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December 28, 2021

135 | 5 Lessons From 5 Years of Entrepreneurship

5 lessons from 5 years of entrepreneurship with Annie Miller

Entrepreneurship lends itself to lessons, and here are the 5 I’ve learned in my 5 years of entrepreurership:

Only entrepreneurs get it

I had one business friend up until two years ago. In my first four years or so, I didn’t fit in. I looked around the space of online coaches and frankly didn’t want to be in any of the groups I saw.

They were full of terms like boss babe, or empires. I didn’t want to build an empire. I didn’t feel like a CEO, and the word boss babe didn’t describe me

Slowly but surely I found “my people” – people who did business in a similar way to me; how I wanted to run my business and function as an entrepreneur. We shared philosophies.

I have no quick fix for this, as it happened very organically for me; and not quickly at all.

I could have been more proactive. Perhaps joining a mastermind or more free Facebook groups was the right route, and I just didn’t take it. I can’t say.

All I know, is that entrepreneurship can be lonely AF. Especially in the online world. So just be warned and act accordingly. I think knowing yourself is very important here.

Some of my biz clients go to coworking spaces because they just need to be around humans. Others do just fine all day by themselves. Obviously they all have me as a coach and each other as colleagues, so that helps as well.

It’s just such a lovely thing to know that other people get it. That someone else understands the feeling of sending a wrong link, failing a launch, feeling like you’re in a constant state of trial and error, like working 10 hour or more days is going to be your norm forever. The feeling of your business being like your baby – and the vulnerability of it all.

Only other entrepreneurs get that. 

Track your numbers

I know this probably sounds like a broken record, not only from me from every business coach ever. And that’s for a good reason.

When you track your numbers, you have objective data that allows you to make more educated decisions. It helps you to have context behind why you are attempting to move the needle. And what needle you are moving.

When I say track your numbers, I am referring quite literally to whatever numbers you have at this stage of business. And just because you are tracking a certain number doesn’t mean that you have to try and improve upon every single one.

I encourage you to look at all of your numbers, your Instagram followers, your engagement on Instagram, your email list subscribers, your website or application page views if you have that. Your revenue per customer. Your client retention. Whatever metrics you have in your business at this state, track them at least on a monthly basis. And then you can decide which ones you would like to try and improve.

The earlier you can start doing this, the easier it will be to expedite growth in a meeting for manner, and to continue tracking your metrics and numbers as you grow.

Attempting to start looking at numbers when you were three years in can be a rather overwhelming task. But no matter where you’re at in business, tracking your numbers can be fun. Yes, you heard me. Fun.

I find more often than not, the numbers are better than we think. And that’s the joy of numbers. It takes guessing out of the game. It’s completely objective. They just are what they are, and you can decide to put effort into changing them. They are not good or bad, we assign their value.

So there’s just some perspective around numbers whether you are or are not tracking in your business.

I also just want to add to that, I think entrepreneurs can tend towards measuring the success of their business solely by revenue, or the number of clients they have. And there’s so much more context to be given around a business and its success. Especially when we are talking about solo entrepreneurs.

No one has it all figured out

Entrepreneurship is one of the easiest places in life to compare yourself to other people. Which can actually be a tough part about being in community with other entrepreneurs. I say can be, because this is a youuuu thing. No one else.

For instance, I rarely share my financial wins with anyone outside of my husband. The only other people that I ever share with our other entrepreneurs because they get it. And it’s not taboo to share in those spaces. Which is something so beautiful about entrepreneurship, or it can be.

But when you see someone else having success, or taking a certain approach and then you start to question your approach or how successful you are, that does absolutely nothing for anyone.

With that, comes the truth that you are not inside anyone else’s business but your own. And nobody has it figured out. Absolutely, there is growth, and you will figure things out along the way. As we all do. But if you find yourself in the downward spiral of thinking that everyone else has it figured out, has more resources, has more discipline, has a better understanding of XYNZ, I challenge you to pivot your train of thought.

One, to remind yourself that not everyone has it figured out. And two, to remind yourself that no one else’s level of success, or timeline, has a literally any bearing on yours. Just because someone else is doing some thing or has reached some level of success that you want, doesn’t mean that now you can’t, or that you’re late.

Humans are broken and imperfect. If we know that about ourselves, we know that it applies to everyone else. And vice versa.

Entrepreneurship will humble you, and it is one of the most self refining ventures that you can go on. And I have personally had 5 to 6 conversations over the past year with other entrepreneur friends about this very topic. And all of us are at least 5 to 6 years in.

So take from that what you wish, and leave the rest. But number one and number three go hand-in-hand. Entrepreneurship is only understood by entrepreneurs, and nobody has it all figured out.

That is a lovely lead into number four.

Fail early and fail fast

(you have the most room to mess up, look stupid, get it wrong, and learn when you have the least to lose)

Entrepreneurship single-handedly made me face my fear of failure. And my fear of success if I’m being honest. I wish I would have done more, and done it bigger, earlier. Because like I said, in the beginning you have the least to lose. You have the least amount of people listening to you, you have the lowest number of clients, and you have the lowest amount of feedback.

It’s just difficult, because it’s also when you have the least amount of confidence, because you have the least amount of experience. So it makes sense that it’s the “scariest” time to put yourself out there.

I’m simply encouraging you as someone who has been where you are, to just do it. To shift your perspective to the fact that you have the most to gain and the least to lose right now. And that you will only gain more and more confidence as you continue to try things. You become more resilient not by staying comfortable. Right? We see that literally everywhere in life.

So I will pass on to you, one of my favorite practices from Tim Ferriss and the Four Hour Work Week. Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen. And then think about how you might come back from that. Number one, the worst thing that can happen is typically not that bad when you actually think about it. And to you’re probably capable of bouncing back.

As stated, entrepreneurship is extremely self refining. And the little conversation we just had is a perfect example of that fact.

Communication and content are king

I don’t have a business degree, but I would assume that there’s not enough talk about communication, human behavior and psychology, and a brand’s ability to use those through social media and sales in business degrees. I could be wrong as I have literally no experience.

It’s funny, I became much more open to sales when I stopped focusing on sales, and started focusing on my communication skills and understanding my ideal client. When I started focusing on humans, human behavior, and learning how to communicate that, I began to really enjoy sales.

It’s a skill like any other. And if you want to be successful in the online space business, communication and content or king. Specifically how you use those in tandem to build trust and eventually make sales.

So I want you to think about your messaging, your brand identity, your philosophy, and how well you communicate those things to your audience through content. To be more specific, it’s ideal if that content is entertaining. I heard Jim Crowell call it edutainment, and I thought that was absolutely perfect. I don’t know if he coined the phrase, but that is where I heard it for the first time. And that’s that marriage that I’m talking about with educating your audience through communication but using entertaining tactics to do that.

I’ve talked about this on other podcasts, but the video is the future. Really, video is the present. It’s probably worth your time, to sit down and think about how you can use video in the simplest way to better communicate to your audience. Ignoring the fact that video is being pushed on nearly every social platform, is not going to change the truth of it.

But simply making a video is not entertaining and itself. It also doesn’t mean that you suddenly know how to communicate better. That’s why I say focus on your messaging and your communication skills first. That means in your emails, on your sales pages, in your application, the voice that you use, the verbiage that you use, the proof that you understand who your audience is and what they want from you or what you can provide to them.

This kind of goes back to why I am not anti-hustle culture. I’m anti-hustle for your entire life. But everyone I know now who is attempting to get out of that hustle mindset in lifestyle, hustled to get where they are. Similar to myself. So the same is true with content.

All of the people you see that have large engaged audiences, probably posted every single day for 1 to 10 years to get where they are. And I guarantee that they were creating shareable content and at some point a larger account shared a piece of their content probably more than once and they got an influx of aligned followers from that experience.

I say that extremely confidently because it happened for me and every entrepreneur friend that I have in this field.

My point with that is that if you’re putting out a piece of content every day, that means that you’re creating 365 posts, and 365 captions or damn near that. And that’s a shit ton of practice in one year.

Your content and your communication is bound to improve if you are creating with intention during that time.

Contact is how you’re going to build an audience, communication is how you’re going to build an audience, as well as make sales. So if you didn’t have a focus for 2022 yet, maybe that’s it.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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