Last year was such a challenging and frustrating period of transition for me. I had more hurt than necessary but I found ways to get through the year. During my process I shared deep thoughts in my newsletter about what was happening and my thoughts during my transition. So instead of looking at all the negative that happened, I chose to find 15 lessons from 2015 to remember in 2016 so I don’t have a repeat year, EVER!
So what did I learn?
- Life transitions are hard. Heck it’s one of the hardest emotional experiences I have ever faced. I know this one wasn’t the first nor will it be the last. But it definitely was the longest period of emotional stress I’ve faced outside of dealing with depression. Lesson learned: Find ways to manage the emotional roller coaster when dealing with life’s transition. For me it’s journaling.
- I don’t have to buy or pay money to “support” other people’s business if I don’t feel it fits what I need for my business just to make them like me. I have spent more money than I should buying things from people I know because I didn’t want them to think I didn’t support their business. It was a waste, most of the time. I didn’t get any type of return on investment. I learned karma doesn’t seem to work too well when I financially support others because they sure as heck don’t financially support me. So this year I will NOT buy anything just so I feel I’m not hurting anyone’s feelings. Lesson learned: Know what I will spend my money on and stick to that only. Feelings or opinions won’t sway my decision.
- Don’t do partnerships with friends. It can sully a friendship. Now this is my personal experience. I found that being friends and working together doesn’t always work out. Funny thing was the end goal was the same but it was the freaking process of getting to the end goal that was a constant discussion. But I still like each one of the ladies. I wanted to simplify all that I do so I had to take a step back, look at how that partnership fit where I want to go and make a decision. It was best for me to walk away. Lesson learned: Sometimes you can’t take friendships from one box and put it into another box at the same time. Know the role that people play in your life and don’t force them into new roles.
- Saying ‘YES’ is not always a good thing to say. It can lead to loss of money and people pleasing. (This is different from lesson #2.) If anyone needed help, me to share what they are doing on social media, etc I would more than likely say ‘YES’. Knowing good and well I didn’t have the time or it didn’t fit with the brand message I had. But again I want to support all I can. Not this year. Lesson learned: My time and social media timelines are for me first and foremost. If others fit into what I’m doing then I will share or help. If not, then wish you the best and keep my time, energy, money, etc to myself.
- Don’t be all over the place chasing money. Focus on 1 thing. I read a great book by Gary Keller on this topic, “That ONE Thing”. Anyway, I created so many varied products, a tour, & services over the last 4.5 years just to make a buck. It was frustrating when I had more flops than success. Lesson learned: Stick to 1 thing for an extended period of time and create a steady stream of income from that before expanding.
- It’s okay to explore interests but maybe not publicly. Every time I wanted to switch directions or try something new I let the whole world know. Not such a good idea. It definitely diluted my brand message. (I’ll speak more about that in lesson #10). Exploration is a part of life. And seriously, it is just for you. So go out and find what you like but no need to broadcast it to everyone, especially sharing it on social media. Lesson learned: While I’m discovering my likes and interests, it’s okay to keep that to myself or share with my close circle of friends. But don’t associate that with my brand until it actually fits. It can destroy any brand message you are putting out to attract clients/customers sending mixed signals.
- Stop absorbing so much information. Be selective. I mean how much can we listen to or read? There are articles, ebooks, programs, podcasts, hangouts, webinars, Periscope, etc with so many different voices giving so much advice can feel overwhelming. I found that limiting who I listened to helped to lessen the feeling of overwhelming confusion on what to do with my business. Lesson learned: Sometimes listening to no one is better than listening to everyone.
- Keep tabs on finances so you know when to let go of a project. Going over all my receipts and bank statements helped me see what needed to be cut off and what I could keep and expand. That way I didn’t spend years wasting money in something that was never going to bring any money in. Lesson learned: Numbers don’t lie. Don’t try to convince yourself something can work if the numbers are saying something else.
- Staying in my lane keeps me sane. I know my lane yet I seem to always veer into others. Not sure if it’s curiosity, wanting to challenge myself or “trying” to expand what I do, but veering into other lanes has led to a whole lot of nothingness. Lesson learned: Stick with what I like/can do well/ get paid for and expand that. And only that. Everything out here isn’t for me. Know that “Shiny Things Syndrome” is real and find the cure to it.
- Know my brand message & amplify it. Don’t give it or allow it to take on a million different voices. And if I don’t know my brand message, then don’t put anything out there until I do. It confuses people and you will receive a whole lot of requests for things you may not even do or care to do. Trust me, I’ve been there and again, it leads to NO money. Lesson learned: Take all the time you need to craft your brand message as it can make or break your bank account.
- Make sure your personal life is together because that drama can & will overflow and interrupt your business progress. Man oh man oh man, this was my life last year. Like I stated earlier that I had a challenging and frustrating 2015. Yep, it was a really tough year for me. I’m so thrilled 2016 is here. But that drama from my personal life deeply affected my mental state and I just couldn’t focus on my business the way I should have. That lead to loss of money because I scaled back on what did bring me money and veered into other lanes (lesson #9) because I just wasn’t thinking straight. And losing money lead to even more frustration. It was such a vicious cycle and I’m glad to be off of it now. Lesson learned: Take the time to either work on relationships you want to keep or cut off ones bringing you down. That drama will affect your business. So do what’s best for you.
- Social media detox does my mind good. Each year I take a month away from social media and it’s like one of the best things I can do for my sanity. And I almost didn’t take it in 2015. I knew December would be a busy month for me yet I realized I didn’t take time for myself. So in the midst of the kraziness I was in and all the projects I was juggling, I took 31 days away from social media. I was able to breathe as well as begin to let go of all the things I knew couldn’t stay with me in 2016. Lesson learned: Social media is not life. It’s a tool. And it’s okay to put that tool away for a second to actually live life.
- It’s okay to walk away from a business you’re known for if you’ve outgrown it. I was scared to walk away from Women Are Gamechangers. I was scared of what others would think. If they thought I was a failure. Then I realized forget what others think. I outgrew that. I am moving more into who I am so I couldn’t keep doing something just because others are used to seeing me there. I need to do what’s best for me. They can learn to adapt or not. It’s not my concern what their choice is. Lesson learned: There is no reason to stay stationary to benefit others if you’re stifling yourself.
- Sometimes you work just for a lesson and nothing else. One product I launched last year was just a complete and utter flop. But I learned something in that process. I went back over everything I did to figure out why it flopped. Then I wrote down some notes and took that financial lesson to heart. Lesson learned: In business, as much as we want everything to bring us money it won’t. Sometimes it’s a lesson to help us improve for future references.
- Failure is just a part of the entrepreneurial journey. And even if it’s a public failure, it doesn’t matter. Take the gems to build a treasure chest of resources for the next phase of life. I’ve failed so many times it’s ridiculous. I blogged about a lot of the failures I’ve experienced. I was so nervous to share them. I was embarrassed to have failed at some of the things I did. I just couldn’t believe others seemed to do well and I was struggling. Lesson learned: Don’t compare your failure with others. Everyone is not giving 100% of what is part of their “failure.” Failure is all apart of building a business. If it were easy, then everyone would have a business. Failure is just a stepping stone along your journey.
Yep, that was a long list of lessons I learned in 2015. For me, I find that sharing my good, bad and ugly is not only therapeutic but something that is bringing me closer to the brand I will be building. I believe in honestly and transparency as well as being direct in business. And in the age of the Instagram life of business I see it’s needed more than ever. So stay tuned to see what I mean about being transparent, honest and direct in business.