10 LESSONS FROM 10 YEARS IN BUSINESS

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This month marks 10 years since I started my first business, and I have been working for myself in some capacity since then. It’s sometimes hard to believe that I dove into this world at the very young age of 19, but then again, it perfectly matches my personality, so those who knew me weren’t all that surprised.

I think naivety was on my side.

I was also still living with my parents, which meant that my risk was very low.

I grew up with my parents owning their own business for most of my life, I can’t remember a time where they didn’t. So I just thought that was what you did, or at least it was my dream to build something of my own.

Over the years I have faced so many high and lows, and really intense challenges from plagiarism and stealing of my intellectual property to winning awards and feeling complete fulfilment - and those things span across the different industries I’ve had businesses in.

I first started with my hair and makeup business, then opened a small beauty salon. Next was an online party store and finally where I am now, in my coaching business.

I’ve always chased my heart, and followed what excites me. 

I have so much more to learn, and I know that I will continue to do that for as long as I’m in business, but I want to share with you 10 lessons I’ve learnt over the last 10 years, that I plan to take with me.

Of course there are many many more, but at this point, these ones stand out for their pertinence in my business and personal growth. 

 

It’s heart or nothing

For me anyway. 

I have been presented with opportunities that seem to make a whole lot of financial sense, but I didn’t go with them because I didn’t feel passionate. And on the other side, I have said yes to things that didn’t make sense because my heart was calling for it, and telling me to jump.

There are no guarantees in business, at least I’ve never known there to be, but I know I can always hold my shoulders back, and feel aligned, if my heart is forever my guide.

 

There are no mistakes, but sometimes it’s tough

I remember when we bought the online party store, thinking at a point that we made the wrong choice. That maybe we’d dived in a little too quick, and it was going to need a lot more work and money, than we had anticipated.

At the time I remember feeling like we’d made a mistake in taking it on.

But it was okay, we ended up selling it, and in the end it worked out fine. 

At the time though it wasn’t. It was taking up all of my time, I still had my makeup business as well, and we were about to get married.

It was really stressful trying to make it all work, and I was concerned about how we were going to navigate from there.

But we did, time healed all, and even though we did loose out slightly, it was all part of the story and was a massive learning curve for me.

I believe it’s important to be honest with yourself, it is really tough sometimes, and we don’t need to sugar coat it. Feel the toughness, and then get to work. 

 

You need to be prepared to wear all the hats

At least I had to! We didn’t have the resources for me to have help for a really long time. So I needed to learn. I had to make it work, because I wanted it to work, and if it wasn’t me, then it wouldn’t happen.

I needed to put my fears about marketing myself aside, otherwise I wouldn’t get business. I needed to learn how to keep my books, and understand finances, I needed to prioritise paying myself superannuation, and understand insurance.

No one else was going to do it for me, so I needed to learn. This isn’t the case for everyone, but having this understanding as my work as grown, as given me an inside out understanding of my business. This is so valuable as everything grows. 

 

Know your zone of genius

There is a book called The Big Leap, that I highly recommend. Inside the author talks about our zone of genius. This is what we are best at, that one thing that we excel at, that we just feel at home doing.

In an ideal world, this is all we would do, but while we’re building to it, if that’s a goal for you, it’s important to be aware of what is our zone of genius and what is not.

In knowing what isn’t my zone of genius I was able to let go of my firm grip on perfectionism, around those tasks. Because it’s a waste of energy when I know I’m never going to excel at it. Being okay with that, freed up a lot of mental space for me, and allowed me to put more energy into what I’m great at. 

 

Plan ahead

A more recent lesson for me, I was never a future planner, and I don’t plan far, but I do plan.

Having a million and one ideas racing through my head each day can often mean that I feel scattered and like I can’t focus on one thing. Having a plan for what I will launch when, what I need to be creating, and when I will have down time has been life changing.

For me it needs to be visual, so I use this Kikki K planner, and it sits on my wall with about 6 months ahead planned out.

Obviously things change, but having this clarity keeps me on track and focused on what is most important. 

 

Personal growth comes before business growth

If you want your business to grow in a heart-aligned way, you need to focus on personal growth. Full stop.

Invest in yourself, if you don’t have money to invest, invest time. 

There is always a way, and I promise you your business will thank you for it. (Along with just about every other area of your life!) 

 

Get out of your own way

Early in 2017 I identified that my personal blocks around money, were potentially getting in the way of my business growing to where I wanted it to.

In that moment, I made a choice to clear them.

I invested in myself, cleared my blocks, and within a matter of weeks I had completely upleveled my business financially. It seriously blew my mind.

If you are experiencing the same pattern over and over, there is likely room to let go of something. I highly recommend doing just that! 

 

Know your why like the back of your hand

You will have days where you wonder why on earth you’re doing this, and having a strong why, the deeper reason behind why you’re doing what you’re doing, will bring you back on track.

It has saved me and my business time and time again. 

 

You can do it like a woman

For a long time the only model for business was the masculine way. Push, strive, compete.

I’m so grateful to now be stepping into a space where we have more and more models of businesses operating like a woman. With generosity, and self care as important values. With a vision for duality, not competition, and for choices to be based on how they feel.

Falling into the trap of operating primarily from the masculine space doesn’t serve me well, and so surrounding a little deeper, trusting and opening to possibility is now how I operate, or at least I’m learning to. 

 

There is no race

Keep your eyes in your lane. There is no race.

Looking to someone else and measuring their success against yours does not help your purpose.

If what you are doing is aligned with YOU then you are moving at the exact right pace for you and your business.

Comparison is the thief of joy, abundance is infectious.

I remind myself of this almost daily. 

I am here to do what I am here to do, nothing more, nothing less. 

 

I’ve really enjoyed reflecting back on the past 10 years, I hope you have gained something from this post, whether you’re in business or not. I’d love you to share your biggest insight with me in the comments section below.

And if you have something add, please share!! 

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Kate Caddle

Kate Caddle is a life coach, writer, & intimate event facilitator.

She works with women whose lives look great on paper, but don’t feel so great on the inside. Helping them overcome jealousy, comparison and perfectionism, so they can take back their power, stop playing victim, and show up in their full potential.