This month, I celebrate my business milestone of 10 years! It’s hard to believe how fast 10 years have flown by, and I’m super thankful to be doing what I do.
I work with incredible clients and help them conquer their social media and content marketing challenges. Seeing my clients build loyal fans keeps me moving forward in my business and keeps my passion alive.
Yes, like all business owners, I’ve had ups and downs.
But for me, it comes down to keeping a positive mindset and learning from the lessons along the way. And I’ve learnt a few – trust me on that.
So today, I thought I’d share my top 10 lessons from 10 years in business.
The 10 lessons I’ve learnt from 10 years in a social media marketing business. My quick backstory for WHY I started my business in the first place
Once upon a time, I was a haggled-looking mum trying to balance young kids around a hugely stressful corporate job (Senior Marketing Coordinator for a global consultancy firm). My boss didn’t get the idea of part-time and was always targeting me, making my work environment unbearable.
My mum said I looked like ‘A washed-out rag’, so my husband and I took a child-free holiday to Machu Picchu in Peru.
Sitting on top of a Peruvian mountain, I had a brainwave! I’d start my own business, and when I got home, my stresses would disappear.
But I went back to work. I was so stressed out that my doctor advised me to quit – so I did.
And from that day on, Sam Says was born. No more nasty boss and freedom to work around my children and their schedules (which have changed over the years!).
The top 10 business lessons I’d love to share with you
1. Build relationships
My mum always told me, ‘Treat people how you want to be treated’. The world is small, and if you build the right relationships, you build your referral network. When you meet people, ask questions and be genuinely interested. Sometimes, the person you meet may not be your ideal client, but their husband, wife, cousin or best friend may be.
2. It’s not the easy way out
Sometimes, starting a business to follow our passion isn’t as easy as it seems. When you get into the nitty-gritty of running a business, you find there’s also hiring employees, bookkeeping and marketing, which the average person doesn’t always understand but are vital for running a business. I learnt early on to outsource what wasn’t in my zone of genius. You also need to be resilient to bounce back from bad times so you can enjoy the many joys running a business can bring.
3. Feel the fear and do it anyway
We all have fears when it comes to running a business. Those little thoughts creep in – ‘will people like this’, ‘can I do this’, ‘what if it fails?’. I learned that fear of something is always much worse than actually doing it. So – feel the fear and do it anyway!
4. Look for the right solutions
Slow down and think before you speak or act. Listening and empathy are strengths and not a sign of weakness! To run a successful business, you need effective communication, negotiation and leadership skills to find the right solutions to people’s issues.
5. Keep your eyes on the prize
It can be easy to get wrapped up in your business’s day-to-day running and forget about the big WHY you started your business. To avoid business burnout, take time to reflect on where you have come from and where you want to go.
6. Never stop learning
The learning process in business should continue – forever! When running a business, you’ll need to wear many hats you’re not comfortable with or even good at. But that’s business! Read, watch, listen and ask.
7. Perfection isn’t always possible
Winston Churchill once said, ‘Perfection is the enemy of progress’. Accept that perfection isn’t always achievable, and it’s difficult for most business owners. But don’t let your thought of, ‘This isn’t perfect’, stop you from progressing your business forward.
8. Learn the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique was a lifesaver in my business. It’s a time management method that teaches you how to work in focussed 25-minute intervals. It’s a brilliant way to stay focussed, mainly if you’re working from home, as it forces you to concentrate for a set amount of time before being rewarded with a short break.
9. Share your story
From a young age, we love stories. It’s a way we learn about the world and its people. Sharing your story is a powerful marketing tool and one that genuinely works. Donald Miller has written a brilliant book called, ‘Building a Story Brand’ that’s worth a read.
10. Never stop marketing
Peter Drucker once said, ‘Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only these two – basic functions: marketing and innovation’. Marketing is the best way to reach, engage, convert and develop long-term relationships. When a business stops marketing, its business stops. Many business owners embrace innovation, but marketing can be relegated due to the cost. This can lead to missed opportunities and failure for your business.
Need a social media manager in your business life?
As a content/social media manager, I help business owners tackle their online marketing. From social media, blogging and eNewsletters, I help you to formulate a marketing plan so this side of your business hums along nicely.
Please get in touch to find out how my team can help you boost your online social media marketing efforts.
You can find my services here or send me an email to connect.
Here are some other blogs you may find handy: