If someone had told me 3 years ago that today I’d be helping run a multi-million dollar business, I probably would have fallen over.
Celebrating 3 years: Lessons in business and entrepreneurship
Just 3 years ago I had a completely different mindset and outlook on my career and my future, and for as long as I can remember – up until 3 years ago – I let a lot of doubts and fears hold me back from accomplishing everything I wanted to accomplish, but didn’t think I could.
I would think (and tell myself) things like:
- “No one wants to hear from me.”
- “What do I have to share that would actually matter to people?”
- “I’m not even sure where to start – it seems too difficult to create something from scratch.”
The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past 3 years?
Mindset is everything.
Mindset is everything
When I was in the 5th grade I ran for President of the Student Counsel at my elementary school.
Vote for Kate cause she is Great!
From the day I lost that election up until pretty much the day I took my entrepreneurial leap and joined the EOFire team, I hadn’t gone after much of anything.
Looking back, I realize I was playing life small, scared and safe.
If I didn’t take any risks, then there was no way to lose.
If I didn’t make any big decisions, then there was no way to make the wrong decision.
As an entrepreneur, you simply cannot think that way; otherwise, you won’t be an entrepreneur for long – at least not a successful one.
In this post I want to share with you some of the top lessons I’ve learned since becoming a full-time entrepreneur.
I want to share some of the biggest struggles I’ve faced, how I’ve overcome them, and how I now use what used to be some of biggest weaknesses to my advantage.
As Sigmund Freud once said, “Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strengths.”
I also want to share with you some of the things I think are required in order to become a successful entrepreneur – all things that both John and I possess and that I believe have helped us get where we are today.
By year, here are the 9 top lessons I’ve learned since joining the EOFire team and becoming a full-time entrepreneur.
Year 1, Sept 2012 – ’13: Top 3 Lessons Learned
1. You cannot let fear stand in your way of taking another step forward
Fear can hold you back from making an impact – if you let it.
Fear can prevent you from taking action, and it will attempt to get in your face every step of the way – if you let it.
Fear’s job and only goal is to get you to believe that you can’t do whatever it is you’re trying to do.
How do you breakthrough fear?
The way I’ve learned to breakthrough fear is to embrace it.
Today, I let fear give me permission to take the next step forward. No matter how small that next step may seem, it’s still 1 step closer to your goal.
2. It’s all about imperfect action (fail fast)
John failed to launch on the date he had promised his mentor.
Why?… Because he didn’t think he was ready yet.
Today, he calls this failure to launch his $100,000 mistake: had he launched 1 month sooner when he was supposed to, he would have made his first $100,000 1 month sooner.
No one in the world can tell you exactly what will happen and how it will happen.
Unless YOU start, you’ll never make any progress towards accomplishing your goals.
So take imperfect action TODAY, and if that means failing fast, then you’ve still brought yourself one step closer to discovering what will work.
3. Building relationships is everything
Our business would not be where it is today without the support of those who we’ve surrounded ourselves with and made strong connections with.
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, and if you’re an entrepreneur, then you better believe this to be true.
Start surrounding yourself with the people who are going to lift you up, who are going to support your vision and mission, and who can actively help you get there. Because if you’re surrounding yourself with those who are constantly trying to bring you down (whether they’re doing it consciously or not), they will keep you from accomplishing your biggest goals.
And always remember, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” ~ Zig Ziglar
Year 2, Sept 2013 – ’14: Top 3 Lessons Learned
1. Consistent, Valuable & Free
These are the most important things to focus on when starting a business.
In order to grow an audience, you have to offer them content that is consistent, valuable and free.
This 3-some will not only earn your audience’s trust, it will also help you gain credibility & authority through the content you’re publishing, along with a lot of likability (how awesome do you feel when someone gives you something on a consistent basis that’s valuable to you AND is free?… pretty darn awesome.)
Wondering how much is too much when it comes to giving away free content? There’s no such thing as too much, and here’s how to balance your free content with your paid.
2. Proof of concept is 100% necessary
Your audience votes with their wallet – period.
Have an idea you think your audience is going to love?
Ready to commit 50 hours to bringing an amazing product to life?
Present the IDEA to your audience first, and just ask: is this something you’re willing to pay for? Offer an early bird special, or an exclusive lifetime discount for your early adopters. After all, they are the ones helping you prove your idea is worth pursuing.
Once your audience gives you proof of concept, THEN you can commit those 50 hours to bringing it to life. Until then, don’t waste your energy and bandwidth on something your audience might not be willing to pay money for.
3. Webinars can change everything
In 2014 we did over 60 live Webinars and netted over $2 million in sales because of those live Webinars.
Our flagship product and community, Podcasters’ Paradise, was “proven” by our audience on a live webinar.
The over 2,500 members that we’ve welcome into Paradise since it launched in October 2013 – about 80% of those members have joined the community as a result of a live webinar.
Webinars have not only helped us gain proof of concept for each and every one of our communities (Fire Nation Elite, Podcasters’ Paradise and WebinarOnFire), but they’ve also helped us:
– continue to steadily grow each of our communities;
– grow our email list;
– build a strong connection with, and get to know, our audience;
– offer free, valuable content to people who may not know us yet; and
– become better public speakers and presenters in the process!
Webinars can help you do all of these things in your business, too.
Year 3, Sept 2014 – ’15: Top 3 Lessons Learned
1. Scaling and automation take time (and it’s totally worth it)
If you frequent the EOFire blog, then you’ve read a lot about systems and processes – a passion (and obsession – let’s be real) I’ve really uncovered and dove head first into over the past year.
This is what I’m BEST at, and it’s what I absolutely love doing: figuring out how we can take what’s working in our business, create a system or process around it, and in turn, help us scale and automate our business.
Some of my favorite posts on the topic?…
2. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take
I still struggle with fear – every single day. But I’m constantly reminding myself that if I don’t try, then it will never happen.
If you know you need to do something in order to get 1 step closer to your goal – or to accomplish what it is you’ve set out to accomplish with your business – take that shot!
Wasting mental energy and bandwidth wishing something would happen in your business is just that – a waste. Take the shot, and if you miss, then you have a brand new lesson learned to carry with you on your journey :)
3. Connection is key
One thing that has kept our business going strong is the connection we share with the community we’ve built, Fire Nation.
Without this connection, EOFire doesn’t work, because without this connection we don’t know how to best serve our audience.
Always listen to your audience.
Lessons learned? So many!!
It’d be impossible to list them all here, because the way we push ourselves and our business to be better, we’re learning something new every single day.