So many people like to get down on 2018. They say it was a dumpster fire, nothing good happened, and it was a waste of a year. And I’m here to tell you that they are absolutely right! Okay, okay, perhaps there were some good things that happened in 2018.
Upon further reflection, there are a few things I learned that I think would help other businesses, especially small businesses in their single-digit years of life, make the most of 2019 and beyond.
Lesson 1 | Ask for Help
This is the area I typically have the hardest time with. I hate asking for help. I am the person who basically breaks my arms off carrying groceries into the house instead of making two trips up one. whole. flight. of. stairs. Guys, that’s just too much to ask to walk up and down the stairs twice.
Anyway, asking for help was a big deal for me. But it was such a great thing. I hired a business coach and strategist and have loved working with her. Eryn just gets it. She’s able to meet you where you are, push you a bit further, and cheer you on while you do the work that’s been custom co-created for you.
I was truly hesitant to agree to working with her (and reach into my pocket for the payments), but asking for help truly allowed me to grow.
So for you, I would 100% ask for help. Many of the women I worked with this year said that they can write for themselves, but they’re a) not good at it, b) don’t want to do it, and c) don’t have the time, so it gets pushed behind client projects, kids, and just generally to the back burner. Asking for help where you need it allows you to do so much more. Two heads are better than one, after all.
Lesson 2 | Don’t Compare
It is way too easy to compare yourself to the highlight reel you see on someone’s Instagram feed. The perfectly light photos that are posed just so… yeah, I mean, we all do it and we all have a pile of papers, pens, old coffee mugs, and coupons pushed out of the frame. That said, it’s still so hard not to compare. And it makes you feel so shitty! Amirite?
I tried this year to share what’s real, not to make my pictures too perfect (it’s such a double-edged sword of “needing” to get a pretty shot while also sharing a true story) and not to get wrapped up in comparing.
When you compare, you shut down your own dreams. You say, “Why bother, I’ll never get to X,” or “I’ll never have the success she’s having, so I’m just going to dive into this bucket of popcorn and pretend like I don’t have work to do while pretending I live in Stars Hollow for the millionth time.” I never do that, btw. Nope, never…..
If you notice yourself comparing, walk away. Literally. Put your phone down, go for a walk, find three things you can do for yourself that are easy wins, meditate, whatever it is, just get yourself out of that situation and focus on what you can do today. As Alexandra Franzen says, “Today is not over yet.” There’s time to make it your version of satisfying.
Lesson 3 | Develop Your Voice
In writing, your voice is part of your brand. It’s how you show up and talk to people. No shit, ya don’t say? (Sometimes the voice in my head likes to write.)
Everyone and every brand has a unique voice. It’s part of your company and as big of a part of your branding as your colors and logo. When someone reads your words, they should say, “Yep, that’s X” right away. Or at least know that it’s something your brand would say. Even if you’re selling something, it should be in your natural voice.
Don’t get it twisted, your voice can be different from your brand. So many of us, though, are our brand, so the voices are the same. It’s worth it to take some time and figure out what you want to sound like, the words you always use in your marketing, and infuse them into your marketing messages.
Lesson 4 | Just Start
This was a hard-hitting lesson in 2018. There were days when it was hard to go above and beyond the bare minimum or even to get started (see: popcorn, above). Hiring a coach and working with a therapist helped greatly.
Mental fortitude is a huge part of owning your own business. When I have something I need to make progress on, there are a few things I’ll do to get started. Get myself to a place where that’s the only thing I can work on (like a coffee shop). Bribe myself with a really good reward when I finish the task. Set a timer and make as much progress as I can in a short amount of time.
Either way, just start. I try to do something every day that Future Angelica will thank me for. What will future you thank you for doing today?
Lesson 5 | Show Up, Own Up
This one is possibly one of my mottos going into 2019. Show up, own up. Show up and do the work, own up when something doesn’t go right. I operate with a total honesty policy. If something goes wrong and I make a mistake, I admit that. Looking at the situation and figuring out what could have been done to prevent it and addressing it so it doesn’t happen moving forward is a huge lesson anyone, not just entrepreneurs, must take to heart.
One of my Core Desired Feelings is True. To be True means showing what’s real in my heart and communicating in an open, honest way. And I expect the same in return. Again, I think it’s a great tenet for anyone to have, not just in business, but in life overall.
Showing up and doing the work looks like honoring your commitments, communicating where you are in the process, and just starting. You’ll earn a reputation for the right things.