As 2018 approaches, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. I made it through my first year of business!!!!!

When I started out in Jan 2017 I had no idea how the year would unfold. As I sit in my office reflecting on the events of the past year, I am happy to report that I am beyond pleased with the way the year presented itself.

As I close off my last blog of 2017 I will review the most important lessons I learned in my first year as a Writer and Entrepreneur:

1. Read
As a Writer, I had to keep reading. The more I read the better writer I became and the more I stretched my imagination – oh so important.

2. Socialize
Entrepreneurship is lonely. It just is. As exciting as it was to be living my dream I was isolated and had to work every part of my business solo. To fight this loneliness make sure you plan social days out and see people who make you laugh ….have some fun or you will grow to resent the isolation

3. Network
I know to some this is a dirty word but for me, networking was imperative for meeting people in my situation and was a great way to expand my business. A tip: you may have to visit a few different networking groups before you find out which groups work for you – this is totally normal. Eventually, you will find a group that makes you feel comfortable and you will look forward to getting together with them on a regular basis.

4. Learn to go with the flow
When you start your business you will encounter moments that will throw you off and you will be offered opportunities that are out of your comfort zone. Embrace both of these things – I did and it was the best thing I did! Make sure you explore all kinds of different opportunities – especially as a writer – variety is key to avoid being stale or boring. Keep life interesting by finding inspiration through new experiences and meeting new people.

5. Don’t give up
My first year had I had some dark moments thinking, “how the hell can I ever make this work” – it happens to EVERYONE. I learned to stick with my path regardless of roadblocks. Give yourself at least one year to see what you can make out of your business and every single day do something that moves you forward. This is so important to keep you on a schedule and to keep you motivated to move forward. Some of these tasks were boring BUT they served to move me forward and in these early stages I really needed that.

6. Celebrate yourself
When you hit a milestone or a goal – celebrate yourself. It may be taking yourself out for lunch (as I often did) or taking a moment out of your day to have a coffee and reflect on a job well done. The idea is to mark the occasions that were challenging or that made you really feel like you were making progress and succeeding. Taking time to celebrate will go a LONG way in creating excitement around your business short term success and long term goals.

7. Set Goals
I had a series of goals – both big and small so that I could see and feel my progress. My advice in year 1 is to create small goals that are achievable so you don’t get lost in the long term goals. I would post up the long term goals on my wall so that I would read them every day to remind myself where I am going. I would also have a series of smaller achievable goals that would motivate me daily. Lastly, I had a to-do checklist that would help me feel accomplished weekly.

8. Take Time Off
As a new Entrepreneur, you will want to work ALL THE TIME. Since it is just you doing everything and simultaneously drumming up more business there will never be a shortage of things to do BUT to stay sane you have to take a break. Take a hike without your phone, take one day where you don’t have any commitments and have a coffee on the back deck, ultimately taking weekend get-a-way (if financially feasible) is the best medicine as it gives you a minute out to appreciate your progress and to actually miss your business. It also lets you come up with new ideas when you take your head out of the weeds and take a look at the bigger picture.

Taking the first step into this world is the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself. Once there, allowing yourself to succeed and fail as you learn and grow is imperative to long term success. This journey into Entrepreneurship has no beginning or end. It is a continuous circle that leads you around and around alternating through joy and sorrow. I have learned that letting go of expectations and allowing life to unfold as it does has been the most valuable lesson and the one that has provided the most peace as I move through my first year. I strive in year two to let go even more and allow life to lead the way instead of what “should” taking top bill. Why not – it is often so much more interesting!

Happy New Year all, and the most prosperous of 2018 to you as well.

Until next time – dream, experience and love your life.

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