2017 – Change, Reflections and the Start of a New Business

2017 was a pretty eventful year for me and a lot of things have changed – The two key changes were that I ended my corporate career to start my own business and I exchanged wedding planning with adventure planning and booked a trip to Nepal to hike up to Everest Base Camp in April!

Scary – YES! Exciting – Absolutely! To say that i’m looking forward to what will happen this year is an understatement.

At the end of each year I look at the year gone by, what I’ve achieved, what I’ve not achieved and what I can learn from, and I write everything down in a journal that I review regularly to keep me on track.

So I thought I’d share with you my top 5 lessons learned from 2017 that I’ll be taking with me into 2018 and developing further.

1. VALUE your own time

If you put a value on your time you start to use it differently, find more satisfaction in the tasks you do and you start being more productive.

OUTSOURCE or DELEGATE the tasks other people can do or you don’t enjoy. Focus your time on the tasks that ONLY YOU can do and tasks that add more value to your business and the role you are dong. For example: If you run your own business and dislike marketing, social media or general administration you will find that it takes you longer to work on these projects than a freelancer or consultant who loves and is skilled at this type of work. If you outsourced all of your admin tasks to a VA you free up time to focus on work you love – like further developing your product or service offering or working on your overall business strategy.

2. NO-ONE CARES about your business as much as you do

As much as we hate to admit it people don’t care about our business – they only care about what our business can do for them. Once I accepted this reality I put all of my sales and marketing material through the ‘What’s in it for me’ test – and I mean EVERYTHING – sales emails, social media copy, website copy, blog posts, adverts, event graphics and any other customer facing item. As soon as I started to do this I started getting a lot more engagement from my customers and prospects! It also really helped me change my mindset and be much more customer focussed which has always been one of my main goals in business and in my career so far.

3. INVEST in yourself

Before I started working for myself I was always on the lookout for new training courses and learning experiences and finding ways to sell it into my employers to fund it for me – continuous personal development benefits everyone involved and I’ve been very fortunate to work for people that believe in this. When I jumped into the world of self-employment in August 2017 the reality struck me that I’d now need to invest in training, coaching and events myself. Scary stuff!

4. Take yourself OUT of your business to reflect and review regularly

It’s so difficult to focus on strategic thinking when your in the thick of it in your business. Taking yourself out for even half a day will have huge benefits to your business and your mindset. Even if it’s just to a local coffee shop but ideally you should plan in regular review meetings for yourself.

During these periods of reflection ask yourself:

  • How are you spending your time? Are you working towards your own goals and your own agenda or is your time being taken up working on things for other people.
  • Are you tolerating behaviour or actions from others that you shouldn’t?
  • What’s working for you and what’s not working – how can you pivot your actions to generate more results?
  • Are you working on your business or in your business? Could you delegate or outsource anything to free up more time to focus on more important work that only you can do?

5. You are the average of the top 5 people you spend the most time with

Do you surround yourself with people that lift you up or people that bring you down? Surround yourself with people that share your values, support you in your ambitions and challenge you to be the best version of yourself.

This can be a hard thing to reflect on as sometimes you have to make hard choices about who you spend your time with. You don’t always realise this but some people naturally suck the energy out of you with their negativity and don’t realise they are doing it. You can either nip it in the bud or move away from it.

Positive energy, optimism and excitement is contagious – choose to spend the majority of time with people you can bounce off of, be yourself and be happy. Don’t get caught up in drama triangles!

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There are a lot more learnings from last year but the above are my top 5.

Out of the 5 listed above my main one is about the value of time – not only did this help me muster the confidence to leave my corporate career and start my own business but it also helped me understand how to price my time , sell my time and not undervalue myself.