually move the needle.
I kinda regret this one but it was something I needed to learn so I could grow as a person and really step into that CEO role in my business.
9. It’s okay to turn down clients
AHHH WHAT?! You might think I’m nuts but a big thing I learned in my first year of business is that it is 100… no 1000% okay to turn down clients.
It sounds crazy because you might think the goal is to grow the business and make more money — which it is… BUT I want to be in control of how I do it.
You don’t know how many times a client inquired for my services and I just didn’t get a good vibe from them. There are times where I knew we weren’t a right fit and there were red flags everywhere.
I want to enjoy my business and be happy — I don’t want to be working for nightmare clients and be justifying why I took them on.
Now I have no shame to politely decline and refer them to someone else if I feel that we are not a good fit or they’re going to be a lot of trouble. I left my old office jobs for a reason. Because I wanted to be in control of what I do.
If you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one. It’s okay to be picky with who you want to work with. It’ll save you a lot of headaches in the end.
10. Stop worrying about what people think
I struggled A LOT with what people think of me. And not just any people, but people who know me in real life.
This is still a constant struggle for me to this day but I am getting more and more confident in who I am and what I do.
I used to hide my blog and have this huge fear of what people thought of me if they found out what I do for a living or if they read all my work.
I cringed so hard at the thought. I’m still super shy to share what I do with people because I know a lot of people in my life don’t take this industry seriously or simply just don’t understand.
So yes, it’s still something I struggle with and I’m working on, but I’ve definitely grown in the last year in this area of my life. Let’s just say I finally updated my LinkedIn profile 😉
11. Listen to your gut
You’d be surprised but a lot of the time, you should just listen to your gut.
In my first year of business, there were many decisions to be made. And I’ve always been the researching type (anyone else addicted to googling things? Or is it just me?)
But you can’t always research everything or have all the facts. I learned that sometimes you just have to trust your instincts and go with your gut.
There have been a few times where everything pointed to one thing, but my gut was telling me another thing. I gave in and I’ve learned to listen to myself and just have full trust in myself. Don’t be afraid to follow your intuition.
You know what’s best for you and your business.
12. What you focus on expands
Last but not least, the #1 thing I learned in my first year of business is that what you focus on expands.
Entrepreneurship has taught me to focus on what I want to achieve and work towards it every freakin’ day no matter how hard it may seem sometimes.
Just focus on yourself and tune out the noise.
I’ve discovered this whole new world of manifestation in business and how to use it to reach your goals. I’ve implemented positive affirmations and spent my time getting on a new spiritual level to manifest the success I deserve.
There’s so much I’ve achieved by focusing on manifestation and taking inspired action to reach my goals. What you put out into the universe is what you attract.
Being confident and feeling like you’re already that successful businesswoman you’ve always wanted to be is what has helped me truly grow my business as well as grow as a person.
I am not the same person I was two or three years ago or even just a year ago.
I’ve grown so much and gone through so many changes for the better. I feel inspired and excited to take on the day every single day.
When I look into the future, I feel confident about where this whole thing is going and I’m definitely in this for the long haul.
I love this business that I’ve been able to build from the ground up and I am so thankful that I finally found something that I am truly and wholeheartedly passionate about.
So yep… that’s basically what the past year has been like over here. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.