The past year was filled with different projects for clients, traveling and learning how to deal with new challenges. Every day I learn something new. Lessons on entrepreneurship have a big impact on my decisions to manage MPOWR as efficiently and effectively as possible. Let me share the top 6 lessons I’ve learned in 2018 that will shape my future in 2019.
1. Invest in knowledge or experiences that will broaden your horizon.
Expanding knowledge and skills will help you to grow your business. Ongoing education and improved skills are tools that you may need to extend your services. It will help you to have a deeper understanding of your company’s operations and growth. Being exposed to new experiences such as travelling can inspire new ideas as well. In 2018, I travelled to New York to participate in a boot camp about Digital Marketing at General Assembly. I also attended the 15th anniversary of Advertising Week as a volunteer and visitor. Investing in this trip was worth every penny and a valuable experience for my business development. Every time I expand my knowledge, I can advise my clients better on marketing strategies that matches their goals. I also share this new knowledge either though seminars, trainings or workshops.
2. Stick to the rules.
It’s no use to write policies if you are not making sure that your clients stick to the rules for example deposits, payments, late fees, business hours etc. Not following up on the rules and boundaries that you have created could result in financial loss and/or being overburdened. When I worked on a big project, I got very attached to this project and started to create an emotional connection with the client. I was lenient with the payment requirements and ended up not getting paid for half of the project.
Aside from the financial loss, I’ve invested a lot of hours and sacrificed sleep to make this project a success. Time is money, so this project was actually a double loss. I also used to be very flexible and I didn’t specify my business hours in the beginning. The end result was getting WhatsApp messages and phone calls 7 days a week at various times, ranging from 6’o clock on a Sunday morning to 12’ o clock on a Saturday night. You can imagine that this had to change ASAP, so I informed all my clients about my business hours and the communication channels they are allowed to use outside business hours.
3. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.
Everything becomes so much easier when you work together. If you are open to work together with entrepreneurs who have common goals, you can create collaborations that are mutually beneficial. One of my win-win collaborations is with Flavina Wanga of Crab Social. The past year we’ve shared and are still sharing our network and knowledge about entrepreneurship. We even refer clients to each other! I believe in sharing is caring, but of course I am careful with sharing valuable information that someone else can use to disrupt the growth of MPOWR.
4. Take more breaks.
I used to (and sometimes I still) feel very guilty if I don’t do anything. Just relaxing was something that actually would give me anxiety. I would constantly think about my to-do list. The only place where I could disconnect from work was at the beach. The sound of the ocean, the fresh breeze and the healing effect of seawater was my only remedy to recharge. After I while, I started to train my mind to let go of this guilt when I’m at home as well. Entrepreneurs are not machines, so we regularly need to give our mind and body a break, so we can get our creative juices flowing again.
5. Listen to the signs of your body.
We tend to go overboard with managing multiple tasks, but our body lets us know when we need a break to eat, rest and exercise. I’ve neglected this part a lot in 2018 and I often used to eat when I started feeling stomach pains. Prioritizing projects of clients over my own health, was a huge mistake that I made. I didn’t make enough time to exercise, to cook my own healthy meals (hence unnecessary costs for buying food) and I didn’t pay enough attention to the signs of my body. My body was giving multiple signs that something was wrong and still I procrastinated to schedule a doctor’s appointment, because I was too busy working. I only started to take the signs seriously when the doctor told me that I needed to be operated. Luckily it was a minor surgery, but it was a major wake-up call. Success has no value if your health doesn’t allow you to enjoy it.
6. Be kind(er) to yourself.
Give yourself more credit and have more compassion because you as an entrepreneur are already dealing with a lot of things that other people do not encounter. Maybe you’re running a business while being a parent and/or taking care of a loved one. Kudos to you for having multiple superpowers! Just like the meetings that you schedule, reserve time in your agenda to reflect on your small and big achievements. Be grateful and proud for everything that you’ve accomplished!
I hope that by sharing these learned lessons, you can prevent making the same mistakes or maybe you’re inspired to change certain patterns. Entrepreneurship is a rewarding journey that helps me to evolve into a version of myself that I didn’t know existed. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to share your lessons!