Reflections After My First Year as an Entrepreneur
The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” has always been dear to my heart, but it’s taken on a new meaning this year as a business owner.
As I’ve grown up, this song seemed to pop on the radio just when something difficult seemed to be lifting & something beautiful was beginning…when I realized I was falling in love with my husband, on the way home from a blissful day of teaching Kindergarten after previous days of pure chaos, or when a loved one’s health was finally returning.
This song was the bookend of hardship, a bridge made of sunbeams into a brighter time.
If you’ve been around me for any time, you know I’m an eternal optimist. Finding bright sides and silver linings is my specialty. I will add figurative or physical sparkle to any and all situations until they seem shiny enough to make someone smile again.
But this first year as an entrepreneur stretched me in ways I didn’t expect. I had never felt so defeated, so inadequate, so unsure about anything…ever.
I’m supposed to be the one with all the answers – sometimes I had none.
I’m supposed to be the motivational one – some days I felt drained with nothing to give.
I’m supposed to be the steadfast Princess of Positivity – some days I wanted to completely give up on this dream.
OK, enough doom and gloom.
“How did you snap out of this funk, Jill?”
Well, I’m so glad you asked! There are a million minute details, but here are a few things that actually helped me gain confidence and clarity during this first year as a new business owner.
Top 5 Strategies I Learned as a New Business Owner
1. Set measurable, realistic goals for yourself and have someone keep you accountable.
Changing my mindset to figure out what realistic goals look like was a huge shift. I’m still a fan of dreaming up big goals, but breaking them down into a realistic timeline is the only way to actually get there… at least that’s been true for me.
Having a designated person and a specified time to check on my progress has also been incredible. I don’t want to let either of us down, so I feel more motivated to actually do the things I said I would because I know that piece of accountability will be there. Every week. This consistency helps me feel more grounded in my goals.
2. Find a business mentor who will guide and encourage you with wisdom and kindness.
Shameless plug for my business coach & mentor Amanda, this woman has been an absolute God-send. I started off writing for her business, which was a lovely experience. Through our communications, I appreciated her joyful attitude and willingness to teach me more in depth skills on-the-job. Then, when I decided to choose a business coach, the decision was simple: her. I did not realize how life-giving it would be to connect with someone who has been in my shoes, persevered, and walked further down the road to success. Finding a mentor has given me clarity, encouragement, and confidence to keep running boldly toward my dreams. Plus, we laugh at all the same jokes. Find yourself an Amanda!
3. Find a group of other entrepreneurs where you can learn, vent, and grow together.
Similarly, finding a group of entrepreneurs who are in the trenches with me has been game-changing. I stumbled into a Facebook group, which led me to a virtual networking event (Yes, those are real and this one is awesome – message me if you want a free ticket to try it!), which led me to a Leadership Mastermind. These ladies are kind, welcoming, intelligent, and hilarious. The way they challenge me to step outside my comfort zone and can simultaneously relate to my struggles makes my heart so happy. Find a business tribe, it’s worth searching for.
4. Use a planner so it supports you instead of overwhelming you.
This logistical life hack has made my days flow much more smoothly. I don’t stare at my planner – blinking and afraid – anymore. I posted a Reel outlining how I use my vertical Happy Planner, but I have yet to explain the digital tool I use for all the nitty gritty tasks. (It’s on my list to publish soon!) Figuring out a system that helps keep me organized instead of creating a wave of overwhelm has truly changed the way my days flow!
5. Believe, with all your heart, that perfection is a MYTH.
Perfectionism is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. No one held me to this standard, it was something I put on myself. After almost 3 decades, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that perfection is a big stinking lie. No one and no thing on this earth can be truly perfect. And it shouldn’t be. The imperfections are what make life more beautiful and remind me of this whole, fragile human experience. Once I let go of trying to be perfect, and just focused on my best, a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. WOW, that was freeing!
Looking back it seems so simple. None of this was rocket science. But it took a season of falling short to have a fresh perspective on things. I am forever grateful for the support system that continued to pour into my often-empty cup during these trying times.
Now, I can clearly see the sun rising again, with breathtaking pinks and oranges. I have an unshakable confidence that could have only been forged through fire. The ice has slowly melted… It’s all right. 🙂
*Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this post, just links to places you might find helpful as I have. The statements above express my experience & opinion. They are not to be taken in place of advice from a medical, legal, psychological, or any other professional. If you are struggling, please seek the help of a professional. I’m just a writer sharing my journey, here. 🙂