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Lessons I’ve Learned As A Business Owner

“The only way we move past fear of failure is to put ourselves out again and again until the sting disappears.”

Lewis Howes

Failure.

It’s not a hot topic to talk about, and it certainly isn’t easy to admit.

Failure was my biggest fear. I used to define my life based on successes and failures.

But then I had a mindset shift. 

I realized that failures were just lessons in disguise, and if you look at each experience (good or bad) as a lesson, you’ll get MUCH more out of it than chalking it up to a success or failure.

With this simple shift, I’m able to pursue my passion and, like Lewis said, put myself out there again and again, no matter the result. 

Here’s a candid look at my three greatest business failures lessons:

Lesson #1: Don’t run the risk of getting in over your head

Let’s rewind back to 2016, when I held Path to Profitability, a live event focused on how to build a brand and market it on social media, which would eventually turn into an online course.

On the outside, things looked super successful and promising:

  • I made a magazine.
  • I printed workbooks.
  • I rented a studio.
  • I hosted a mixer at the end. 

In reality, I was drowning in dollar signs because I spared no expense:

  • I spent over 6 figures on the event.
  • I used professional hair and makeup artists.
  • I bought premiere champagne.
  • I hired not one, not two, but NINE videographers.

As this was going on, big things were also happening in my personal life:

  • We bought and renovated a house.
  • I stopped booking wedding photography clients.
  • I stopped creating third party content.

I was in WAY over my head.

The perfect storm had happened. I was spending more while cutting down my revenue sources. I was drowning. 

But I kept swimming.

My stubbornness may have gotten us into this situation, but it was also what got us out of it. I wasn’t willing to give up on my dreams. We made it through (and never went into debt in the process)!

What I learned: the first time you try something new, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

*Heck, it barely has to be good!*

I could’ve cut my costs by ⅔ if I just took the bare minimum and made it work. I would’ve learned more having spent much less trying to make it perfect.

Lesson #2: Listen to others

Social Curator was first launched in July of 2017, and then again in October of that year. With this brand-new business venture, I wasn’t focusing on numbers. Instead, I wanted to focus on how to best serve our members.

On the outside, we were striving:

  • We had successful launches.
  • We had top-notch promotional ads and targeting strategies.

In reality, I had missed the point:

  • We weren’t retaining members.
  • There may have been success, but members weren’t able to see or share it.

The biggest wakeup call came in January of 2018, when I was told that our numbers were lower than when we started. 

The team suggested that we start a Facebook group to create a community between members. For six months, I said no. I thought of Facebook as a negative scene where people go to bring others down, and I didn’t want that for our members.

When I finally got over my ego and listened to the team, I witnessed a drastic change. Members had a safe space to connect, share success stories, and ask for advice. 

“It felt like my dreams had burned to nothing more than a spark, but they came back as a roaring flame.”

Amy Porterfield

The Facebook group revolutionized Social Curator. 

What I learned: it ain’t about you, boo.

It wasn’t about me. It was that I wasn’t serving members to my highest potential. Just because I didn’t like the idea of a Facebook group didn’t mean that it didn’t have the capacity to be good. 

>>As entrepreneurs, we have to do things we don’t want in order to get where we want to go.<<

Lesson #3: Set your priorities

When I started my photography business back in 2007, I knew NOTHING about how to run a business.

On the outside, I was putting in the work:

  • I spent all day and all night on Google.
  • I read SO MANY books.
  • I attended networking events to connect with other people.

In reality, my priorities were out of whack:

  • I dated my computer more than I dated my husband.
  • I was losing attention for the people that matter the most to me.
  • I was focused on work, not life.

But then I got the call that changed everything.

My friend discovered that her husband had a brain tumor and wasn’t expected to live. I was in shock because we were the same age. We even got married in the same month. 

That phone call made me realize that I owed my family an apology for prioritizing my business over them. NOTHING is more important than family.

What I learned: setting priorities sets parameters.

Although I still wanted to grow my business, I needed to prioritize my life in order to set parameters on what I said yes or no to. This allowed my business and personal life to flourish.

*Phew! That was long-winded, even for me!*

Long story short, I could’ve looked at each one of these experiences as a failure, and given up. Instead, I’m CHOOSING to look at them as lessons learned. By doing so, I’m turning “failures” into success!

“We must make the conscious decision to reframe our situation. We can choose to believe we failed, or we can choose to believe we learned a lesson.”

James Wedmore

So boo boo, if you’ve been knocked down a time or two (like me), I encourage you to get up, wipe off the dust, and keep on keepin’ on! 

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