As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.Rumi
Here’s the deal about entrepreneurship: it is a never ending sea of “Oh, I didn’t know that:”
- I didn’t know that SEO is key to getting my blog posts seen.
- I didn’t know that I needed a clear, consistent content plan to skyrocket my marketing initiatives.
You may be brilliant in product development, but know absolutely nothing about Finance & Accounting. Your background may be in Logistics, but you’ve never actually done any type of sales & marketing efforts in your life. Add that to the fact that it’s just you working on your business (meaning you wear all the hats: janitor, IT, sales, accounting, customer service, R&D, etc.) and you’ve got a recipe for overwhelm, burnout and throwing in the towel.
My life coaching business first started as a blog back in the summer of 2013 and it’s been a long and winding road (*cue the Beatles song). At the beginning, I had a general sense of what my business was, but I didn’t have the clarity that comes from walking the path day in and day out. My business has gone through many iterations (Ocho Brazos Yoga → Yogi Tish → LaTisha Cotto Presents → The Red Carpet Collective → From the Front Row With LaTisha Cotto → LaTisha the Matchmaker, my latest endeavor) and I’ve learned to let it evolve and flow.
When you become an entrepreneur, you learn to trust yourself, trust your instinct, do your best and surrender the outcome. I wish it were a nice, linear experience. However, it’s anything but that. There are so many twists and turns and unknowns. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Today I’m going to share with you four best practices that have helped me navigate the twists and turns of my business. My hope is that they will inspire you and inject new life and enthusiasm into your business endeavors. Here they are:
1. Start small.
Although my business started out in 2013, I didn’t see many gains until almost 4 years later. Want to know what really made the difference? I stopped trying to be everything to everyone everywhere. I spent so much time spinning my wheels in the mud, thinking that I had be on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. I did so much content creation with little to no return.
I decided to get laser focused on one social media platform: Pinterest. I chose Pinterest because it’s a search engine, much like Google. Don’t get me wrong: I love Instagram. But what I found is that my IG posts weren’t fresh immediately after uploading. The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze.
With Pinterest, even to this day, I have pins that I posted years ago still going viral. I can’t say the same about my Instagram posts. My website traffic has tripled and so has the number of people receiving my weekly Monday newsletters. I get e-mails every day from people all over the world who write me to tell me that a blog post or podcast episode has touched them and helped them in a profound way. 90% of my 1:1 life coaching clients have found me on Pinterest.
That being said, give yourself the time and space to experiment and see what works for you. Just because Pinterest is my jam doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be your jam. Remember that, as an entrepreneur, you are empowered to make decisions that are right for your business.
2. Stay consistent.
Another thing I did to take my business to the next level is to get ridiculously consistent. At the time my business was ramping up, my daughter was a little baby. There were days on end where I felt exhausted and overwhelmed.
I made a powerful decision to keep it simple: Every Monday my tribe gets a weekly love letter from me and every Friday there is a new podcast episode. I stopped trying to write a weekly blog post, weekly newsletter, produce a weekly podcast episode, coach my 1:1 clients, create and push out content. It felt like it was too much.
There were some weeks where all I could manage was a weekly newsletter and a podcast episode. But I did those things (and I still do them) to the best of my ability and now my people know that they’re going to hear from me twice a week.
I’ve seen so many brilliant entrepreneurs, companies and business ideas never quite make it because the people at the helm were inconsistent with their efforts.
3. Keep learning.
You don’t know what you don’t know and you’ve got to continually push yourself to keep learning. That’s in business and life, in general.
While you don’t have to go back to school and major in Finance, you do need to understand the basic principles of a profit & loss statement. After all, you started your business to make money, so once that money starts coming through the door, you’ve got to know how to account for it and figure out what your money situation is going to look like in the future.
We live in a day and age where information is literally at your fingertips. A quick Google search can give you some powerful answers. Don’t rely solely on other people or outside factors. Learn the basics of different departments so that you can have a working understanding of your business, your industry and best practices. That way no one can take you for a ride because of your ignorance.
4. Adapt when needed.
As I mentioned earlier, my business has gone through several iterations and it keeps evolving. I have always said that I will give it the time and space it needs to evolve or pivot as needed. We aren’t set in stone and neither are our businesses. If something’s not working, don’t focus on how much you’ve already spent (an error known as sunk cost fallacy) or what everyone else is doing. It’s not working for you and you’re only hurting yourself and your business, if you don’t acknowledge the writing on the wall.
Perfectionism is never a part of an entrepreneur’s journey, but being real and authentic absolutely is. You’re going to make mistakes, fail and slip up. It comes with the territory and it’s a sign that you’re learning and moving forward in your life.
The mistake isn’t the important part. The getting back up and moving forward is.
Everything and everyone can be your teacher, if you’ll adapt a beginner’s mind. Instead of beating yourself up about mistakes, ask yourself, “What did I learn here? How can I use this to improve?”
Entrepreneurship is tough, but I think that’s because it shows you that you’re tougher. You’re going to learn lessons that are going to make you a better business person and a better human being.
That’s what it’s really all about.