7 Lessons From 7 Years in Business
March 31, 2015 was the last day I walked out of the gym I had called home for 9 years. The gym where I had so much angst, frustration, anger, hurt and also happiness, laughter, friendships, and learning.
When it comes to defining moments in life, they say you’ll remember where you were, what you were doing and the thoughts and feelings you were having.
I was in a windowless office with two other assistant managers and our boss for our weekly team meeting. I’m sure I had tuned out most of the meeting and was in my head thinking about coaching strategies for the trainers to help and support them. I was brought back to earth with questions about budget, numbers, sales, programs, who was at the bottom of the sales list and what we were going to do about it. I remember thinking “they will never value what I bring to the table because it doesn’t fit the model.” In order to play in this sandbox called “the corporate gym” I had one choice - fit in and figure out to do what was expected.
I had tried that for 9 years. It worked (kinda) but over the last year I had spent as an assistant manager, I got farther and farther away from the desire to fit in and do it the way it was expected. I went home, thought about it for two seconds and decided I was going to quit. What would I do next? I had no idea.
What came next was owning my own business. The person who was the most surprised? ME. I have been working since I was 14 and I actually really liked being a part of a team, having friends and a collaborative environment.
But the truth was - I was so done. Even though I had no idea how to run my own business, it seemed like the only option.
I got home on March 31, 2015, the sun was shining and I took the dogs for a walk. I’ll never forget the mix of emotions that were flowing - excitement, relief, nerves, “oh shit,” “I’ll figure it out” and everything else.
Year 1 - https://lindseyheiserman.com/happy-one-year-anniversary-to-me-the-top-10-things-i-learned/
Year 2- https://lindseyheiserman.com/happy-business-birthday-top-10-lessons-i-learned-from-year-2/ (episode 37)
Year 3 - https://lindseyheiserman.com/happy-3rd-business-birthday-episode-97/ (episode 97 - LISTEN HERE)
Year 4 - https://lindseyheiserman.com/midlifeunraveling/ (episode 121 - LISTEN HERE)
Year 5 - No Review
Year 6 - https://lindseyheiserman.com/6-lessons-from-6-years-in-business/
As I was reading these reflections, I realized they all have a similar theme - just keep going. One foot in front of the other.
There’s also several years where I talk about trying to really figure out who I am professionally and how to combine my skill set. In last week’s podcast episode I did a journey back through time on all the programs I have done and it was fun to see that even though I didn’t really know (still don’t), I always put a foot forward.
7 Lessons From 7 Years
Work less (more intentionally) and focus on self
I have found that I can sit/stare at my computer for hours and not really accomplish anything OR I can create focused work time and then use there rest of my time to walk, stretch, pick up around the house, exercise, do my puzzle and let my mind wander.
When I come back to my work, I am always more clear headed and ready.
Do the next best thing
Does anyone really know what to do in business? NO. Because there are no set rules. You simply do the next best thing in the moment. There is no way to know what is "right" or "wrong" so doing what feels best to you is the way to go.
Keep your options open
This one always makes me laugh a little because if you are like me and feel multi - passionate, multi-talented and have so many interests and ways you want to help people - it can feel soul crushing to be told to focus on one thing.
And I can tell you that keeping my options open has led me to so many interesting people and opportunities.
Make business connections/friends
This one became more and more important this last year for me. I curated a small circle of friends who own businesses and it has been instrumental for me to be able to share my honest thoughts, struggles and more with them.
Puzzles, books, movies, tv
I have felt more fresh and clear headed when I do my puzzle, read books (non business) go to movies, watch movies, watch tv, etc. This may sound like duh? but for me it's challenging to fully relax or not always be thinking/worrying about what's next for work or what I "should" be doing.
In person work/exposure is still valuable
Even if you think you want a fully remote business, it's still valuable to network in your community and do partnerships/workshops, etc. Being in a networking group for over 5 years taught me so much and I would still do it if my business was online.
You can learn so much from talking to humans (in real life!) about your work and maybe even adding in some in person work.
Being yourself is both a challenge and the only way
Uff-da. I'm sure part of my slower growth in business is because I just can't get myself to do it someone else's way or to use someone else's words or posts or whatever.
This also goes deeper into self-esteem, bodies, clothing, etc - check out this episode of the podcast.
5 Things I am Proud Of
Raising my prices
I had not raised my prices at all since I started my business 7 years ago, so needless to say, it was time. HOWEVER I have felt a lot of ways about pricing since I was a commission sales person from my first day on the job. This episode of the podcast, I talk very openly about how I decided what my prices would be, how I told my clients and what happened.
FWB program into "The Importance of You" Program
When I started business coaching for fitness/wellness professionals, I had a 12 week program called "Fitness/Wellness Business" and it was a great experience.
But as I coach all of my clients, the way I like to work is to support people in a longer, more sustained way.
So I turned my 12 week course into a 12 week 1-1 experience and then I created an ongoing monthly support/education/coaching program called "The Importance of You." You can find more information HERE.
There were probably more moments in 2021 where I wanted to quit my business than any other year. I think because after the rush /adjustment of 2020 had subsided and I now had a completely different business model than I ever envisioned, I was a little lost.
This is all so so so so normal.
I feel good about having the perseverance to keep going and to see what happened.
Investment in speaking course/photos - (podcast/page link)
Ever since I was in 4th grade, I knew I would be a public speaker in some capacity. If you look at my reviews from previous years, there are goals on there about public speaking.
I am really happy with my investment in a speaking course that has been wildly helpful for me. Check out Amber Aziza! And with that, I felt the call to have new photos taken for my brand/website/and marketing. I talk about it in this episode of the podcast.
Mentally separating from business more often
This one still feels hard but I am really proud that most days I can disconnect and be more present in life than I used to. I still catch myself drifting, thinking, day dreaming and that's ok. But it's miles better than it was even a couple years ago.
5 Goals For Next Year
Book at least 10 speaking engagements (paid)
One down. Nine to go!!! I am sooooooooo ready for this goal and compared to other years where I have "wanted" it but not really been ready for it - this is finally the year to make it happen. Want to book me as a speaker for your business, company or organization? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Grow “The Importance of You” program to support fitness/wellness professionals
I don't have goals to have thousands of people in this program. I want it to be a program where you genuinely feel supported by a real human (me) and are able to make strides in your life/business.
So far this program has been incredible for me as the professional but also for the members. It's a space where everyone can be real, honest and share truths about their lives/business.
Become the fittest version of myself
I talk a lot more about this one in the podcast episode but a lot of my struggle in 2021 I believe was because my training routine felt lost. In 2020, I adapted, like most of us to working out at home and not being in a gym. Since then, I have not gone back to my regular gym and this has me feeling a little lost. I'm also far less active on a daily basis because I do so much work virtually.
This next year, my goal is to actually focus more on my fitness/wellbeing than my business. Because when I do, my business always gets better, because I am happier.
Running your own business and needing that business to provide for your livelihood is HARD. Extremely hard. I've worked side jobs, part time jobs to supplement my business income so I could make it.
This next year feels like I am finally getting my footing and could start to make positive strides in my financial life.
Just because you have a business, does NOT mean you instantly get financial freedom. In fact, it's usually the opposite.
Watch more tv/relax more
I sometimes imagine what it's like to be a person who goes to work, comes home and does't think about work again until the next day. This has never ever been my story so I am working hard to create hard stops to my day and to really disengage more actively.
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Are you a fitness/wellness professional who is growing business AND trying to have a fulfilling life at the same time?
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