The 3 Biggest Lessons Learned In Entrepreneurship during Q1

Entrepreneurship has been a fun journey for me thus far. I’ve been one (unofficially) since the fall of 2013 yet on paper since 2014. I didn’t really start taking myself seriously until 2015. At the same time, I’ve learned many lessons along the way. Quarter 1, I came out swinging. I’ve done some major rebranding, redefining, and acknowledging of my true services for my brand. At the same time, the lessons I learned along the way proved valuable for me. Here are the 3 biggest lessons learned in entrepreneurship for me during quarter one:

1. I didn’t forecast for business and client growth properly: I’m not an egotistical or obnoxious type of person especially when it comes to goal setting. I didn’t make any declarations saying: “yup, I got this” or “yup, i’m the ______ who’s gonna check me”. This is not saying I’m not confident of myself and my skill set. It’s not who I am individually as a person. When I say I didn’t forecast properly, I didn’t do it and it hurt me from a tech tools and processes standpoint because I had to implement new things in the last 90 days. I had some hiccups (I’ll just keep it 100) this month. I had some explosions in exposure this month in my pre-client onboarding. When booking consults, some people didn’t receive my pre-client questionnaire. I had to check a lot of front end and back end things. However, I didn’t realize that as I begin to grow my community and gain some exposure that people were really looking for the solutions that I had to their current business problems.

In entrepreneurship, you always think about how your business will appear to others but also what is your TRUE purpose. This means thinking of how to connect to your community and how do you provide them great content to keep coming back. 6 months ago (if we are keeping it 100), I didn’t have a community platform as I do now and I did not properly forecast for growth. Definitely within the last 60 days, my business exploded. I’m grateful for this and I definitely wasn’t prepared for it. Things were moving slowly and BOOM — things exploded. This all happened in a positive limelight and I’m grateful for the lessons learned.

2. I didn’t forecast for business model changes properly: I realized over Q4 (2015) and Q1 of this year of what I didn’t like doing anymore (TECHnically Speaking™). Finally saying: “I’m going to put this to rest or become a legacy service or terminating this permanently”. I had an AMAZING conversation with my Mentor this past October about launching new products and services. Over the last 6 or 7 months (after implementing them), I’m more so in a mind-frame where some of these things are taxing and tiresome. A lot of people don’t understand how TECHnology™ can be draining. As of April 1st, I made the business decision to remove some services from my business. I want to be able to connect more with my current clients, future clients, and my community. I’m realizing that you all need more of me. What that means? More one-on-one, group coaching, multiple mini-courses, etc. I have come to the solution that you guys need more of my teachings of tech tools usage, tech hacks implementation, and my analysis of some of your website and system implementations for your business. Don’t get me wrong, I will still be keeping up some services like my sales funnel, website audits, email and leadpages automation but other things will be put to rest.

For me, I realized over the last few months that are other things that I wanted to do in my model (i.e. speaking engagements, podcasting: coming soon, youtube videos: coming soon, more courses, etc). Over the last few years (many people don’t know this), I was doing social media marketing/automation. I realized it was very tiresome and not aligned with my business model but I kept doing it anyways. For the most part, this was a sign that I ignored for a while until I got to the point where I began to detest social media (no worries, we fell back in love). Phasing off services saves me time and allows me to grow with these new changes. I had to think about my umbrella for my business. Because of my BizTech niche, my overall platform is about encouraging and inspiring entrepreneurs (techie or non-techie) to really utilize the power of technology to help grow their business. My services and business model in the last 6 months was not reflecting what my platform was about based on my forecasting of my tools and processes. I was holding on to services in my business model and it wasn’t serving me in my purpose. The final straw for me was really thinking this: “Is this the best way I can service my community? Is this the best solution for their problems?” When I realized that these things weren’t, I phased them off and said deuces.

3. I didn’t make flexibility for my Tech budget: I decided in November I needed all of these enterprise tech tools to do EVERYTHING for me. It made me work harder and not smarter. My financials in Q4 of 2015 took a HIT because the price points associated with these tools were ridiculous. I had to laugh at myself because I got tool happy and crazy. In Q1 of this year, I should have been a little bit more flexible in my budget (i did come in under budget = WIN) BUT with certain processes/systems/tools I might need additional integrations. How have I semi (still some issues remain) resolved this? I’ve started reaching out to these tech companies and giving feedback. Some are taking it and others its in their pipeline. If I can make my life and tech budget easier, I’m all for it (trust me).

Making flexibility in your technology budget can make your business and personal life easier. With hardware, technology changes daily. Maintenance (especially with legacy equipment) can be pricey if you don’t have some sort of extended warranty plan or etc. Also, consider if your team expands. You have to be mindful of additional hardware you might have to purchase. In the software world, there is always going to be a monthly or annual fee that is associate with your products. Sometimes the companies might up the charge yearly or add other fees (just read the fine print folks). If you’re growing or expanding on your team, be prepared for new seat licenses. Some companies will give you a bundle discount monthly or annually for new seats on your software for your team and others will say per person. At the same time, when you outgrow your tech tools you can’t stay with the same companies anymore. I talked about this on Periscope — if you still have a FREE Mailchimp account and maybe you have a few people on your email list how will staying on this FREE account help you build your community/business? You have to think about what will be best for your growth.

I’ve been having a heart battle between Mailchimp and ConverKit simply because my email list has grown tremendously. I’ve been loyal to Mailchimp but I honestly feel like it’s time to move on. I’ve been having many inner battles with many of my tech tools recently because some of them are not currently serving me where I am in my business. As much as I want to stay with them and love/hug on them, I know it’s time to let go. Some of them I will keep and just upgrade my price point to more services and others I will let go by 11:59pm tonight. This is definitely a reminder of why being flexible in your Tech budget can definitely help you.

I have a totally different plan for Q2. I took a lot of time this week (in addition to next week) to make some last minute changes. I want to be more abundant in my business and personal life (not just talking financial but all the way around — business and personal connections, processes, etc.). I hope this can shed some light for any person interested in entrepreneurship and also with those currently rebranding. Just know that you can turn your mistakes into learning opportunities. Q1 taught me that hands down.

TECHnically Yours™,

Kristen

P.S. — Want to check out more of this blog, head over to my Katch and watch the rest of the video.

Where Data + Sports + Tech meet. I help athletes connect with their fans using text marketing & data. @superphone Brand Ambassador. texttheblacktechie.com

Where Data + Sports + Tech meet. I help athletes connect with their fans using text marketing & data. @superphone Brand Ambassador. texttheblacktechie.com