Year two! Congratulations! Getting through that first year of business can be both a stressful and invigorating experience. I know I had ups and downs, happy dances and stresses. But I made it through…and continued onto year two! So, with more lessons learned and more experience behind me, let me share my tips for how to survive your second year of business.
Buckle in, friends! It’s going to be a wild (but awesome) ride.
Face the fear — and do it anyway
When you own and run a business, you’re bound to step out of your comfort zone. Often. If you don’t, chances are your biz won’t be totally thriving anytime, soon. My first tip? Face the fear and discomfort and step up! Using my personal experience as an example, I’m not a fan of pictures of myself or being on videos. But I knew wanted to bring more awareness to what I do and share my knowledge and expertise with all the wonderful creatives out there. And tonnns of them use social media, do online courses and listen to podcasts! So I put on my big girl pants and took a leap of faith. In my second year of business I faced my fears and launched a podcast and a course! Now I’m even doing social reels…yep!
Focus on building business friends and community
Community over competition, always! In my second year, I took more time to network, connect and support others in business outside of my own. I began offering a number of speaking gigs, for the College of Law and the Centre for Legal Innovation, amongst others. I also participated in non-law related events. There are plenty of ways you can explore, it’s just about finding the right community for you. Being surrounded by good people who get what you are going through who you can also cheer for and be there for, to share the wins and the pains, that’s what it’s about!
Ensure you have an actual content strategy
It’s one thing to be an expert at what you do, but if you don’t have a strategy in place to share your knowledge and allow people to get to know you and the amazing gifts you offer, how are you going to get out into the world!? Find those topics that light you up while also helping the incredible people you’re in business to help in the first place. Sharing tips and tricks, your personal struggles and wins and fun ways to allow your audience to get to know you can help support your sales and growth – the content has to be about more than the big sell.
Improve, fine tune and level up
Doing a (super fun…) audit on your business to see where your systems and processes may need an upgrade so you can deliver the most value possible to your clients (with the least headache for yourself). Continue to find what works and improve and fine tune what doesn’t. It’s a work in progress, but it’s so worthwhile! Speaking of worthwhile…keep working toward that next step! In my second year I hired a lawyer to support me and my clients. Your level up could look like a VA, a marketing assistant or something completely different. But be aware of what you need to take that next step and don’t be afraid to lean in. Be smart (don’t max out your budget or take unreasonable risk, perhaps), but be ready!
It’s easy to want to (however intentionally or unintentionally) give away the farm when you’re still on the newer side of your business. Discounts. Pro bono work. Freebies. While these things can help at times to get your name out there and give you more experience, remember that money isn’t a dirty word! Let’s be honest, we need it to live and it makes things a heck of a lot easier if you have some in the bank! It also gives you choices as you grow your business. So don’t sell yourself short!
Invest in yourself
While it may feel counterintuitive to invest in yourself (why am I spending money to take a course, I need that cash to splash in my biz!), it can actually be better for your biz in the long run. If there are ways you can improve as a leader, or in certain aspects of your business (like social media, for example), it’s ok to invest in you. Seek out courses that can improve your business overall and help you feel more confident as you move forward along your journey.
Look after yourself
Can’t stress this one more. Running a business is hard. But it becomes even harder if you don’t look out for yourself. Take time to stop, breathe and disengage from work and tech. Listen to how your body is feeling. Give yourself permission to be kind to yourself, even if it means you have to say no to someone else. It’s worth it in the long run and you and your biz will be better for it!
Happy year two!!