I’m not going to let myself off the hook with this one by saying that I have no regrets and that all my mistakes have led me to this point. There are definitely lessons I’ve learned, and if given a do-over, there are things I would have done differently from the beginning. There are a few things that I know would have helped me tremendously in getting my business off the ground faster and would have saved me a lot of time, money and frustration.
If I had it to do it over again, here are the things I would have done differently.
- I would have avoided the billable-hour trap. I have no doubt, if I had things to do over again, I would have created more automated and group-centric sources of income from the very start. I would not have made one-on-one services such a big part of my revenue. I think setting a business up that way limits how far you can go and eventually burns you out. On top of that, in many cases, you can provide the same services that you would provide one-on-one in other ways and reach the same result. For example, instead of provide one-on-one consulting or coaching, you could provide a group program or membership site.
- I would have set up and maintained a steady content stream. No matter what the business, online or brick-and-mortar, creating online content is a great way to promote it and generate leads. Every single contact and client who has found me over the past few years has done so through content I’ve created online. Just a few days ago, in fact, someone contacted me and mentioned articles I had written several years ago, so that content is still serving me today.
- I would have found a balance between creating content around “my voice” and “guest voices.” It hasn’t been until this most recent year that I’ve seen the real value in balancing my own voice with those of people who share similar views and goals. Each of us has something unique to offer in the way of creating content: Our voices (our unique way of putting things and relating to others), as well as our unique blend of experiences and expertise. By bringing other voices to the table, you have greater depth and more to offer. You also get the added benefit of a connection with the other expert, which has so much potential — joint ventures, partnerships, referral relationships, extra promotion, cheerleaders for your business, and much more.
- I would have set some boundaries for myself and my business. I would have decided from the very beginning where I was going to draw the line with clients and other service providers so that I didn’t set myself up to be taken advantage of and to be a doormat. Knowing what I know now and knowing how this can actually equate to greater success and more opportunities, I would have been less prone to take any and every job or client that came my way.
- I would have worried more about passion than profit (knowing now that the money will follow) Now I can see that when I’m connected to a bigger purpose for my life and business, things just begin falling into place and synchronizing, so if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t chase down opportunities strictly for financial reasons. I would be much more interested in following an intention for my business and allowing the money to follow.
The mistakes I’ve made over time have led me to where I am today. I wouldn’t change those things, but if I wanted to start a new business, I would apply the lessons I’ve learned so that I could save myself those missteps from earlier days.
If you had it to do over, what would you do differently in your business? What lessons learned the hard way would you apply to a new business today?