I've been running an Online Business for six years now, and for others, it may still be a short time. I mean, hey, I am still learning every day.
And while these learnings make us better entrepreneurs, there are things I would do differently:
1. I should have gone straight to experts rather than wasting a lot of time googling and figuring things out.
For example, Instagram.
During my first year, I was so lost in Instagram and social media in general that I followed every trend and everything everyone said about it. I joined these pods, engagement groups, and so on. I ended up wasting my whole day in these pods.
End of my second year of business, I threw in the towel and joined an Instagram masterclass which cost me almost 400 SFR.
That was, for me, a huge investment at that time, but it was all worth it. Not only was I able to figure out social media and Instagram in particular, but I also gained a sense of confidence in handling my social media.
Same thing with branding. I dived in and took a branding course with Kaye Putnam, and I think this course is so fundamental as to why I have a strong branding presence, visually, and even the non-visual aspects of my brand.
Before I took the course, I think I rebranded myself every six months! The course gave me confidence in my branding because it truly shines the real me.
2. Look at the data, insights, and analytics.
A business will always involve numbers. And since I hated numbers, I didn’t look at them. This was a mistake.
Numbers can tell you a lot of things. Right now, I can see my open rates, my click rates, and my reach, and all of these numbers tell me if I am heading in the right direction or not. So if you are running a business, your numbers are essential.
3. I would have hired help sooner.
I don’t mean an employee right away -- but contractors and part-time assistants. As business owners, our time is precious. If you can outsource to free up time, then do so. The money you will pay your assistant will come back. But having your time saved for more important things is precious.
Talking about independent contractors -- make sure you are equipped with a proper contract, and you know what to ask before hiring anyone. Trust me, you don't want to get a letter from the compensation office asking you to pay for the employer's contribution.
4. I would have been strict about not working on weekends, or if I cannot avoid it, then Mondays will be a day off.
Weekends, time for yourself and your family, is sacred. Running a business is a never-ending hustle. We need to be strict with ourselves, otherwise, you will be countering the very reason why you started the business anyway. That is to have flexibility and more freedom.
5. And probably, you know this, I should have prioritized my email list from day one.
It was a mistake for me to think that my growth lies in wasting my time on social media and being a content factory. I am not hoping to be an influencer. Yet, in my first year, I found myself a slave to social media. What I learned, and should have implemented instead, was to prioritize my email list because that is the lifeblood of my business.
So there you go, 5 things I would have done differently if I were to restart my business. These Online Business Lessons are so crucial not only to your success but also ensuring that you get there sooner.
Last January 2023, I hosted my first Legally Fluent Masterclass of 2023 with the lovely Adelina Stefan, PCC-ICF, MBA, PARC. If you are still unsure what legalities you need to accomplish for your business and when to accomplish them, I am opening the recording to people who missed it. Click on this link to access the recording.