9 Lessons I’ve Learned Since Starting my Biz
In honor of my 200th episode on my podcast, I decided to dedicate a post to what I would tell myself if I were starting my business over again. So if you’re just starting out in your biz and feeling a little lost, or if you’re ready to take the next step in your business but unsure of how to do it, this post is for you. Here are 9 lessons I’ve learned since starting my biz.
I am not the best at slowing down and celebrating my accomplishments. I usually meet a goal and then immediately move on to the next thing. But I know it’s really helpful to take a moment and congratulate yourself when you accomplish something. So this post is an effort for me to slow down and celebrate the 200 episodes of my podcast and over 250 thousand listens! Woo!
I hope you take this moment to slow down for yourself too. Soak in all the things and be present with where you are at right now. This is a post full of things I would tell myself if I were to start all over again. So if you’re still figuring out this whole small business thing, this post is the golden treasure that you’re looking for!
9 Lessons I’ve Learned Since Starting my Biz
I get a little bit teary just thinking about what I’ve accomplished since starting my business 15 years ago! I had no idea I’d be here and I am in love with exactly where I’m at. I’m not the kind of entrepreneur that created a successful business overnight. I have been working hard for a long time and I have learned so much. I have the tools and tips you need to grow a long-lasting business too, so I hope some of these lessons speak to you!
Small Biz Lesson #1: Dream bigger.
A couple of weeks ago I was sitting at my desk on a Zoom call with my team. We have team meetings about once a quarter and I always get that burst of excitement I need that fuels my why behind running my agency. As I was watching all my team members join the call, I was just in awe.
I can’t believe I have a business that supports this many women (we are almost up to 20 women now!) and I NEVER saw this coming. So my advice to you is to dream bigger. When we first start out in business we are very inward-focused. We are worried about what people think of us, about if we fail or embarrass ourselves, and all the things. But focusing on those things keeps us from dreaming big enough. When you step into your business with full faith and trust, you will soon be able to see how much you can actually serve and accomplish your biz goals (and beyond).
I used to think who am I to do this whole business thing? I’m a mom with tons of kids at home, I have church responsibilities, and tons of other things going on. How could I have the time to start and run a business?
But I believe our dreams are placed in our hearts for a reason and the quicker we can step into those the quicker we can start serving our people. It’s more than just a product, brand deals, or being a well-known influencer. It’s about the impact you get to make and the light you’re adding to the world.
Small Biz Lesson #2: Trust your gut.
A little while ago I was in a business that was stunting my growth. I knew it and I felt it for a very long time, but I didn’t have the guts to say anything or change it. I regret how long I let that go on for, but once I did say something it sent me in the direction I felt called to go.
And while I finally listened to my gut and started trusting myself more as I wanted to branch off and do my own thing it still felt very scary. So I want you to know that if you’re wondering why you still feel afraid when you’re doing what you feel called to do, it’s not because it’s wrong, but because it is really scary to put yourself out there and go in an unknown territory where you could miserably fail.
You are brave, biz sister. You are here showing up for yourself and your people and that is enough. If you’re feeling like you need to start something new in your business, I hope you spend less time convincing yourself why you should not do it and way more time convincing yourself why you should.
Small Biz Lesson #3: Invest in yourself.
My grandparents were both school teachers who raised their children on a farm. They didn’t have a lot, but something they always said was, “Get an education, get an education, get an education.” And this has always stuck with me.
I am a huge advocate for investing in yourself by taking courses or doing more schooling so that you have the knowledge and skills to serve the way you want to. When you learn more, you can serve more.
And it’s not about you wanting to do it all for yourself so that you can be the best at something. Yes, you want to be the best, but it’s because you want to be there to help and serve the people in your area of influence.
Plus, getting educated really helps you be a better instrument in God’s hand. God is everywhere. He’s in our business, He is in our education, and He wants to be there to help you. So just bring Him along on your biz journey and you’ll see miracles happen.
Small Biz Lesson #4: Pay yourself every month.
It took me way too long to learn this small biz lesson. So I hope you implement it sooner rather than later! I know it’s hard when you’re just starting out because so much of your income is going back into the business. But I can’t stress enough how important it is that you need to see the fruits of your labor.
Even if it’s just 50 bucks, pay yourself. It’s better to get into the habit now, so when you’re making more money it’ll be an effortless decision to make sure you pay yourself for all of your hard work! I pay my team members on the same day every month, so I take that time to pay myself as well. It’s exciting to see that you get to take away a certain percentage of your business income. It gives you that motivation to keep working hard because–say it with me–when women make money, they make magic.
Small Biz Lesson #5: Making money is a lot easier than you think.
You can make money at almost anything. For too long, I made it way too hard to make money. I felt like if I made money at certain things then it would take away my sincerity or my love for what I was doing. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Getting paid for things you do makes you better at your job, allows you to pay for more skills or tools you need in order to better serve your clients or customers, and helps you show up more professionally. And these are all things you need to create a long-lasting business.
Small Biz Lesson #6: Own this statement a lot sooner: “I am the best at what I do.”
I can now say with 100 percent confidence that I am the best at what I do. Does saying this make me lose humility? No. I am still so humbled to be in this position and so grateful I am here! So you can say this too. Try saying it right now!
It will probably feel a little bit weird the first few times you say it out loud, but once you believe it, it is the best feeling ever. I feel confident saying I am the best marketing strategist out there for my niche because of all the experience I’ve gained and the work I’ve put in to get here. Like I said, I’ve been doing business for a long time now and I am full of knowledge to share with people.
If you are an expert at rare house plants, own that. If you’re amazing at making family weeknight dinners, own that. Whatever your niche is, it’s time to start believing in yourself and stop apologizing for it. And make sure to show up that way every single day.
Small Biz Lesson #7: You’re in it for the long haul so make decisions accordingly.
We often pay too much attention to how many views we’re getting or how many followers we have. Yes, those things help measure our growth, but it’s way more important to figure out how we are going to create a long-term business.
For example, if you’re starting out on TikTok and you have a plan to post 3 times a day, eventually you are going to get burnt out. I do think it’s a good plan to post that often, but you need a content strategy to help you last long-term. You can’t post 3 times every single day forever. That’s just not sustainable.
That’s why I talk about having a blog, website, Pinterest, etc. because those last. If you are really in this for the long haul, make decisions for your business that will help put you in that long-term position.
Small Biz Lesson #8: Make the best decision you can with the information you have and then move forward.
I’ve talked to so many clients or Money Makers that are so nervous about making the wrong decision that they make no decision at all. And what does that do? It keeps you stuck.
Sometimes you have to go down a path in order to find out it’s the wrong one. (That’s usually what I do.) Staying right where you are keeps you from growing and succeeding. And I want both of those things for you.
I’ve had so many people tell me lately that they don’t know what their niche is, or their content pillars or they have no idea what to put on their Instagram bio. The truth is you get to decide what those things are right now and then move forward with it. I’ve changed all of those things more than once and that’s fine!
Expect to change these things as you keep serving, narrowing your niche, and gaining more experience in your industry. So don’t waste all of this time sitting in indecision because you’re so afraid you’ll get it wrong. The last thing I want for you is to feel stuck in one place because hardly any decision is forever. You can decide something now and always change it later.
Small Biz Lesson #9: Stay close to God and your values.
I touched on this a little bit earlier in the post, but staying close to God and your values is such a game-changer for your biz–or at least it has been for me. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably heard of my 3 before 9 challenge. But if you haven’t it’s where you exercise, check in with God, and get ready for the day all before 9 a.m.
Reading some scriptures, praying, and meditating have helped me hear God’s voice when He’s speaking to me. He’s helped me know which direction to take in my business (and out of my business). He’s helped me balance all the different roles I have and has propelled my business forward in a way that I could have never done on my own.
9 Lessons I’ve Learned Since Starting my Biz
My business makes me so happy. I cannot believe the people I get to work with on a daily basis. And I am in it for the long haul! Come join me and we can ride this small biz train together. Remember to not get caught up in all the things “experts” are telling you to do. In the end, you are the owner of your business and you know what’s best. Hold on to that forever and you will take your business exactly where you want it to go.
I hope you read something in this post that sparked your heart and you felt like that was meant for you. And if so, I’d love for you to come over to Instagram and share it with me. You can find me @iammichellegifford. You can send me a dm or share it in your stories if you want. Connecting with you and seeing how my thoughts helped you would be the best thing ever!