In 2020 I celebrated ten years as a self employed business owner. It was one of the highlights of my year.
In 2010 I was presented with an opportunity to "buy" an "income stream" from an "established, profitable, small lifestyle business" and I jumped at the chance! Even though I had no idea at the time that I was what I was doing.
At the time, if you would have asked me what I was doing, I would have said, "I am using my life savings to take a gamble on this "thing" that's supposed to pay me a modest living while I run it remotely from a beach in Mexico."
Immediately followed by, "Am I freaking nuts?!"
For your information, I purchased a salvage grocery brokerage business from my boyfriend (now husband, who started it with his ex wife. Hey, reality is stranger than fiction. I can't make this up!)
I bought and sold semi-truckloads of damaged and outdated groceries from a warehouse in Houston and sold them to "Mom and Pop" retail grocery stores through out the southwestern United States.
It was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life and definitely one of my best business investments.
Along the way, I learned A LOT, mostly the hard way. Meh, that's just who I am and how I learn = experimenting.
And today I'm going to pull back the curtain on some of the things I wish I had known when I started way back then. Maybe one of these will resonate with you and will help you steer clear of some of the disappointments and heartbreak I found on my path.
What I Wish I Had Known (5 Lessons Learned in Business)
1. The people you least expect to help you will be the ones who help you the MOST. The ones you expect to help you the most, will usually help you the LEAST.
And after ten plus years in business I can say retrospectively that this disappointment is likely a function of my expectations. So, the bigger lesson I'm taking away from those disappointing experiences is to adjust my expectations to reality, and to stay open minded and open hearted to all people and all opportunities. Remember, sales and success are a numbers game. When in doubt, get back to work.
2. Feelings aren't facts.
If you've been in business where the stakes are high and the pressure is on, you've also felt ALL THE FEELS! The anger of losing a deal to a mistake that could've been prevented, the embarrassment of being caught saying something you shouldn't, or the guilt of knowing you could've been just a bit more productive.
I'm glad that I'm now finally able to understand the relationship of my mind and body and the delicate biochemical balance of what I believe about my feelings and the empowering choice to change my mind.
3. Sell, sell, sell, sell, sell. Now, sell some more.
Revenue and sales are the oil that grease the wheels of all business ventures. As an owner/founder, one of your first priorities is sales no matter how you feel about it. Without sales, you will have no gas in the tank and that just gets ugly and depressing. I know, because I've been there "borrowing gas" and not only can it be discouraging, it can also quickly turn into an uphill battle.
4. Trust yourself.
On more than one occasion I've fallen victim to imposter syndrome, procrastination by over-education, limiting beliefs, and personal boundary issues, to name just a few.
And one of the best investments I've made in business is in coaches, mentors, tools, resources and experiences that have strengthened my personal foundation and confidence so that I can hold my head high and trust myself.
Although I suspect these lessons will continue to weave themselves throughout the course of my career, now that I've been through a full cycle of them, I've learned we know significantly more than we give ourselves credit for, so, trust yourself, hold your head high, and take bold action.
5. Say 'NO' more than you think you should.
In my private coaching practice, the most significant way I witness clients sabotaging themselves is by being over-scheduled, over-worked, over-indulging, and over-whelmed.
This continues to be one of the hardest concepts for my clients to grasp and hardest to implement on a practical level. I suspect that's because as business leaders and entrepreneurs, we're hard wired to genuinely want to do ALL THE THINGS. Further, in a culture that moves at lightening speed and provides a plethora of opportunities for immediate gratification, we're actually swimming upstream if we attempt to do something that isn't that.
Regardless, saying no is essential and the faster you can get this and walk it out the faster you'll experience the results you're literally dying for.
In closing, there are more than five valuable lessons I've learned in the last decade in business I could share (like, capital from medical cannabis consultants is VERY expensive!) but we'll have to leave those stories for another time as I want to keep my posts bitesized enough to keep your attention.
But I'd love to hear, what do you wish you knew when you started in business?
Hit me up with your thoughts here, LinkedIn, or Insta. And, remember, in 2021, I'm going to decrease my social usage and increase my newsletter communications so if you've not yet done so, sign up to get convenient email notifications here.