No matter how many biz books you read or how many fancy ecourses you enrol in, there are some things in the business world that you can only learn from experience. It doesn’t matter how vehemently someone tries to warn you, you just have to figure them out for yourself, and it almost always takes a rude awakening (or even a minor meltdown!) before you can fully grasp the lesson.
But even though you need to be ‘in the trenches’ for these Big Lessons to really sink in, it’s always good to be prepared for what’s up ahead. So today, I want to share with you the top 5 things that I had to learn the hard way – may these nuggets of hard-won wisdom help soften the blow and minimise any meltdowns!
1. Business is Business. Don’t get friendship and business confused. At the end of the day, you can’t rely on your clients, co-workers or service providers to always treat you as a friend – no matter how hunky-dory things may seem! Even your favourite, super-duper clients still want their stuff on time, they want a good price and they want their business transactions to run smoothly. By all means be friendly, but don’t forget to be professional too.
2. Money Talks. Don’t undercut yourself by undervaluing your services or caving in to requests for discounts. Ninety-nine per cent of the time, clients who quibble over price are more trouble than they’re worth. Instead of haggling with them, stand in your power and get clear about the incredible value you offer.
(And on a related note: Never, ever offer your services for free. Even to friends and family. Your time and energy are precious. In fact, they’re the most important resources you’ve got – treat them accordingly!)
3. Not everyone will like what you do. Can I get my inner Bieber on for a minute? Haters gonna hate. No seriously, they will. You cannot please all of the people all of the time. Whether it’s clients, readers, or random web trolls, from time to time, people are gonna criticise your work and make you doubt everything you do. In such situations, know that being nice gets you further than being nasty. No matter how tempting it is to fight fire with fire, it’s almost always better to kill them with kindness – or in the case of trolls, ignore them completely – and just walk away. Taking this route saves you a whole lot of stress, protects your energy, and keeps your dignity intact. Beats a flame war any day.
4. Your peers are your friends, not foes. Does reading about your peers’ successes make you feel crazily inadequate? You’re definitely not alone. But instead of drowning in a pool of envy, know this: there’s enough (banoffe) pie for everyone. Seriously. Use their achievements as a source of inspiration for your own work, and an indicator of what’s possible. If you want karmic brownie points, put your Big Girl Pants on and leave a generous comment on their post. And if all else fails, remember that what people share online is rarely a complete reflection of reality – you’re likely seeing a carefully primped-up version of events. Take everything with a grain of salt.
5. You can’t do everything. I get it, I really do – your biz is your baby! It’s got your blood, sweat and (no small amount of) tears embedded in it. But if you want your biz to grow, you have to realise this one, giant truth: you cannot do it all yourself! You need help, and you need a team around you. Organisation + Delegation = A better existence. Repeat after me: it’s okay to let some things go!
So there you have it – my hard-won wisdom in bite-size form. Now it’s over to you! Tell me, honeybunch: do you have any important biz lessons to add to the list? I’d love to hear from you!