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My biggest business lessons from 2021

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

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Well here we are, already halfway through the first month of 2022. And just to be a bit different (because I always like to buck the trend) I decided not to cram in a big ‘review’ episode at the end of the year, but to wait until now to share my 5 biggest lessons of last year.

Because these things take some careful thinking about, you know?

And because I also wanted to have a proper break over Christmas this year, so it seemed the perfect time to share some fab guest expert episodes with you instead.

Objective achieved - one very relaxing break and some really chunky strategic lessons for you to get your teeth into over the festive break!

So looking back over the last year, really I can’t believe where the time has gone.

As a quick recap, this time last year I had no podcast.

I’d just done an exhausting launch for my membership, which left me careering into Christmas with a head full of whether people were going to sign up or not and unable to relax properly - big lesson there! And - deep breath - let’s be honest - I still didn’t really feel like I had a successful, sustainable business.

I’d been in the online space 6 months by that point, having walked away from my face-to-face local business, and I’d worked with a coach who had given me lots of tools to market my business online more successfully - but by that point I still wasn’t really seeing the benefits of that investment.

No fault of that coach and no fault of mine, either - it’s just that success in business and a sustainable business in particular rarely happen overnight, particularly online - despite what you might hear promised! And whilst I had some great tools, I still didn’t have great clarity on exactly what I was offering or how to communicate that - it took more coaching and a lot of personal mindset shifts and lightbulb moments for that to suddenly ping into place!

I was very hung up on trying to pigeonhole my business because that’s where my coaching had led me to - I had this impression that the more niche I became in terms of promising just one specific outcome, the easier it would be to get clients - but everything in me was rebelling against that at the same time because I didn’t WANT to just be a money mindset coach, or just be a business coach, or just help people get over their imposter syndrome or visibility struggles… firstly because I know people don’t just struggle with one of those things, it’s usually the whole shebang so I didn’t feel good just promising one outcome… and secondly the thought of just helping people achieve one specific thing forever more kind of bored me to tears! So as you can see there was a lot of resistance there and a big struggle between what I thought I ‘should’ be doing and what I actually wanted to do. Thank goodness I came to my senses! So I’m going to chalk that one up as my first and probably biggest lesson of the year.

Trust your gut.

As soon as I stopped bothering wrestling with that internal struggle and just did what I blimmin’ well felt like, everything changed.

And what I’ve realised since is that I AM my niche. I don’t need to fit in anyone else’s neatly shaped box or appear on the usual checklist of entrepreneurial coaches - you know the ones where you read the promo threads and there are 56 people promising to help you overcome your money blocks? I don’t have to be one of them to still help my clients with that and SO much more. That was a liberating realisation, I can tell you! Now, I do exactly what I like - because I know that my ideal clients don’t want a carbon copy coach either, and they love what I do.

I guess the second part of the lesson there is that it takes time to figure your business out and evolve your niche - and that’s ok!

I experimented with being that money mindset coach. I experimented with being that business coach. I experimented with being a straight up mindset coach. I realised I’m none and yet all of those things. But it was only by dipping my toes in the water and trying things, playing with offers and working with real live clients, that I finally figured out what I absolutely excel at.

You’ve got to try a lot of jeans on in your life before you find the perfect fit and realise what really suits you… although sometimes they were in that very first shop you went in all along.

Building a successful business is about continually evolving, challenging yourself and trying new things - until you find what works. A great coach can help you speed through that process and pull out your magic formula much more quickly - but you’ve still got to go through it to get that clarity. And attached to every flop along the way will be a really valuable lesson about what doesn’t work for you.

So if you’re currently thinking ‘this just isn’t working’ - don’t give up, keep trying to figure it out. Get a coach if you feel you need help or your mindset just isn’t in the right place. It WILL come together if you keep at it. I believe in you. Case in point - we’re midway through January and I’ve already earned more than I earned in my whole first quarter last year, through my 1:1 client bookings alone.

And that’s just because I’m now super-clear on my messaging, who I’m for and who I’m not for and I’m completely confident that those clients are out there for me.

I know I’m only interested in working with seriously ambitious people who like to prove themselves and regularly bite off more than they can chew or scare themselves witless, for example - people a lot like I used to be! And I know that big dreams excite me; there’s nothing I love more than a client who has massive vision but not a shred of belief that they can do it. Those are my people! I now also know I’m not about trying to convince anyone who isn’t ready to invest in my coaching and I’m never going to get anyone on a sales call to try and persuade them of anything - and that’s a huge weight off as well!

My third lesson has to be that you have to slow down to speed up.

So as you’ll have noticed at the start of the episode I talked about how I spent the run up to Christmas last year frantically trying to set up the relaunch for my membership - writing emails, making sure I was posting all over the place - then between Christmas and New Year checking in with how many sign ups I had (or hadn’t) had and keeping my fingers crossed for more.

Relaxing it wasn’t! So I have a feeling it may have been around then that I decided to stop going at full pelt all the time and actually plan things properly rather than just diving straight in to my ‘next bright idea’. There is often something to be said for that… but what you have to make sure of is that you’re not just overcomplicating things and jamming your life full with impossible tasks. Now I WAS really excited to relaunch the membership back then. But for some reason I decided I had to do it there and then, rather than just parking it until I was really ready. I think that reason was fear.

My income wasn’t great, I wasn’t seeing the 1:1 enquiries I’d hoped for rolling in - so I think there was an element of this lovely distraction that would bring in *some* revenue. And I think it was absolutely the right thing to do - because my membership has been amazing and it’s going from strength to strength! But I think where it wasn’t so great was cramming it in to an already overpacked to do list and not giving myself any breathing space. So what changed was a decision to start thinking about what I actually wanted to achieve in my business, quarter by quarter, and making mid-term plans rather than just jumping in on the spur of the moment. That meant planning in holidays, making provisions to get things done in advance so I could actually enjoy my time off - and just picking 2 or 3 key big items to tick off the to do list in any given quarter. And what that’s really allowed me to do is to focus. To slow down and make sure there’s time to get the important stuff done - the things that really will drive those client enquiries in the longer term and help my business actually make strategic progress rather than just flitting from thing to thing.

And it’s most definitely made life easier and my business much, much stronger and more profitable.

Another really key thing for me has been consciously leveling up in terms of the people I’m hanging around with.

This is one of those things where you have to listen to your own advice sometimes! I know that anxiety breeds anxiety and positivity breeds positivity in other people. I know that other people’s preconceptions about money, clients, ease etc. will influence our own perceptions of those same things.

But this year has really been testament to that for me! I wasn’t feeling great about money or my ability to earn it earlier last year. So I made a conscious decision to move away from groups, memberships and people whose views didn’t align with where I wanted to be, or who made me feel triggered, anxious or desperate to compete for clients.

And I think that decision came about because I did some money mindset work myself and recognised that I was still really struggling with the concept of it being ok to earn good money and still be a nice person - because those two things are not mutually exclusive - yes, you can totally have both! If people are struggling with you because you have ambitions to earn a certain level of income, let’s just say that isn’t YOUR problem.

So I had this big wobble at the beginning of 2021 where I panicked over the name of my free Facebook group and membership because they talked about 6 figures and I thought people might think badly of me for that, having seen a few negative comments in groups and on other coach’s feeds.

Now I realise that I was changing what I was putting out there in my business to try and please people who probably weren’t even my ideal clients anyway! And I was repelling some of the seriously ambitious people I did want to attract.

I don’t mention money in the titles of my groups now because I don’t think it’s necessary, and I know that my ideal clients are more sophisticated than just thinking it’s all about the money anyway - they recognise there’s so much more to a truly successful business.

But the point is this was a massive barrier and as soon as I stopped listening to those negative comments and hanging out in places where they were rife, and started hanging out with people who were more attuned with believing high level income was a positive thing - my own perception shifted massively and it became much easier for me to feel comfortable earning more. We are tribal creatures after all, we always want to fit in with our tribe! And do you know what… none of my real tribe - my good friends and family - have been anything but supportive.

So the last thing is more of that ‘practice what you preach’ thing - mindset really is everything!

2021 was the year it all came together for me strategically - I knew what I was doing and what I needed to do - but very simply I would NOT be where I am now if I hadn’t continued to uplevel my mindset.

I don’t mind admitting that back at the beginning of the year I was right there in what often gets called ‘scarcity mindset’ or ‘lack mindset’. I was also right there in stubbornness mindset - I’m a mindset coach who helps people with their self-belief so they can achieve unbelievable things! Therefore I MUST completely believe in myself, right?

Well… yes and no. I did believe in my vision. I did believe it was possible for coaches to be successful, fully booked with clients and earn fantastic money. But I think I believed I believed in myself, without really believing I could make it happen - if that makes sense!

Back then I was up against all the evidence in front of me, which was that I was barely scraping by each month. And no matter how much we want something, it’s really hard to fully believe it until we see it happening in our reality. Which is where people like me can help you bridge the gap.

It’s one of those chicken and egg things - until you see it happening, you can’t really believe it. But you don’t see it happen until you fully believe it - because your brain keeps seeking to recreate the reality it’s seeing every day - and it won’t give you the keys to unlock that door until it thinks you’re in the room!

So frustrating. So I did a LOT of work on my money mindset and my self-belief this year. I worked with a coach who helped me ask the questions I was neglecting to ask myself, and pushed me to see things I wasn’t seeing for myself. That’s what a great coach will do!

And then I put in place ALL the things I already knew I needed to put in place to reduce my anxiety around money and support my brain’s ability to imagine, believe in and create a new picture of how I wanted that reality to look. And my perception of the world and the way it works has completely changed as a result. This past couple of months, for example, I’ve pretty much stepped away from social media other than the odd few posts on my profile and in my groups - I’m saving so much time and energy NOT chasing clients in other people’s groups! And I’ve shifted my mindset to a place where I don’t have to think about believing any more - I just KNOW the right clients are out there for me and I KNOW that the income I want is going to be coming my way. And I KNOW that when I put posts out, they are speaking to the right people. That sounds a bit bonkers and I would never have believed it was possible to feel that way a few months ago. But it absolutely is - and it’s when you’re just in that place of absolute knowing, that your brain starts to go - cool, let’s make it happen, then!

The moment I had that kind of belief, I started getting all sorts of cool insights. I just knew exactly what kind of programme to create to speak to those awesome women I wanted to work with.

My new 8 week 1:1 programme was born, and as soon as I posted about it I had a flurry of enquiries and positive responses.

And I’m just like, ‘Why couldn’t I think of this a few months ago when I really really needed it?!’! And the answer is basically because my brain wasn’t looking to create this reality for me. It was stuck in a place of stress and anxiety, so it wanted to keep recreating the ‘barely scraping by’ reality I was thinking about all the time - so insights and ideas it kept giving me were designed to create more of the same!

So, there we have it. Our brains really are out to get us, unless we know how to stop them! I hope that’s been helpful today. Incidentally if you’re listening to this on its release date, Monday 17th January, I’m running a series of posts over in my personal Facebook group to help you get in a more positive, client attracting, income generating frame of mind! Sharing a bit of the magic. The group is called Unapologetic - a community for women who mean business - and you’re very welcome to join in and see what happens for you! And of course if you’d like to find out more about my 1:1 or mastermind programmes, just take a look at the show notes for details of how to get in touch.

Join me for a free mindset makeover from 17th January 2022 in my personal FB group, Unapologetic - a community for women who mean business.

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