I knew this day would come, but I wasn’t quite sure what it would look like or feel like really.
It’s been exactly 1 year since I made the leap, went solo, jumped ship, and decided to focus 100% on my own business.
Okay – so big deal. I've been running my business for 3 years now. But only 1 of those years has been completely solo without the net and safety of a day job.
And it's been awesome…
But I have been thinking of that whole time…and seeing all the challenges I didn’t expect to face (and the ones I knew for sure I’d face).
But instead of sharing a long tale of every little thing I’ve learned journal style, I wanted to share something actionable, easy to understand truly useful advice based on what I’ve learned.
So, keep a watch out for these common challenges you might face in your first year running an online business:
1. Packing your schedule too tight
It felt like it happened overnight.
I literally had podcast interviews, guest posts due, tele-summit to prep for, clients to call. I mean you name it, I had it. And yes, while all those things are good problems to have, I was frantic half the time and complaining about these “problems” daily.
I remember getting to one point where I literally just started canceling them. It was too much for me.
Now, when I take on any appointment for the business, I make sure it’s the right amount of time spent for the value I’m also getting out of it.
2. Prioritizing the work you do
Writing social media messages for the next week or finishing the sales page so it can go live and hmmm make you money? Some decisions are cut and dry easy to make. If it helps you reach your business money goals, that’s probably going to be a yes. If it’s going to help you spread your message to a large group of people, that’s a yes too.
There was one particular time when I found myself doing a series of tasks that were not important to growing the business. I was like – wait just one second? Someone else can’t post this blog post or send this broadcast or schedule this tweet? For real, Anne? Someone else can’t proof and test this new product sequence? Why am I the only one worrying about this launch to do list?
And an even bigger shift I’ve made is spending time on the bigger vision and then only taking on the tasks that I know are getting me closer to that. I straddle the line between CEO and CFO…watching my progress toward money goals and the what are we all about goals.
3. Getting The Right Help
I’ve never had a problem hiring teams for other people’s companies…but for myself, well that’s another story. I’ve often said to others and myself, “Who’s going to be able to project manage me (since I’ve also got that project manager brain too)?”
But the real underlying question was, “Who am I going to LET manage me?”
Now I embrace letting people boss me around. I lovingly call them my boss to encourage them to do it more and so I kinda trick myself into it.
Hiring people to help run and improve your business is tough at first but you’ll soon discover how much more you can do for your business when you LET others jump in and join the party.
4. Saying No
Along with prioritizing, packing your schedule, and hiring – is the big challenge of learning that you must say no.
Saying no to people. (Ones you like, too. Which is hard.)
Saying no to work that someone else should really be doing. (NOT YOU.)
You have to say no to projects that really don’t align with your business and what the life you ultimately want to live.
And more than that, you have to say no even to things that were originally yes’s sometimes…
There have been numerous occasions over the past year where I literally could not say no and should have. I felt guilty, mean, and like a complete jerk…even if I said no to something because I simply didn’t have time.
I’ve spent the last year battling my “no” demon…and what’s helped tremendously is knowing what I want to say yes to. I constantly have to remind myself that saying no does not mean I’m being MEAN!
You might wonder why I’d be struggle with being lonely working on my own business. Because – from the outside I’d already been at it for 2 years before going solo. Right?
It’s not like I didn’t know what it was like to work on my own.
But the reality is that I was never alone and always worked alongside the members of a very active, amazing crew of people with LKR.
The biggest change was that I missed being on a team.
Losing that social connection — though it was primarily virtual, was a noticeable loss to my everyday energy.
During the first six months on my own, I changed my work location a few times, made a point of meeting up with people outside my house … all so I wouldn’t feel so alone.
Now that I work with even just a few people on a regular basis – that loneliness is mostly gone!
6. Being Your Own Worst Enemy
I’m probably more tough on myself than you might suspect. I have really high standards and ideas for myself, always have a long running list of must do projects, and because of that I often set myself up to feel like I don’t do enough.
What I have to do on a weekly and daily basis is check in and ask – do I really want to do this?
Just a few months ago – I wanted to try out a new way to bring money into my business. But the method was one I didn’t really want to do.
Still I pushed myself to make it happen, to approach and push the people the offer was for…and in the end those offers never felt right. Instead of prolonging the inevitable, I pulled back and decided it just wasn’t going to work (for me) and I pulled my offer to work with them.
The Common Thread
Now, I’m sure you’ll notice that a lot of these challenges were personal, mental, mindset type things…not super strategic or business tactic types of challenges.
And that was another really big eye opener.
I find that if there’s anything that improved my business this year – bottom line and all, it’s facing these internal challenges. They steer everything you do, what you accomplish, how successful your launches are…and so much more.
(Stay tuned though later this week when I share some of the specific external things that happened over the year – in my year in review post.)
Question: If you’re in your first year of business, which of the above challenges have you faced and what if anything are you doing to overcome them?