January has seen me achieve the milestone of 30 years in business.
This isn’t 30 years with a side-hustle. It’s been 30 years of business being my main gig. And I’m so damn proud of what I’ve achieved.
During this time my business has enabled me to buy multiple houses, put three children through private school, and travel the world with them. I’ve had so many amazing opportunities and experiences, and I know I wouldn’t have been able to have the life we’ve had if I’d been in a job.
Does that mean it’s been easy? Absolutely not!
I’ve had my fair share of times where I’ve been brought to my knees. Being a business owner has many downsides, and sometimes the pressure of being responsible for the welfare of our family and team can be extremely overwhelming.
But it can also be one of the most rewarding journeys you could ever undertake.
So in celebration of this anniversary, I’ve been reflecting on some of the lessons I’ve learnt over the past 30 years.
Lesson 1: Have a plan – but allow it to flow.
You need to know where you’re heading, but unexpected things will always crop up and your plan will need to be fluid and change often. Trying to force things will make your life miserable.
Lesson 2: You will have amazing times.
And lots of them. Always have gratitude for them, and be humble. You never know how long the good times will last – the goal posts are always moving.
Lesson 3: You will have bad times.
And lots of them. But they’ll come and go. Always take the learnings forward because they will be your most valuable lessons.
Lesson 4: Celebrate your wins.
As a business owner, our to-do lists never end and it can be easy to get caught up in always chasing the goal. Take the time to recognise even the smallest wins along the way to stay motivated and inspired.
Lesson 5: Business is hard work.
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Yes, you can feel in flow and feel aligned, but that doesn’t mean that business is easy. You will make big financial, time and emotional investments, but it will (mostly) be worth it.
Lesson 6: Things will always go wrong.
An upset customer, suppliers not delivering… there will always be things going wrong that are out of your control, but an acknowledgement and empathy to your clients will always go a long way. It’s how we respond that matters.
Lesson 7: Find coaches and mentors to speed up your success.
You’ll pay for success in either time or money. Paying for a good coach or mentor will speed up your success – you can always make more money, but you can never get your time back.
Lesson 8: Success comes through mastery.
But mastery doesn’t just come from learning and going deep in one subject. Business is complex, and you will learn so much from other industries and networks which you can then apply to your industry or niche.
Lesson 9: Learn to delegate.
As the CEO of your business, you’ll need to delegate. It may not come easily at first, but effective delegation can be learned. Remember, “If you can climb a mountain on your own, it’s not a very big mountain”.
Lesson 10: Trust your gut.
If you have a feeling, learn to trust it. There’s nothing worse than the regret of “I knew I shouldn’t have done that…..”
Lesson 11: Don’t give time to your haters.
If you allow them to live rent-free in your head, they’ll make your life a misery and obliterate your dreams.
Lesson 12: Choose your business besties wisely.
Surround yourself with people who will champion you, hold space for you, and support you when self-doubt kicks in.
Lesson 13: Don’t let your business rule your life.
Whilst business will take up way more of your time than you dreamed possible, schedule the things that are important to you and stick to your schedule. Not taking time out for lunch, going to the gym or chatting to your kids after school is not worth it as you’ll never get that time back.
Lesson 14: Systems create freedom.
Don’t want to be tied to your business? Systemise everything to save time and create repeatable customer experiences.
Lesson 15: There is no one-size fits all business model.
Create your business to suit the lifestyle and financial outcomes that are important to you, and in alignment with your unique Human Design. Don’t waste your life trying to live someone else’s dream.
Lesson 16: Collaborations are the fastest way to grow.
Trying to do business alone can be a slow journey for growth. When you collaborate with others you can easily 10X your results at a minimum. If you want to go far, go together.
Lesson 17: Your values are your North Star.
Know your values and never settle. If you don’t follow your values you’ll resent your business, and that’s no good for anyone!
Lesson 18: Know your definition of success.
Success is different for everyone, so use your personal markers of success to create your growth plan. If success to you is financial, set monetary goals. If success for you is based on time, set goals based around how you want to spend your time.
Lesson 19: Your success will be directly aligned with WHO you know.
Invest time in networking every single week, and nurture those relationships. If you get the opportunity to pay for proximity, take it seriously. It could be a game-changer.
Lesson 20: Don’t compare your journey with someone else’s highlight reel.
Comparing yourself to others will derail you faster than you can blink. Stay in your lane, ignore shiny objects and focus on your own journey.
Lesson 21: Be consistent.
Success doesn’t come from doing something once, not getting the results you were hoping for, and then completely changing direction. It comes from responding to what works and then repeating it over, and over, and over again.
Lesson 22: Be the Chief Dreamer of your business.
Take time out to dream often, and ask yourself, “what if?” You’re the inspiration for yourself, your team and your clients. If you’re not chasing your dreams, no one else will be motivated to do it for you.
Lesson 23: Treat business like an experiment.
Don’t be fearful of trying new things. Instead think of “engaging in an experiment” and just see what happens. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, take the learnings and try again with an adjustment.
Lesson 24: Things will take longer than you anticipate.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a task, a project or a full-blown growth plan. There’s no such thing as an overnight success, and the timeframe to completion will always blow out. Play the long game (and refer back to item 22).
Lesson 25: Be visible.
Visibility helps create credibility, referrals, trust and sales. You can’t make sales if nobody knows who you are.
Lesson 26: Sales are the life-blood of your business.
If you think you hate sales, just think of the mojo you feel when you make a sale. Feels great right?
Lesson 27: There is more than one way to do ANYthing.
The longer you’re in business, the more you’ll come to truly understand this concept. This is the key to innovation. There is always another way.
Lesson 28: Having a team is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever encounter – but the good ones will be your biggest assets.
Get clear about your values, and the importance of why you do what you do. Culture within your team and alignment to your grand vision are necessary for a winning team.
Lesson 29: Practice gratitude.
Having a regular gratitude practice will help you feel positive, optimistic and make it easier to deal with adversity.
Lesson 30: You’ll never have it all figured out.
Stop sweating that you don’t have all the answers. No one does and that’s the way it’s meant to be.
There are so many more learnings and thoughts I could have shared here. I’d love to know what you would have added…
Sam 🙂 xx
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