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Entrepreneurship – Year One and Counting…

By April 23, 2013March 31st, 201412 Comments
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This week officially marks my first full year of being a solopreneur. It’s crazy really – in so many ways the year went by extremely fast, and in other ways it feels like an eternity ago that I was working for someone else. The list of lessons learned and knowledge gained could be a book in and of itself (wait – should that be my next book?). Some of these lessons I’ll be chatting about in Jenny’s May Mastermind, but here are some general thoughts…

Year One: The Insanity of Entrepreneurship

  • No matter how much you prepare for it, it’s still strange to have complete control over your work time and schedule.
  • It’s extremely easy to become a hermit and/or a workaholic.
  • You will experience extreme mood swings in the beginning. And the middle. And, well, always. When things are going good – you are more excited than ever. When they aren’t, there may be some “de-ledge” discussions.
  • Maybe you are smarter than me, but I have yet to get my estimate earnings budget on-target for the month.
  • What you think your business will be, will probably turn out to be something different.
  • Your website mechanics (design, layout, tinkering, etc.) matters waaaaay less than you think it does.
  • There’s no reason to obsess over “numbers” like traffic, comments, shares/likes, etc. You will drive yourself crazy if you do.
  • If you hear the advice, “write epic sh*t to get a huge audience,” one more time, you will start ignoring all advice.
  • Your family probably doesn’t understand what you do or why you are doing it – that’s ok, they are proud of you anyway.
  • Diversifying is the best idea you’ve ever had. Just like your money portfolio, the more buckets and income streams you have, the more potential you have to make money and sustain bumps.
  • You will be disappointed in other people, particularly those who you thought would help you along the way. This will happen time and time again, but you will have one bump from someone and it will restore your faith in others wanting to help out.
  • Don’t waste your time in the weeds – focus on incoming generating items as much as possible… because that’s how you get paid.
  • Your clients will most likely come from people you know. Stop wasting your efforts (and money – omg, the money) on casting a huge net around the web. Start with your people – and grow outward from there.
  • You will run into a lot of negative nellie’s. You can either let their opinions sway you or stay the course. When you stay the course, you will be more successful in the long-run.
  • Think outside of the box to earn income. All of those stories where they put their shingle up and make $10k in their first month, aren’t really true. Don’t expect that – and think of all of the ways to generate income to help you reach your goals – freelance gigs, expanding your skills/business, partnering with others.
  • You will experience more pride in your accomplishments than ever before. Bask in this feeling, enjoy it, and celebrate it. Remember these when you have a bad day, or month (they will happen).
  • Keep your “why you do it” statement and your personal balance scale, in front of you at all times. Pull it out when needed and stay firm in your pursuit.
  • Find someone (or a few someones), who are in a similar boat/business as you. Build strong relationships with them and be vulnerable.

I could go on and on and on. There were many bumps, ups and downs, extreme wins, and some losses. But at the end of year one, I am excited. I know that the best is still ahead and I have so many lessons in place to help me get through new obstacles.

The most important lesson: Be grateful and show your gratitude to the people who help make this possible – your clients and supporters. So THANK YOU!!!! I am overjoyed and honored to be able to do this full-time. Cheers to the next year of solopreneurship!

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Clare says:

    Fantastic article, Melissa. Having just crossed the 6 month mark of full-time entrepreneurship, I can relate to many of your challenges. I’d love to hear about the high points too… Here’s to the next year, Clare

    • melissalywc says:

      Thanks @d869ca6b3292513d1fd4b7eb9dd3b2c1:disqus! There were plenty of high points for sure… I’d be happy to share them. Mainly, succeeding with my own ideas – how glorious is that. Happy 6-month mark – many, many more to you too!

  • Congratulations on your anniversary! These thoughts are really helpful to read as someone just starting out in the blogging world. I’ve freelanced for a decade, but with a stable part-time job always, and still, in hand, but it does feel like a different beast to work on a blog of my own that I hope to grow into a coaching business and a book one day. (One day….) I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has a tendency to obsess over numbers – how did you break that habit? I keep telling myself that today’s the day I won’t look at my stats…and then I do. And usually feel crappy about what I see. Not a worthwhile energy expenditure, to be sure!

    • melissalywc says:

      @twitter-1143500780:disqus – LOL… so I don’t know if there was *one* thing that broke me from the numbers habit, other than realizing that my numbers weren’t nearly as awesome as my clients and conversion rates. So while I do check them every now and then (ok – I check my traffic numbers once a day through Jetpack), I know that the business is going along well regardless. And maybe I got annoyed with myself for letting it change my mood so much? I dunno – I got busy. There – three ways in which I *convinced* myself to stop obsessing. 🙂 Hopefully one of those strategies works for you – or feel free to use all of them.

      • I think I will try them all. Although I thought I had “busy” covered with a 2-year-old running around, yet the numbers obsession sneaks in at the darnedest moments! (e.g., while getting her a cup of milk…) More anti-obsession work to follow. Thanks for the tips!

  • Shannyn says:

    Congrats! Also… thanks for your help on my resume, I think it’s paid off 🙂

    • melissalywc says:

      Thank you @twitter-241807950:disqus – Tell me more!!! I can’t wait to hear the news. Yay for ressy’s that work. 😉

  • Emily Smith says:

    Congrats lady!!!!!! I am so proud of you and it’s beyond exciting to watch your business grow. I’ll continue to share all of the wonderful advice, tips, and resources you provide this community with! You rock.


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