I can’t believe it’s been a year! It feels surreal.
I’ve officially made it to the end of the my first year of self employment.
It’s been such a journey. One of the fastest and most exciting years of my life.
It feels like I was a lawyer in a totally different lifetime. Quitting law was the hardest and scariest decision I’ve ever made. Then, quitting financial planning last year in April 2018 was another big and scary move. Although I knew both decisions were right for me, they both still felt completely impossible at the time.
If you haven’t read my stories about quitting my jobs, you can read them here:
- Quitting practicing law
- My diary of 7 days before I quit my job as a financial planner
- Why I quit my job as a financial planner
As kind of a landmark and celebratory post, I want to share with you the lessons I learned from my business in the last year.
Here it goes!
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Lessons Learned From My First Year Of Self Employment .
Lesson 1: All the things I worried about weren’t issues at all
I was super worried about things that I didn’t need to be worried about at all.
I thought health insurance was going to be so impossible and it couldn’t have been easier.
I was nervous about making enough money and my income has only grown exponentially.
There’s a certain magic that happens when you go all in on yourself. It was so much easier to make more money when I was all in.
Again, I’m reminded of the Eckart Tolle quote, “worry pretends to be necessary.” Looking back, it was a waste of mental space to be worried about these things.
Lesson 2: At every level of my business, I’ve had to level up
I had always heard that at each growth phase of your business, you have to do new and different things to get to the next level.
People told me that what you do to make 2k per month is completely different than what you do to make $8.3k/month (the magic six figure number). Then, once you hit six figures per month, what you have to do to scale to seven figures is completely different.
I knew this was true, but I actually experienced it this past year.
What I did to make $2k per month is completely different than what I did to make $5k per month, and that is completely different than what I did to get to $10k per month, and so on.
Now that I make over $20k per month consistently and am trying to scale to seven figures, it’s a whole new ball game – AGAIN.
I really learned over the last year that the more ready and willing I am to grow and be uncomfortable giving up where I’m at, the faster I get to where I’m going.
It’s still challenging and requires a lot, but that’s really where the magic happens. I love the process.
Lesson 3: You have to hustle to six figures, but then you have to stop hustling
Something really interesting is that the growth that happens after hitting the six-figure mark is that you really can’t hustle your way to seven figures.
Instead, it’s a completely different type of growth, where you refine (errrr rebuild) what you have in place, then scale in a way where you have other people helping you (like virtual assistants) and use paid advertising (something I’ll be getting into soon).
I was a hustler for so long that it has been my identity. But for the last year, I’ve been working with my business mentor and coach Brooke Castillo, and seeing how she runs her business was completely life changing. I finally saw who I had to become to scale in my business, and that person is nothing like the hustler that I’ve been.
It’s honestly amazing. I actually like not working so much. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my business and can crank out work like nobody’s business if I need to, but it’s not who I am anymore.
I’m letting go of hustling and becoming a seven-figure business owner. I see the changes happening. It’s super fun.
I remember when I wasn’t yet a six-figure business owner but had felt like I was one. That is when it happened. I remember when my coaches Alex and Lauren called me when I finally hit six figures. They were freaking out. I really wasn’t though. Yes, I was excited of course, but it was like it had already happened because I was already that person. I had been a six-figure business owner for months. I had to become her. Once I did, the money followed.
The same experience is happening now. I’m transitioning from hustler worker-bee to CEO of a small company.
Lesson 4: You still have a boss (it’s the market)
People love to talk about how it must be nice you don’t have a boss, but that’s not the full story. I do have a boss and the boss is the marketplace.
I’m completely responsible for serving enough value to my market in order to make money. This is so much more responsibility than anything I’ve ever done before. It’s completely on me to make sure I serve my people in a way that they love.
It’s something that took getting used to, and I love it now, but it was a huge lesson at first. I really learned this from studying direct response marketing. It’s served me so well because I feel like I get it, which makes business so rewarding and fun.
Lesson 5: The more money I make, the easier it is to make more money
I had to hustle so much to get to six figures. I mean I realllllly hustled. I had student loan debt, and I’m completely financially independent, so it’s all on me. I always knew I’d get to six figures, but it really felt impossible when I was making only an extra couple hundred dollars per month.
Every dollar in the beginning was huge. I was really worried about money.
As I worked on my relationship with money, I started to get in flow with money, instead of forcing it. (If you haven’t taken my Money Mindset For Her Free Course, you really should – it’ll help you with this.)
I became a different person. I felt worthy of having money. I started to actually like and appreciate my money. As my money grew, I started making more and more. And like everything else in life (so it seems), the more I make, the easier it is to make more.
Money is just a non-issue now, and I’m so grateful for that. (Note: this has way more to do with my mindset and being in abundance than it does with actual dollars in the bank.
Lesson 6: Business models are real
When I first built my business, it was a hot mess.
The good part was that I actually got started and got in the habit of producing. The bad part was that it was a hodge podge of randomness.
As I’ve studied business and marketing over the last couple of years, I’ve learned so much about business (and business models) in particular.
What I’ve learned is that every business (and every part of a business) has its place in the economy. If you build a business where you’re the technician, working in your business (instead of on your business), you’re creating a job-y. This is what I think of when I think of law firms. The managing partners work alllll the time. It’s the business model. They do the thing until they retire.
So, as I’ve grown my business and continue to grow it, I’m acutely aware of how I’m growing it.
I want to work three days per week and have a business that makes $3-$5M in gross revenue per year. This is totally doable. But I know it’s only doable if I do it with the right business model.
This last year, I’ve spent time rebuilding things to make sure I have my business model down.
I always go back to what Russell Brunson taught me: from $0 to $1M it’s all about the “what” and the “how” – what you’re selling and how you’re selling it.
I intentionally simplify my business so much to make sure I’m focusing on what I’m selling and how I’m selling it.
Lesson 7: Getting around people who have the results I want continues to be the best investment
Whenever I’m asked to give “one piece of advice” I always say, get around someone who has the results you want and learn from them.
This is what I did the last year.
I went all in with The Life Coach School and Brooke Castillo. I not only became a certified life coach, but I also worked in her business.
I’m so grateful for this past year because I got to see exactly how someone operates her business to the tune of $17M per year. The value I got from that experience was unlike anything I could’ve read in a book or learned from a podcast.
I really practice constraint with teachers (listen to this podcast episode on constraint if this is a new concept to you), and it’s served me incredibly well.
I commit. I go all in.
Because of this, I get big results.
Lesson 8: Loving my business and loving money is amazing – but it’s not everything
I truly love my business, and I love my money.
I’m so proud to say that both are easy for me (reminder: this was not always the case).
But now I know for sure that it’s not everything.
It only solves money and career problems – not other problems.
I knew this before, but when I was in such scarcity with money, I really did think money would solve so many problems.
Money just solves money problems.
There are still other problems – lots of problems (I talked about this in my Problems Are Forever Podcast).
Something I learned in my life coach training is how important it is to identify what will change in the acheiving of your goal and what won’t change. This is such a powerful exercise!
Lesson 9: The confidence that comes from failing your way to success is unshakeable
Something I didn’t think I was missing before I built my business was confidence. I thought I was confident. But as it turns out, I was nowhere near as confident as I thought.
The journey from $206k in student loan debt to quitting my jobs and building an online business full time is something I did completely on my own. I built it. I did it. The abundance is in me.
Take it all away, and I’ll do it again.
This type of confidence is the confidence I didn’t know was possible.
I don’t doubt myself.
I am so much stronger than I ever would’ve been otherwise.
That’s why I always say that whatever happened in your past happened for you.
Without my student loan debt, none of this would’ve happened.
For that reason, I’m so grateful for all of it.
Lesson 10: Designing my future from my future is amazing
I always thought I had to repeat more of my past.
I always wanted to be a lawyer, so I thought I had to always be a lawyer.
Turns out this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Once I had enough courage to create something different from my future, I realized true abundance.
It’s honestly something that is “you know it when you see it” and somewhat challenging to describe.
But I have it now.
And it’s magic.
The past doesn’t exist anymore. It only exists as sentences in your head.
So, whatever you want for your future, you can create.
You may also want to listen to these episodes on this topic:
A Final Note!
This year has been amazing!
I’m living in Chicago and loving every minute of it.
I don’t know how I didn’t always live here.
It’s so me.
I can’t wait to see what the next year looks like.
It’s been a good one.