The Lessons Learned After One Year in Business

It’s been a full year since I started Ashley Avis Marketing. I guess it is time to turn around and reflect on what I’ve accomplished and what I have learned over the past 365 days.

When I first started this business, I had no plan. My ideas and offers sprung from this desire to want to help other entrepreneurs like myself set up a strategy that I knew would work for them. I’ve gotten to help a lot of people from all over the world. Just typing that gives me a little chill up my spine and I get a warm fuzzy in the middle of my chest which to me is a sign that I am on the right path.

Helping clients with their marketing and sales and hearing about their wins allowed me to do a lot of happy dancing this year, but we all know that entrepreneurship and serving clients is not always fun and dance.

Over this past year, I have also felt regret, heart break, confusion, loneliness, frustration and doubt. If you are reading this and are thinking about taking the leap and starting your own business, this is a fair warning that these feelings are inevitable. But they did allow me to learn some lessons, and I’d love to share those lessons with you.

FIRST: Listen to your gut. It’s smarter than you think. Earlier in the year one of my favourite clients referred a colleague in need of some support with their marketing strategy. After the initial phone call where we got to meet each other via Zoom, I got off of the call and felt like something was off.

The call hadn’t gone like most of my calls, and when I hung up I felt completely drained. Why? Because this potential client was asking for a better price, wanted a package that included more than I was offering anyone else, and she offered a service that didn’t necessarily light me up. And you know what I did? I ignored my intuition that said- run girl. This client is going to suck up all of your energy and time and leave you feeling less than. That is not worth any amount of money.

Yeah, I ignored that feeling inside and took on that client because of the money. I felt like in order to become a successful business owner, I needed to have a lot of money coming in.

And do you know what happened? I ended up putting in more time and energy just to feel less than. I felt undervalued, underwhelmed and I wanted out. I’d pay double to not have this client anymore. The first time I tried to “break up” with her, she dangled more money at me and I took it. A month later, I was emotionally and mentally done. I officially “broke it off” as professionally and gracefully as I could, but I still felt horrible.

The lesson here: TRUST your instincts. Listen to your intuition. Make decisions as slowly or as quickly as you need to. Trust yourself.

SECOND: Asking for help is okay. I started the year thinking that 2020 was going to be amazing! I was going to find the time to work on the things that lit me up and allowed me to follow my passions. Everything was coming at me and it was exciting.

Not too long after April started to get frustrated. I kept thinking I didn’t have enough time. I was rushing and constantly justifying 5 more minutes here and 10 more minutes there. I was bringing my laptop to bed with me at night and waking up early to squeeze in more work. And that little light inside got dimmer. I felt like I couldn’t rest on my weekends and I always needed to be ‘on’ whether that meant with the time I was spending on my business, or parenting my kids.

And then one day, I asked for help. I made my first hire and chopped my to-do list down. At first I was scared that everything was going to fall apart. But nothing really did! In fact, I got more time to spend building relationships, to be creative, to learn new things and to actually rest.

It was only a few weeks later that I made my second hire and that’s when things really felt good.

The lesson here is that you need to have some boundaries when it comes to how much time you spend working. Ask for help when you need it and keep connected to that passion inside. If that passion starts to dim, pause and evaluate those boundaries again and never be afraid to ask for help.

Now I certainly learned a lot of other things too but I felt like these are the takeaways that are most important to me. I hope you are inspired by these two lessons and can use them as permission to trust yourself and ask for help.

If you have any questions about what else I learned in 2020, feel free to send me a message here @ashleyavisco.

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