Small business ownership isn’t for everyone. It takes a very specific type of person. A person who gets enough fulfillment out of their work to keep coming back for the endless challenges, sleepless nights and ever consuming imposter syndrome.
And that’s just the start of it.
But I’m not here today to dribble on about how hard being a business owner is. Or to give you advice on what you need to do to succeed. There’s a million articles out there that talk about these topics already.
I want to talk to you about the top 3 most valuable lessons I’ve learned over the last decade in business so that you can learn from my mistakes rather than struggle through them yourself.
Lesson 1: It is actually about who you know
And no, I’m not referring to getting into the illuminati here. Every single major door that opened in my business was because of knowing somebody. Now if you’re a bit of an introvert like me and just the thought of networking makes you sweat, I’m going to take the pressure off a bit.
When I attend events, I do it with no other intention than to meet people. There’s no selling and no business card swapping. It’s filling my tiny social cup with a few drops of genuine friendly interaction and that’s it. Once my cup is full, I smoke bomb it out of there.
The most important part is connecting with them the next day on LinkedIn with a genuine personal note.
Lesson 2: Give, Give and Give some more
My middle-class upbringing hammered into me the importance of sharing. Now, at the time, I doubt my typical quintessential Aussie Mum was thinking about how constantly nagging me to ‘share with my sister, because one day I will want something of hers’ would instil in me this sharing economy ethic 30 years later, but here we are.
I’m going to say the golden words “Mum, you were right”.
I said it.
Just went down a rabbit hole….. ah yes, giving.
Hear me when I say this. GIVE at every opportunity you can. This is super easy and costs you nothing, but a little time. Here’s some examples of what I do:
- Engage – like, share, comment, tag, listen, watch. If you appreciate content someone has posted, make sure you engage with it and let them know. Even if you don’t agree, leave a ‘respectful’ comment. It lets them know you care and encourages them to do more.
- Connect – use your network to connect people who need each other. Be the matchmaker.
- Contribute – answer questions on forums, give advice (where warranted).
Every time you ‘give’ in some form, people remember and eventually one day, they may have something that you want and will be more likely to give to you.
But please, whatever you do, just give without the expectation of receiving anything in return.
Lesson 3: Be selective with who you take advice from
There are so many self-proclaimed experts these days. Only listen to those achieving what you want to achieve. They’ve been there, done that and are likely to share their experiences (see lesson 2).
Also, get a great business coach as soon as you possibly can. Expect to spend the $$, but the best ones will easily help you to grow your business and make those costs nothing compared to the gains. The best coach for you is one who will challenge you to look at things from another perspective and hold you accountable.
There are so many more lessons in business, but these 3 will definitely lead you in the right direction.
Oh and as always, I’m very much a part of the sharing economy so hit me up with your questions if you want to learn more.