CELEBRATING A ONE YEAR MILESTONE THIS MONTH!

LOOKING BACK: 7 LESSONS I’ve LEARNED

This past year has been a complete eye-opening experience running a home-based online business. So, if you are someone new who is just starting out, these lessons might be valuable and important to note. When people say you never really stop growing when you take risks in life. There are risks that outweighs your past failures, and that's when REAL GROWTH happens. However, I don’t consider them failures and rather lessons. These lessons can be applied simply to your bucket list of things to improve upon as your brand evolves. For me personally, this evolution is necessary because if your brand is not evolving, then everything feels stagnant and outdated. I don’t believe in marketing hypes or trends per se but it is important that we pay close attention to behavioral changes that happens within an industry or marketplace.

So, here are my top 7 lessons I learned running my business the first year!

 
 


LESSON 1 - BRAND FOUNDATION:

This is probably the easiest part of the branding process that gets usually skipped to get to the FUN and SHINY part of our brand. For example, logo and working on the visual aspects when we have not even discovered the heart of the brand and to whom does it serve. It takes time to build awareness and that only comes from serving others in order to become aware of yourself in the process. Don’t skip the brand foundation.When we push products and services without putting the HARD LABOR in research and understanding the WHY, it will always lead us back to square one. It’s also important to acknowledge and clearly map out where your passion lies and not fall into the trap of social hype, trends, and following other people’s brand.

LESSON 2– ORGANIZE YOUR LEAST ENJOYABLE ACTIVITIES:

The is listed as one of my top lessons because every entrepreneur starts with a great excitement but as soon as they discover the least enjoyable activities, they either freak out or stop moving forward. But this is my way of quickly becoming aware of things you absolutely love doing and things you put off and leave for procrastination. For example, I would rather give birth than getting ready to file for my taxes which has to include every detailed expense report. I enjoy the detail process on my design but not when it comes to numbers and bookkeeping. In this case, if you are considering using application such as quickbook, I recommend using Freshbook where it’s super user-friendly. It tracks all my expenses, invoices and payment methods that is easily managed under one platform. For project management tools, I highly recommend Trello and Airtable especially if you are a visual learner.

LESSON 3 – DON’T BE REACTIVE AND RATHER BECOME SELECTIVE:

In the past, there were moments where I would come across a course online, I would immediately press the BUY button without figuring out if the offering was best suited for my learning style. It is easy to get sucked into the world of internet where every marketer tries to outcompete and call out everyone else. In essence they are trying to get your attention so you are convinced that is what you need. Instead, I would carefully make an inventory of your skill sets, existing knowledge, and peers you know whom you may reach out to and ask for advice. They might not be directly working in your industry but in my experience, NETWORKING is the KEY to find out what you need to grow your business. There are many local groups, events, and organizations that support entrepreneurs. Also, take a note of your past history. How often have you started something and completed things until you reached to the end. If you are someone who never follows through anything and always do things halfway then perhaps that is not the best route. Take some time to understand what is the learning process that you really enjoy. Perhaps joining a club or Meetup group. Or, hire a mentor to walk your through the exact steps.

LESSON 4 – MAKE TIME FOR YOUR PERSONAL AND HEALTH GOALS

For the past three years since my twins were born, my health has really affected my mental state. I realized earlier this year that this was such a crucial part of my personal growth journey and not just the business side of it. So, I made this the #1 focus for myself this year where not only I want to get back on track but keeping my mental state healthy and practicing meditation. It helps you stay positive. This is because I guarantee you that time to time fear will creep up into your space which creates procrastination, frustration, and overwhelming feelings.

LESSON 5 – RECORD YOUR TIME SPENT ON WORK

This is something I never even considered in the past. I always been the type of person who is reactive rather than proactive. When you track on how much you spend on each task, you will be able to tell what resources you need to outsource and areas that needs more of your focus. For example, if you are some one who would rather work on how to get more clients than figuring out photoshop skills, then acknowledge that and make an inventory of what you truly love doing. Sometimes, we are not getting the return on investment on things that could be better handing off to someone who can get it done much faster. So, keeping a logo on those little tasks that eats up your time is something definitely worth tracking.

LESSON 6 – DON’T DWELL ON THE PAST

When you are starting a business, there are only lessons as I mentioned above. I don’t look at them as mistakes per se. when you see things as mistakes, you tend to repeat them. But when you acknowledge that they are lessons, you tend to do things better. So, there is a level of maturity and growth that happens along the way. If you are expecting overnight results then chances are that you are inserting the same expectation with your clients and therefore it becomes a vicious cycle. Being persistent with your actions and learning to work through resistances is what will make you persevere. In this case, I have made many investments where I started to feel resentment and almost paralyzed for months not taking any action. So much of time was devoted on what went wrong instead of creating something new. If you don’t see results right away then be patient and learn to look for the WHY. It takes enormous amount of personal development in order to make little breakthroughs in your business. 

LESSON 7 –DO NOT COMPARE YOUR JOURNEY TO OTHERS

In the beginning phase, there is a lot of research with what’s happening with our competitors. Sometimes, we are either delivering the same kind of taste or a unique taste that should resonate with our audiences. It also makes us wonder if we are heading into the right direction and question our product, services, and more importantly ourselves. We get into this continuous comparison mode and almost create competition within ourselves. So, it is important to be aware that whatever platform you are on, it’s not distracting from your original mission and purpose. Also, it is not really fair to you when someone has put in years of hard labor whereas you have been just toying with the idea. It’s also easy to feel envious of them but instead congratulate them and acknowledge their craft. Never ever underestimate your own strengths and power to build a brand that you love.

Speaking of loving your brand, I am offering a private free 60 min consultation until the end of March while celebrating this one year milestone. Join my free facebook group and Schedule your free 30 min brand strategy session today!

Humaira Akhter