12 tips for every entrepreneur

As my last blog post of 2019 and my first post of 2020, I want to reflect on my wins, losses, & lessons I am taking with me into 2020. I do this reflection every year, but this year it feels different… I feel different. Not in the wrong way.

More so, I feel liberated because I am informed and enlightened. To be such when the world tells you not to be is one of the signs that you may be cut out for entrepreneurship. If you haven’t experienced this change yet, you will if you stay consistent, persistent, and determined to make it happen because, with these tools, IT WILL HAPPEN.

While I learned significantly more than the things I am covering in this blog post, these are the top 12 things that have stood out to me. I chose to highlight 12 things because after completing my reflection, I realized that I learned a new significant lesson each month. With these lessons comes moments of pure vulnerability and sometimes emotional turmoil. Somedays, I could not control how I felt, while others I powered through and finished my work. I learned enough to know that these are not experiences I can keep to myself because they may be life-changing for the next person.

For the entire month of January, I stressed about how to write this post and how to remain raw and authentic. As a result, I kept pushing it back, unsure if the lessons I am sharing were valuable enough to bring to your attention. Ultimately, today I decided that they were, so let’s begin, shall we.

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In no specific order, here are 12 things I reflected on in 2019:

Burnout

The burnout that I experienced at the close of 2019 is unreal, and at times, it felt indescribable. My mental health took a deep dive in the last three months of 2019, specifically. Somedays, I could not pull myself out of bed, respond to emails, or make content. While others, I felt inspired and motivated enough to do everything I put off for two weeks in two days.

I grew tired of writing, creating content, and being who I promoted myself as within my brand. These things were all compounded with the fact that I barely went out, I had no friends, and I stayed cooped in my office by myself for 12 hours a day or more when I did work.   

The worst part of this is that while having burnout, being fatigued, and experiencing severe depression, I felt like I was letting myself down. I was not giving myself the capacity to be human with emotions and feelings. I was not giving myself the love that I usually offered to the people that I love, and as a result, I became burned out in 9 months of working nonstop, moving to a new house, getting an office, and growing my business.

It felt like everything I worked for was slipping out of my grasp, and I had no control over this. It felt like there was nothing I could do about it but stay in bed and try to rest. Every night I was restless, I tossed and turned all night and woke up more tired than I was when I went to bed. I suffered financially, emotionally, and psychologically on several lessons.

Admittedly, it took a while for me to be honest and admit that I had an internal issue I needed to address. I addressed this by making self-care a priority and changing the way I started my day. By changing my daily routine, I gave myself something to look forward to each day.

So, instead of lying in bed thinking about my depression, anxiety, or restlessness – I started getting up, eating a bowl of fruit, drinking a cup of tea, running a candlelit bubble bath, and relaxing in the tub for an hour. After doing this every day for three weeks, I felt reborn. This may not be a solution that works for your burnout, but just doing something small for myself every morning, began making the days bearable and eventually enjoyable again. Which was something I hadn’t experienced in months, two months to be exact? 

I do not have the solutions to everyone’s burnout. But what I can say is that if you challenge yourself to look within, you will find the answers you seek. Sometimes, these answers are ideal, and other times they feel unattainable. Regardless of the answer, be open-minded because if you had the solutions readily available, you’d be applying them, right?

How to say “NO.”

To clarify, we all know how to say no, we aren’t aware of the importance of knowing when to say No. 

In 2019, saying No became especially hard because I got a bigger house, which meant more significant bills. In hindsight, I could have said no just as much as before I moved because I moved into this home with the premise that I could afford it by keeping my routine the same. Yet, I convinced myself that I was struggling financially when I wasn’t.

Although I made significantly more money every month by saying “yes” to every order and request I received, I was killing my personal life and interest. I was finding that because I kept saying yes, I had no time to take care of myself and my other responsibilities. This affected me negatively in several ways. Some of which I have fixed, others I am trying to fix, and some ideas that are not fixable at all.

I burned some bridges and ruined some relationships in the process of trying to satisfy everyone. When in the end, I ultimately left unsatisfied and wondering what went wrong.

To combat this, I genuinely suggest having a detailed planner and whiteboard calendar in front of you every day. On the planner, you document everything for the month, and on the whiteboard, you plan out your entire month. If you have these things in front of you every time someone submits a request, you will be less likely to overload yourself willingly.

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Accepting that there will be ups and downs 

Every month will not be a good month.

Every day won’t be a good day.

Every year won’t be a good year.

Accepting this before and during the beginning (first four years) of entrepreneurship, will make your life so much easier. Everyone may not discuss it, but there will be fluctuations in income, website traffic, and sales. Every day will not be $500 days, and sometimes you may have $0 days more often than not. And all of that is okay, it's typical, and it is a part of the process.

Don’t tear yourself down because it's not going as you planned. Don’t give up at the sight of challenges because if you aren’t learning through trial and error, are you learning anything at all?

Expanding my team

Finding reliable team members is HARD. I encountered a lot of liars or people just trying to cash a check at my expense. I have had a lot of people messing me over, and this only cost me extra money and time by fixing what they did or did not do.

At this point, it is honestly hard for me to trust anyone. I try to work with people, but it just doesn’t work for me. As a result, I stopped stressing about it, and instead, I changed my services and policies. I have to look out for number 1 at all times, and while some people may not understand, I have to do what’s best for my mental health.

No one will have your back or your business better than you, and until you know you can trust people 100%, DO NOT TRUST THEM 100%!

 Website development

After designing several websites, I have learned that the process is pretty straightforward. While every site is different, they all must focus on four things:

  • Speed
  • SEO
  • The user experiences
  • Driving traffic

If you fail in any of these areas, the site will fail, and it will feel pointless. It does not matter how pretty a website is if it doesn’t function, can’t be found, moves slow, and no one knows it exists. The simpler, the better in terms of website design and functionality. It is much better to have a clean and straightforward website that is fast and has excellent SEO than to spend months on a barely functioning and slow-moving website.

If you want me to make a post specifically about website development, comment down below and tell me, please! I am more than happy to because, at the end, of the day, I want to create content you all love.

Side note: Take our 1 minute resume quiz and get a $10 discount instantly!

Social Media Management

I had to work extra hard to find the balance between social media, business, and my personal life. The truth is, even after you’re established on social media, this is still something you will have to use regularly to maintain your brand image. Moreover, if done correctly, this can be your primary source of traffic to your website. 

To date, I have roughly 80% of my website traffic coming from twitter. The rest comes from SEO (search engine optimization), email marketing, and word of mouth referrals. Learning to create content boosted my brand credibility and recognizability. Also, creating content has helped me master the art of indirect marketing, drawing people in by the thousands every month as I am now averaging 40,000 monthly profile visitors on Twitter.

 Budgeting

Going into my second year of entrepreneurship, I’ve learned that December and January are slow business months for almost everyone. As a result, it is an absolute must to save a minimum of three months’ worth of expenses from holding you over from December to February until the business is 100% booming again. The extra month of savings gives you a net and a “just in case” cushion. So even if you don’t need it, it’s there if you do.

Some may promote the concept of saving everything you make, but this isn’t realistic. But what I do suggest is having a separate account for yourself and your business and paying yourself a monthly salary. The rest should remain in savings, and you also should have a different personal savings from your business savings.

As an entrepreneur, you never really know what is going to happen. If I hadn’t had $3,000 in savings, I would be in serious trouble right now. So,  save yourself the headache and stress this year and PLAN WITH YOUR BUDGET FOR THE SLOW MONTHS!

 Balancing a personal life 

One of the hardest things to do is to balance having a personal experience for me. When business is slow, this is not an issue. But when I am booked and busy, I do not have time for my personal life. I’ve learned that it is a disservice to myself, my relationship, and my family to not make room for them in my schedule.

At first, I thought this was okay because I felt that I was the only person being hurt. However, over time I learned that my loved ones were even more hurt than I was. While I still struggle with this, I am actively trying to make time for the people I love without excuses. Unfortunately, sometimes I have to turn down orders and lose out on money. But truthfully, what is money when you have no one you trust to share it with?

 The importance of sleep

When they say you NEED 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night, they mean that. I am not sure why I thought I was exempt from this. However, after I was sick for an entire month with a throat and ear sinus infection that forced me to go to the ER, I quickly changed my habits.

During this period, I was sleeping less than 4 hours every night and working myself relentlessly. As the quality of my work declined, so did my will to keep going. Since I refused to turn down orders, my body forced me to. Somehow, I still made more money than ever while I was sick, but I let everyone know how sick I was because I could not send out orders until the following month.

This all could’ve been avoided had I prioritized my business and slept every day and not just when my time permitted me to.

Side note: Take our 1 minute resume quiz and get a $10 discount instantly!

 Becoming a public speaker 

I had a great experience having my first two public speaking events in 2019. Unfortunately, only one went as planned. One of the incidents resulted in me being scammed out of over $200 and losing 15 clients from the host's negligence. I will not name the host or event because I still had fun and met a lot of great people, but at the end of the day, they taught me the importance of getting every single dime upfront and confronting people who owe me money.

In the end, my reputation did not suffer, but theirs did. While my platform grew, and I gained new opportunities and publication opportunities, I can’t deny the lessons I learned from this event. Surely, after my first time being scammed, I will not ever be scammed again. If you are interested in having me speak at an event in 2020, whether in Texas or out of state, please feel free to contact me via email or Twitter to receive the fastest response.

If you are interested in becoming a public speaker, please take heed to this advice:

  • Require all of your money upfront
  • Make the hosts sign a contract
  • Request room and board, two round trip tickets, a rental car or driving service
  • Food cost coverage
  • Always asks for plane tickets and rooms for your team or at least a plus 1. You should never travel alone, especially across the country, where you do not know anyone.

These terms may seem demanding, but if they want you, they will meet your stipulations. It’s not safe to travel alone, and you shouldn’t be spending the money you made to cover the expenses of your trip. You also should not be spending your personal money to go to an event. 

 Diversifying my portfolio

When I started my company, I only wrote resumes, essays, and offered consultations for twitter growth. However, I quickly began to see two things:

  1. My prices were way to low. Like dirt cheap!
  2. If I wanted the business to grow, I needed to learn new skills.

These observations led to me offering graphic design for logos, flyers, business cards, and websites. Secondly, I began providing mentorship for the entrepreneur who just needed extra help and guidance outside of my free content. Thirdly, I started thinking long term and began offering a referral program. So, if you refer someone to me, I will give you a 20% coupon. Refer five people, and you’ll get a free service worth up to $60!

Side note: Take our 1 minute resume quiz and get a $10 discount instantly!

 What it means to be fulfilled

I am not fulfilled by money. I am fulfilled by helping as many people as possible and motivating as many people as possible. I am filled by creating content that makes an impact and doing what I genuinely love without worrying about money.

I love writing and speaking to people. So, everything I do revolves around these two things, and if it doesn’t, I take a moment to reflect on what I am doing. I have learned to live life like every day is my last day because it very well can be. And in the end, this has empowered me to push forward and only do things I love and want to do with passion and 150% in my applied effort.

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