The first year in your business can be exciting, scary, and enlightening, all at the same time. I’d love to share some of what I’ve learned from my first year in this business with you!
I’d love to answer some questions I have been asked on this topic:
What was your biggest surprise about your first year?
My biggest surprise was really how fast the year went and how it ended in a way I never would have predicted when I first started.
Initially I thought I would be doing mostly 1:1 work, but I ended up creating my Success Squad Mastermind program in Q4 and it ended up being my primary offering and the part of my business I’m most passionate about.
I really had this notion that I wanted a group program because as a prior leader in direct sales, one of the things I knew I was going to miss most was leading my team. I just figured it would be at some point later in my second year of business and that I would just primarily be focusing on working with people 1:1.
As it happened, I had a bunch of amazing women who were perfect for a group program so I actually started it many months ahead of the plan. I am just so incredibly glad that I did because it’s now my primary offering and I am madly in love with it!
What was the biggest mindset obstacle you had to overcome?
My biggest mindset challenge to overcome was that I don’t need to be “ahead of someone” in the business timeline in order to help them.
In other words, I learned that I could still help somebody who has been in business longer than I have. And I could even help somebody that was currently making more money than I was at the time. I kept having this hangup that if someone has been in business for years and was having success, that I would have nothing else to offer them. In reality, though, that wasn’t true at all!
After working with many different women, all who had been in business for different lengths of time and making different amounts of money, I realized I actually had a ton of value to give!
We all have our gifts and mine are that I make selling and understand marketing feel simple and fun, or as much fun as one can have with marketing! HA!
As an example, Kendra Hennessy of Mother Like a Boss, had started her business well before me. She is my business bestie! I knew she was already making a profit from her business, and I realized that just through working with her that I actually was giving her really valuable information and help in her business, and that kind of turned it around for me and gave me the confidence to reach out to more and different types of people.
I realized that if, in my first year of business, I could give great value to an awesome business owner already making six figures, then I could help lots of women at all different places in their businesses. For more on Kendra and how I helped her with her sales, check out her video testimonial.
How did your income and time compare to your time in network marketing?
I really had no idea how the year would shake out in terms of revenue.
I had no barometer for what it would look like so it was sort of hard to set and hard and fast goal, and I didn't want to be aggressively chasing down a certain number.
For more on my experience in network marketing and why I left, check out my blog post on why I said “goodbye” to a successful business.
I knew my first year in this business would be a year of learning, growing, and building. I didn't put too much pressure on myself to hit a certain figure. I mostly wanted to break even on my investments.
As December approached I was tallying my figures for the year and realized I wasn't that far off to the amount I made in my final year in my previous direct sales business.
In my final year in network marketing I had built up to a certain amount of revenue, that I felt really proud about. Honestly, this business that I have now is so different I had no clue if I would end up anywhere even near that number or if I would exceed that number.
In the end, I made basically the same exact amount of money in my very first year in this new business, as I did in my 3rd and final year in my network marketing business.
What are some things you have tried that didn’t work?
At the beginning I remember feeling like I needed certain things in place before I could start working with clients.
Interestingly, right when I announced my new business, I got my first client. My tattoo artist reached out to me for help with the shop he was running. I was flattered and shocked, and so excited to get started.
I ended up creating a big report of my findings and suggestions, which I was really proud of, but it made me realize I didn't want my work with subsequent clients to unfold like that. The 40 page report would feel daunting to a solopreneur, and make them feel like they had an amount of "homework" they'd never have time to complete.
After that I broke down the flow of my 1:1 work much differently, and I really enjoy how I have it set up now. Plus, I got rid of my 30-day package altogether, and now only work with clients for a minimum of 90 days. This might change in the future, but I like it for now.
But the moral of the story was I wouldn't have known if I hadn't tried, and also that relationships matter more than having a "perfect" website. Just start reaching out to work with people!
My other mistake was overthinking everything. I like to have a plan and be prepared. This isn't bad, but sometimes it can hinder progress. I also got wildly wrapped up in pricing.
In the end I should've initially offered a much lower price for my services to get more experience working with clients. The experience of the actual client work really helped me see what others were really struggling with and how I could best help.
The most important thing I realized was that I needed to just start meeting people, getting in front of them, talking to people, talking about what I do, why I do it, and how I can help.
All of that networking component was way more valuable than making sure I had a super spiffy website.
I should have just tried to work with more people in the beginning because I got a lot of clarity from actually working with them and seeing what they needed help with.
My biggest advice for new people, especially those in a service based business, is just to network like crazy. Whether that’s in person or online, just network! Get your name out there and start making relationships. Start looking for opportunities to speak about what you do and give value! You’ve got this!