6 Important Lessons I Learned in my Business in 2020

I’m always excited for what’s next and anything related to the future. When my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. on weekdays, I eagerly hop out of bed to make some coffee and journal about who I want to be, where I want to go, and things I want to create. It brings me heaps of joy.

What I tend to ignore is sincere, deep reflection. It feels unnecessary and like a waste of time… until I do it.

My husband wrote me this really nice note for Christmas (I cried which I DEFINITELY don’t do very often) with silly memories and major challenges we faced in 2020. Some things I had already forgotten like my daughter’s early obsession with the ceiling fan. Some are imprinted in my brain forever like my mother in law’s lung cancer diagnosis and the uncertainty of everything following treatment.

I will treasure that note forever.

Reflecting is so powerful. We get to see these milestones and remember certain people or moments that brought us a lot of joy or forced us to change or required us to make a big decision. So here I am, reflecting on the year everyone wants to erase.

Lesson One

It’s ok to quit when everyone else tells you to “be persistent!” When something is completely and utterly soul-sucking, it’s not worth it. I quit books that were mediocre, I quit working with clients that were clingy, I quit a business that wasn’t working any longer. I don’t feel like a failure or ashamed about it. I’m happier and able to spend my time doing more things I enjoy.

Lesson Two

It’s also ok to keep going when things don’t make perfect sense. I’ve been building a course for almost an entire year that hasn’t made a lot of money or impact yet, but I know the tweaks we are making will position it as a strong product for 2021 for local business owners. It took launching it twice, getting feedback from students, and seeing the results to understand how this is solving problems. I can’t wait for version 3.0.

Lesson Three

Babies change everything. Having Penelope in February forced me to outsource, be wildly productive, and stop working earlier than I typically want to. No one can possibly prepare you for the transition of having a child and being a business owner. Everyone says babies will change your life, but you can’t possibly know a life-changing experience until you have it.

Lesson Four

I don’t have to be Seth Godin to declare myself a marketing expert. For some reason, I felt like I had to achieve something “really big” to call myself an expert. It was the fall of 2020 I realized I have helped hundreds of local business owners gain clarity, profitability, and joy by working with me and my team. Many have doubled their revenue. Others have sustainable growth. Some are able to work less. It all happened because of my brain and my team’s fingers on a keyboard or phone.

Lesson Five

Someone’s “income report” blog post or podcast episode or Instagram Story is never the full story. I appreciate transparency around this because as a beginner in the online business world, it helped me see what was possible. But I see people lead with this so often and it’s not the full story. If you’re new in business, don’t let these numbers fool you.

If I make $100,000 a month and my husband hates me, I see my kid for an hour a day, and I have health issues caused from stress, do you really want to buy into the product or lifestyle I’m selling? I’d rather hear how happy people are than how much dough they’re bringing in. Money is a great tool, but it doesn’t fix relationships that were neglected while you are out hustling day and night.

Lesson Six

I am in love with documenting life. I like sharing it too! Even if it doesn’t “fit” into content buckets recommended by pros to share on Medium or Instagram, if I’m experiencing something I like synthesizing it, photographing it, and putting it on the Internet. Maybe over time I will be more focused on what I write, but I never want to be so strategic about my writing and documenting that I forget that the internet is a beautiful place to meaningfully connect with people all over the world, not just build an email list full of business leads.

Ending 2020

It’s easy to want to throw two middle fingers up at 2020, but I really didn’t hate it. I met a lot of cool people, have a roster of clients I adore, and still make money to pay my bills and do some extra stuff with. My goal for 2021 is to continue bringing in rockstar clients, build momentum with our online courses, keep creating solid podcast + Medium content, make life and work easy, and put in 20–30 hours a week. It’s ambitious and can feel a little far-fetched, but tomorrow morning I’ll be back to the usual, writing in my journal mapping out the future.

Did you have any significant lessons in 2020? I’d love to hear them below!

Entrepreneur, CEO, local business enthusiast. I write about topics that impact local businesses, leaders, and communities.

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