10 things I’ve learned from 10 years in business

10 years ago, I was 29 and thought I knew it all whilst at the same time being very aware I knew nothing. I was most definitely living by the seat of my pants. I had been made redundant from my marketing manager job I loved (thanks to the recession), and so I went into contract work in the City which earned me double my salary but was deeply unfulfilling. I remember feeling frightened by the speed at which everyone else had plans + goals, as I had zero. So, after a few bumpy attempts + a lot of resilience, I started a side hustle of blogging in the wedding industry.

I was about to get married (reader, I am now happily divorced) and I didn’t know what might happen to me after I got married, let alone in 10 years’ time, and so I tried not to think about it (note to self: this is generally not a sign of a healthy relationship!). The idea of being my own boss never really occurred to me, until I started seeing what opportunities being freelance gave me. I ran the business alongside contract work for the first 3 years, and then went full time in 2015 and haven’t really ever looked back.

Here are 10 things that have been key in 10 years in business that I thought you’d love to know:

1. Carving out freedom and independence

Carving out freedom and independence is important to me. I have travelled the world and I have lived in India for five winters. I have taken time out whenever I liked/needed as I have never had to ask for time off. I have had times when I haven’t been well at all, and this has been wonderful to have clients who understand instead of a boss who is putting pressure on me to return to the office. Now I get it, I don’t have kids or a partner, however carving out your own freedom by being your own boss and not being a slave to your own business, isn’t that just the best feeling?

2. Spending time alone is great

Spending time alone is quite wonderful actually. Back then, I rarely spent time alone, and now I spend a considerable amount of time alone – living alone, running this business alone (although my contractors are never more than an email away!) but it’s all up to me. This has been both terrifying and exciting, and often both. Comfort zone? I don’t know her. Stretching your comfort zone is all part of the joy of being a business owner, am I right?

3. It’s up to me

All the decision making, all the strategy, it’s all up to me. I have paid thousands for courses, coaches, therapists, consultants and assistants to recognise this time and time again. I have cut out so much stuff from my To Do list and actually I quite like it and I recommend running the business as simply as possible! Doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t feels good.

4. Success is never guaranteed

I have tried to do it all and failed many, many times over. I have been a full agency with copywriting and web design and social media management and I have taught courses. I have had majorly successful launches and I’ve had absolute flops. In truth, I have felt no different at the end of each of those, but I have learned a lot more about myself and how I want to run my business through my failures than my successes – it sounds like a cliche, but it’s true. 

5. Plans evolve

I’m often harping on about making a plan whether it’s for content, your website, your business. But a key part of that is that plans evolve. They need to, because we do not stay the same. Our wishes + hopes and dreams evolve, so we need to adjust our plans accordingly.

6. I am not a robot

With the idea that it’s all up to me, it’s also up to me to look after myself and my business. I do not have to do it all. I can relax with the idea of Shiny Object Syndrome (being distracted by what shiny wealthy people can sell to me) and instead look at how I want to spend my time, and see what the gaps in my knowledge are instead, and find a course or a membership community that helps me with that.

7. Have a backup plan

When things don’t go to plan, and trust me, they don’t sometimes, always have a backup plan. Sales not going well? Try another technique. There are always ways to improve sales. That’s why I love talking about all the different ways to market your business in my Visible Vibes community, there’s always something to nibble on at the visibility buffet.

8. Create a beautiful space

I had no idea how much creating my own space was going to help me in my life + business. A friend came to stay recently and she exclaimed ‘It’s literally a manifestation of you!’. I have to agree – it’s colourful, it’s fun, and it’s filled with inspiring quotes. It’s positivity central. Highly recommend perking up your own space.

9. Get a cat

Not only do they not argue back, they are also excellent for putting things into perspective. Plus they encourage me to nap, something I’ve never been very good at doing.

10. A nap and a snack solve most dramas

A friend and I were joking about this the other day and we realised that most of the time, what solves any drama or problem happening is a nap and a snack. No really.

I know as much as anyone how much we can compare ourselves to others who seem to be Doing It All, so I thought these 10 insights might be useful to you however long you’ve been in business

Competition Time!

From 8th August – 15th August I’m giving away five fantastic prizes over on my Instagram account and Facebook page. Each day I’ll be announcing a new prize and all you have to do is tag pals in the comments, share the posts and tag me and follow me. It’s free to enter and no purchase is necessary.

Maddy x

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Maddy x
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Maddy Shine - Visibility Expert