What I Learned From Two Years of Running a Business

by | Nov 21, 2019 | Entrepreneurship, Planning | 0 comments

 

I’ve been in business for two years now.

Looking back on the last two years is an interesting exercise, especially if I think of what I expected my business to look like when I first started.

Looking back makes me feel both incredibly proud and a little disappointed. In some ways, my expectations weren’t met. In other ways, this journey has been far better than I could have imagined.

Here’s how my expectations have stacked up to reality:

Expectation

I hoped that by now, I would have replaced my previous income. My big ambition when I started was to make more money in the business than I could have by getting a job with my MBA in the corporate world.

Reality

I haven’t reached that goal. I’ve learned that it takes TIME and costs money to build a business from scratch. And I’ve learned the hard lesson that revenue and profits aren’t the same thing. I have no regrets about this business, and I think it was a great long-term decision financially (and for a ton of other reasons too), but using the opportunity cost of an MBA salary as a metric for success has only caused me grief.

On the flip side, though, every dollar I earn by building something on my own means so much more. And the chance I have to create economic opportunity for my team and create value beyond myself is a huge benefit I didn’t anticipate.

Expectation

I thought the mechanics of running a business would be the hardest stuff to learn.

Reality

Learning how to become the type of person I need to be to build this business is FAR more difficult than any technical task.

Expectation

I thought my clients would be like a series of different bosses.

Reality

It started out that way, but it wasn’t long before my clients became my friends and strategic partners as we all build businesses together. AND I got the opportunity to be a leader and provide proactive value in those relationships rather than taking orders.

Expectation

I thought it might be possible to build a business without failure.

Reality

I’ve learned that failure is not just a risk, but an absolute guarantee when you build something new…and it’s a sign that you’re growing. Every time I figure out something, it’s time to stretch to the next milestone.

Expectation

I thought I’d be tempted to go back to the relative predictability and security of a traditional job.

Reality

I don’t think I can ever go back. The challenge and the growth – everything I’ve learned and built – has been more fulfilling than I ever expected or hoped.

And the freedom to be Averee’s primary caregiver at the same time is a dream come true.

I’d love to hear from you – what has been the biggest surprise for you in building a business?

Until next week,

Ashlee