10 Things I Learned in my First 2 Years in Business
Updated: Mar 5
Running a small business is hard. I know this because not only do I work with small business owners everyday providing them with guidance and financial acumen, but also because I am a small business owner myself.
After 2 years running a business, I've learned a tremendous amount about myself, my business, and what makes my clients tick. So to celebrate FinTeam's 2nd anniversary, I thought I'd take a moment to write down the 10 most important things I've learned over the last 2 years.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Don't forget about yourself. It's easy to spend so much time working on your client's business that your forget to take care of your own. Make sure you spend time keeping your own house in order.
The consultant is not the Hero. The client is the most important part of the equation; the consultant is nothing more than a Guide with a Plan. I learned a lot about this through the incredible book, Building a StoryBrand: Clarifying Your Message so Customers will Listen by Donald Miller.
Read books and listen to experts. Speaking of good books, I've found the best way for entrepreneurs to educate themselves is to read books and to take subject matter experts to lunch or coffee and pick their brain. You don't always have to be the expert on everything; you just have to always be learning.
Don't try to be your own lawyer. Trust me. Pay an attorney to write contract templates. It may cost a bit, but it will save you time and worry.
Get an office. No matter how much you love your family, your home, and your furry friends, there are simply too many distractions at home.
You are the product. As the great Simon Sinek said, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." Or another way of putting it, your clients are buying you, not your service or product. So, make sure you're always something worth buying.
There is no dress code. For most client meetings I wear business casual, but if I'm meeting in a more formal environment like a law firm or event, I wear business attire. Some days are spent crunching numbers and deep in the weeds with no meetings - dress casual. The point is, don't worry about always dressing up. Dress according to your day, and don't be afraid to let your casual flag fly once in awhile.
Always carry business cards. You never know who you might run into.
Live your life. Take advantage of the flexible work schedule and take a few moments to do things like eat lunch with your kids at school, run errands for your spouse, or just stare out the window. You're your own boss, so stop being a jerk to your lead employee!
Be yourself. After-all, you are what your clients are buying, so don't be afraid to be yourself. Unless you're a jerk, of course. In that case, good luck because you'll need it. :-)
So, that's some of what I've learned over the last 2 years. What kind of lessons have you learned during your entrepreneurial journey? Drop some tips in the comments below, or simply reach out to me and maybe we can get coffee sometime.