4 Big Lessons from & for Small Business Owners

Lesson from & For Small Business Owners

I got the idea for this week’s Whole Team Habits from my client and friend, Zeina El-Sayed.

Zeina worked in the court system and saw many things wrong with the divorce industry, so she started a company that helps people divorce without a lawyer, which saves them time and a ton of money.

This week, she wrote a blog sharing what she’s learned in her six years of small business ownership.

As a fellow small business owner myself, I found it very inspiring. More than that, it helped me hone in on what I have learned myself. Realizing how far I’ve come since starting my business was just the boost I needed to sort out my growth goals for 2022.

My weekly suggestion for you is to sit down and list what YOU’VE learned running your business. Sometimes we need to reflect on how far we’ve come before embarking on new steps.

Here are my lessons/ pieces of advice:

1) Prioritize what your business actually does above all else. You might also be the bookkeeper, the marketer and the janitor when you just start out. It can be hard to balance all these responsibilities. Ensure your energy goes first into honing your craft because your customer’s good opinion of your product/service is the most important predictor of your business’s future success. I made a 1-minute video on this:

2) Manage your expectations. I’m an overly sensitive optimist, and I can be easily heartbroken if I expect things to go smoothly and then run into problems. In the beginning, running a small business can feel like nothing BUT problems. Problems will be far less painful if you expect challenges.

3) Get help before you need it. I hired Vanessa, whom some of you know, as a marketing coordinator in July 2021. I needed a marketing coordinator for about a year before I actually hired her, but I kept hesitating. This was a mistake. By the time I set out to hire someone, I was exhausted and desperate to find help.

Vanessa adds so much creativity, talent and skill to the business that I wish she had been working with me the whole time. My husband calls this a “pinch crunch” problem. If I’d hired someone when I felt the pinch of being overworked, I could have avoided the crunch of burnout. 

4) Set boundaries. In her blog, Zeina describes her relationship with her business as an all-consuming love affair. Mine is more like parenting a needy toddler. I worry about it constantly. Its growth makes me proud but also causes expenses and challenges that stress me out. It exhilarates me and infuriates me and teaches me, and challenges me in ways I never imagined and now couldn’t imagine living without. 

In other words, it would be easy to let every spare second of my day and every thought in my brain be all about my business. That’s not good. 

I learned as an overly-invested reporter that it’s not healthy to put too much of myself into my work. Especially because I have an actual needy toddler, not to mention an 8-year-old, my husband, and the rest of my family and friends who all need my attention too. 

Those are the big four lessons I feel my business has taught me. It was so much fun to reflect on this; I hope you’ll kick off 2022 by taking the time to think about what your business has taught you. And please share! Reply and let me know what you come up with.

Picture of author, Bridget Brown