Have you ever took a deep sigh after a mistake or mishap happens and said to yourself, “If only I knew,” or “I wish someone could have told me to avoid this.”
Don’t you wish you could stop a mistake from happening before it does? That you knew what to avoid BEFORE getting yourself into something?
I’m sure you all answered YES!!
While it’s not possible to predict the future, you CAN learn from others’ mistakes. That’s why I’m sharing my top lessons learned from my first year in business – so you can avoid some of the mistakes I made.
Starting an online business isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. I have scaled my business to almost a million dollars (in less than 2 years) and let me tell you…it was no walk in the park. I did a lot of things well buuuut I also made some mistakes that I want to share so you know exactly what to avoid and what to focus on!
Lesson #1: Get ahead on taxes and “legal stuff”.
Although this definitely isn’t the most exciting aspect of starting an online business, it’s super important. I wish I’d had someone there to guide me through it all. Especially if you’re a digital nomad, it can be hard to keep up with taxes while traveling and knowing how to handle the gray areas of the digital nomad lifestyle.
Taxes are so much more than just tracking your expenses and income every month. It’s the things no one tells you about, like organizing your invoices, getting your 1099 forms, and saving your receipts, and setting up a legal structure.
Since my business took off so quickly, I found myself with a lack of legal support and tax advice and quite a rush to get my ducks in a row. We had to consult with international tax lawyers and ended up losing money because I didn’t have certain legal aspects organized and in place earlier on.
My advice? If you’re an entrepreneur, do NOT let this type of stuff slide to the backburner, because I promise, it will catch up to you.
Another Tip: Make sure you always know how much cash you have available.
When I say cash, I mean how much money you could use tomorrow if you had to. This is something that I did really well in 2020. I kept an eye on my cash and always had enough available, plus some extra. This isn’t just because I was making money, it was being smart with budgeting and investments or for example using credit cards sometimes even if I had the cash to pay in full.
It’s important to keep investing in your business and just simply make sure you are aware and on top of all your finances.
Lesson #2: Managing your time and energy is the most important skill you can master.
As a new entrepreneur you are a solo one woman show trying to do it all. And as your business starts picking up, you’ll be managing strategy, marketing, funnels, and all that good stuff. Once you’re managing a team and different projects, it can quickly become overwhelming.
You need to prioritize where you spend your time and energy at every level!
I always assumed that time management was one of my strengths, but as my business began to grow, it became more and more difficult to balance everything. Just because you master something at one level does not mean you’ve mastered it for eternity!
Your business will evolve as you do, and you may have to shift your priorities. That’s why time and energy management should be something you keep in mind from the very beginning of starting an online business all the way to 6 and 7 figures.
Lesson #3: Investing in yourself is a MUST when starting an online business.
This is definitely something I did really well this year. I dove headfirst into investing, and because I was all in and got support from every angle, I was able to grow my business very quickly.
I invested not only in coaches and programs, but also new team members and different ways to support myself. Even outside of my business, I looked for different ways to get the support I needed: whether that was booking a different type of Airbnb to support mental health, or paying for my laundry to get done every week – it all matters and contributes to your time, energy and momentum.
If you are someone who has been against investing, listen up because you need to hear this.
You will NOT be able to grow a business without investing. Period. It’s not IF, it’s just WHEN.
It is essential to continuously be investing in yourself, your business, and your team, so you can go out there and be the best biz owner you can be!
Even in the early stages of starting an online business, think about what investments you could make to save you time and money in the future. Your journey will be so much smoother when you make the right investments and look out for the future of your business.
Lesson #4: You need a support system by your side.
Unfortunately, this is one area I was lacking this year.
I joined a mastermind group that ended up not being a good fit. I didn’t have my own community, I didn’t have super strong friends, and I didn’t have a coach. Which caused me a lot of headaches and decision fatigue along the way.
It took me a while to realize how essential it is to have support systems. That’s why community is such a key part of the Laptop Lifestyle Bootcamp. I know how much smoother things would have gone in my business if I had a good support system from the beginning.
Let’s just say…a lot of mistakes could have been avoided.
Having support also means you have someone to talk things through with and bounce ideas off of. Making decisions alone can be overwhelming, and all my biz owners out there know how many decisions you have to make as an entrepreneur! So do yourself a favor and be intentional about becoming a part of a community ASAP!
Lesson #5: Money is important, but it isn’t everything.
As much as you may think it does, money doesn’t change everything. Don’t get me wrong, making money is obviously amazing, and I’ve dedicated entire posts to how to make more of it (Check out The Ultimate Guide to Making Consistent $5k Months).
But you also have to keep in mind your health and the health of your business. Both of those things are ultimately more important than the amount of money you’re bringing in each month.
Money is just a byproduct of alllll the other things you’re doing: marketing, working with clients, building your biz.
Money on its own doesn’t mean anything; you assign the value of your money.
What does money mean to you? Are you working to earn as much as humanly possible? Or are you working to support your dream freedom lifestyle?
We dream of these big income months, and then when they happen…We chase another income goal and repeat the process.
It’s easy to get caught up in things when you’re first starting an online business–the possibilities are endless, and you have infinite earning potential! But make sure you’re staying grounded, too.
As my business has grown to almost a million dollars, my lifestyle has stayed mostly the exact same. Money provides opportunity and choice, and that is more powerful than the money itself.
Lesson #6: Energy is everything when it comes to starting an online business.
Your audience can feel your energy, I promise you.
The #1 reason clients hire me is because of my energy during launches, sales, and meetings. Energy draws people to you and it’s everrrything when it comes to turning potential clients into real clients.
But there’s a flip side to this: Last year I gave so much energy away, I had nothing left. I burned myself out!
This happens to a lot of entrepreneurs. We love what we do so much, and we love to hustle. I feel like I need to constantly go, go, go.
While it’s good to have drive and ambition, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Aim for balance, not burnout.
Lesson #7: Learn how to make hard decisions.
And learn how to make them fast, with confidence.
When you’re starting an online business, you need to make decisions in order to move forward. If you’re indecisive or spend forever agonizing over every little thing, your business is going to stall.
I don’t think I fully realized how many hard decisions you have to make as a business owner until this year. I’ve learned the best way to handle it is to decide, commit, and then move forward. The last part is the hardest, but most important.
Make a plan, then lean fully into it.
When you don’t make decisions quickly and confidently, you’ll end up questioning yourself. The decisions will pile up and you’ll be even more paralyzed.
If you’re having trouble making decisions, reach out and get support from a coach or another business owner. Quick and self-trust based decision making is a muscle – the more you practice it, the more natural it will become.
Lesson #8: Entrepreneurship is more about personal development than business.
Starting an online business isn’t just a career decision–it’s a personal one.
Becoming an entrepreneur will challenge you to grow as both a person and a business owner. Things will come up in your personal life as you build your business, but you have to dig deep and push forward.
If you want to be successful in business, you have to take your own personal development seriously. The most important thing is mastering your mindset.
I truly believe you can not make it in this industry without a ROCK SOLID mindset. I talked about this in my post on how perception affects our lives, but I will say it over and over again, because it’s the truth!
Mindset is everything in business.
Everyday will challenge you in new ways, and everyday you have to choose a growth mindset. You have to BELIEVE you are capable of more.
If you’re struggling with this, make sure you’re only managing what you can handle. Take a step back and evaluate how much you’ve taken on. Decide whether it’s really too much, or if you just need to adjust your mindset. And make working on your mindset a daily focus.
Lesson #9: Slow down and don’t try too many things at once.
Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be.
If you know me, you know I like working on a lot of different things at once. Because of this, I rushed into things and tried to make everything in my business happen all at once.
Sometimes you have to slow down if you want to speed up.
I talked about the importance of focusing on one thing at a time in this post. For a lot of ambitious entrepreneurs, this is one of the hardest things you’ll have to do. But it’s all a part of scaling your business!
You have to make sure that the front end and the back end of your business are balanced. For example, if you start building out new systems and a new website on the backend but slack on marketing on the front end, we won’t be bringing in new leads and sales. If you focus only on the front end, at a certain point your backend systems won’t be able to support your growth. There are foundations to every level of business, not just the beginning so always be mindful of keeping it balanced.
Lesson #10: Discipline gets things done.
There are no amount of coaches you can hire to get to where you want to be if you’re not taking action yourself.
Part of the reason why starting an online business is so appealing is the freedom it creates. You don’t have to report to an office or a boss, and no one is going to care if you blow off work to go to the beach.
But if you only work 1-2 hours per day and are always at the ebach that everyday, it’s not going to work out well for your business and bank account. Sure some people claim to work only 2-3 hours a day, but I promise you this is not their first year of business if that is true AND moreso, you need to look at what YOUR goals are. If you want to build a million dollar empire, it’s most likely going to take a bit more than 1-2 hours of work per day to get that business off the ground in the beginning.
Now with that being said, I am not saying you have to work 24/7 but you do have to be disciplined to get things done. I’ve watched so many clients flourish this year and one of the key factors was having discipline and control in their business!
If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, it’s up to you to establish self-discipline and get things done. You can see the routine I use to get sh*t done here.
Lesson #11: You’ll be okay.
If I’m being honest, there have been times on my entrepreneurship journey that I bawled my eyes out. Everyone goes through hard times in their business, so just know you are not alone.
If you think you want to quit or that you can’t handle it, remind yourself that you’ll be okay. I’ve been there, and I can promise you it will all work out if you just keep moving forward. Remember every mistake is a learning opportunity.
You have to have persistence, determination, and trust that the process will unfold how it’s meant to. If you believe it can happen, it will.
If there’s one thing you take away from this post, it’s that you have to believe in your success before anyone else does. And don’t play small! Dream big, but be PATIENT.
Everything takes time. Everyone has their own journey. Everyone has their own path.
Nobody is perfect and we’re all just figuring it out as we go!
Starting an online business is hard work, but it’s worth it!
I hope all these lessons from my first full year in business help you grow and scale your business and most importantly avoid any mistakes you might have ended up making.
Comment below and tell me which lesson you liked reading most!
If you want more advice about starting an online business, check out Laptop Lifestyle Bootcamp, my #1 group program for first year entrepreneurs! Join a community of like-minded female entrepreneurs and supportive coaches to cheer you on your journey.
Like this post? Pin it!