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5 Mistakes I Made During My First Year in Business

It’s my business birthday month! And if you know me at all, you know that celebration is a BIG core value of mine. 🎉

One year in business isn’t for the faint of heart, so you better bet I’ll be celebrating all month long.

As I reflect on the past year of owning my own business and stepping into the world of entrepreneurship, I can’t help but think about all of the lessons learned, the things that went wrong, but also the things that went right.

I still have a longggg way to go, but I truly feel like this first year has laid a solid foundation that will help me grow even more – as a business owner, but also as a person.

I’ve learned so much about myself and have gained so much clarity in the last year and I’m SO proud of how far I’ve come.

I hear a lot of people say that they always knew they’d be an entrepreneur – it’s something they started practicing as early as childhood through different avenues of making money.

But that’s not my story. I was always way more traditional when I thought about what I would be one day and I can honestly say that “business owner” never crossed my mind.

It’s truly something that I found myself in before I fully realized what was happening – and I’m so glad that it’s the path I decided to go all in on.

It’s challenging every single day, but it’s also the thing that has allowed me to fully step into the life that I’ve always dreamed of.

My life has never felt so aligned and for that I’m so thankful!

But that’s not to say that getting to this point didn’t come without mishaps – because there were indeed a lot of them.

For this blog post specifically, I’ve narrowed it down to five major mistakes that I made during my first year in business, so maybe you can avoid learning these the hard way!

5 Mistakes I Made During My First Year in Business

1. I said “yes” to everyone.

Before I officially started Natty Writes, I was doing true freelance style work through UpWork. I knew that I didn’t want to use that platform to find clients forever, but I needed to start somewhere.

I was also in a unique position where I had quit my full time job, so I truly had ZERO income (shout out to my husband for trusting me).

Because of this, I knew I needed to at least do something (even if it wasn’t the right thing), so that a) I was making *some* money and b) I was getting clarity and really narrowing down what exactly I wanted to do with my life.

Through UpWork, I worked with a lot of different people doing various things in the online business world. The only problem is that I had no criteria for who I was saying “yes” to.

Now, this is sort of the nature of the platform – you’re really just looking for work, so I knew it was a temporary thing.

BUT looking back, I do feel like this was a lot of time wasted on my part. During the time of doing various tasks for lots of different people, I could’ve been truly working to build my brand and business and not have to rely on a platform like UpWork for clients.

With that said, one of my UpWork clients is essentially the client who helped me see what exactly it is that I wanted to do. She needed a blog and email writer and through working with her, I realized that I didn’t want to do anything else in the online business world.

Writing is my jam (specifically blog and email writing) and the work that I did for her is what really led me to creating the services that I have today!

Now that I have full clarity on the work that I do, I also have full clarity on the type of people that I want to work with – even though I don’t industry niche, that doesn't necessarily mean that I say “yes” to everyone.

2. I committed to too much for the sake of simply having clients.

This goes hand in hand with saying “yes” to everyone.

When I reflect on the past year, the times that I was the most stressed is when I had taken on too much with too many people simply for the sake of having clients.

When you’re first starting out in business, gaining your first few clients is the most exciting thing ever… until you realize that they aren’t ideal.

And that happened to me VERY quickly!

It was during this time that I seriously considered finding another full time job because I thought I wasn’t cut out for entrepreneurship.

Luckily I realized I was simply going about it all wrong and HAD to narrow down the type of work I did and who I did it for.

Essentially, I learned the hard way that having clients wasn’t worth it for me if they were the wrong type of people and I was doing the wrong type of work.

I was much better off waiting and working to find the type of people who needed the very specific services I offered instead of committing to things just for the heck of it.

3. I kept the wrong clients for too long.

Staying on the topic of working with the right people, being the non-confrontational, people pleaser that I tend to be, I kept the wrong clients for way too long.

This kept me in a tip toe dance between working with people who I LOVED working with and doing the work I LOVED to do and working with people who weren’t a good fit and needed other services.

This season of business was extremely hard because it got to the point where I felt like I should be celebrating because I was seeing a solid income for the first time since starting my business, but it didn't feel good.

At that point, it became very clear that I had to let the wrong people go so that I could make room for more of the right ones.

4. I didn't have contracts or correct processes set up right away, which made things harder and confusing for clients.

When you’re just starting out, contracts, systems and processes aren’t always top of mind and that was definitely the case for me.

When I moved off of UpWork and started signing clients on my own, I quickly realized that having certain systems in place doesn’t only make my life easier, it always makes things easier for my clients – and that's super important to me!

One thing I will say, however, is that I didn’t exactly know what I needed until I needed it. So, I potentially could have spent a ton of time creating processes that weren’t even helpful.

Essentially, I built as I went and it all turned out okay!

5. I waited too long to raise my prices.

Lastly, I waited wayyyy too long to raise my prices.

Again, when you’re just starting out, gaining any type of client feels amazing and that is the main goal in the beginning.

But when I moved off of UpWork and started signing all of my clients and wasn’t receiving any hesitation on my pricing, that should have been a surefire sign that I was undercharging.

The main reason that pricing is hard for me is because it’s easy to think, “well I’ve only been in business for a year, so I can’t charge what they charge.”

"They" as in other people in my industry who have been in the game longer.

But that’s simply not true! The experience that I have – even if it’s not in an entrepreneurship capacity – is worth charging for.

I know that I overdeliver and my quality of work is something I’m regularly complimented on, so all of those things should have made me feel more confident earlier on.

Now, I know better and I’m thrilled to offer services that I feel are priced fair for all involved!

Overall, I learned a TON during my first year in business and I know that every mistake, mishap, challenge and hurdle paved the way for me to make it here.

Without experiencing those things, I wouldn’t have a clear picture of what and what not to do again.

With all of these things in mind, I’m so excited to enter year 2 of Natty Writes and for all of the good that’s to come.

Thanks for being here. 💛

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