Today we’re talking about how to get through that frustrating learning curve when you first start a business in a safe, easy, and much faster way.
If you’re in the messy middle of starting a business, this is going to be a really helpful episode for you.
Let’s dive in…
We know that starting a business is one of the biggest growth periods for us – both personally and professionally.
When it comes to starting a business, there’s so much that we need to learn, and so much that we have to uncover about ourselves.
It brings up a bunch of money blocks, imposter syndrome, procrastination, and more.
There are so many things that can come up when we first start a business.
Normally when I talk about starting a business being a big growth period, I focus on the personal and mindset growth that needs to come with it.
When you first start a business, you need to be confident in asking people for money, and you have to stand up for the value of working with you.
You’re not just selling your services, you’re selling yourself.
That can bring up a lot of mindset stuff and there’s a lot of personal development involved in that.
That being said, in this podcast episode, I want to focus on the fact that there’s also a lot to learn practically.
You need to learn about:
- Having a business
- Business management
There are so many things that we need to learn as business owners.
Before I started a business, I described myself as a very tech-savvy person.
I was always saying that I was the go-to person to fix a macro in Microsoft Excel or to work out why something was glitchy.
But when I started my business, I instantly became a tech newbie.
I felt so out of my depth – I didn’t understand websites, I didn’t understand user experience mapping, and I didn’t understand a lot about social media.
My form of tech was very corporate-focused.
Even the thing that I was well known for being really good at (tech) became something where I was a complete starter.
This was SUCH a challenging learning curve for me.
It can create a lot of frustration. We can get really hard on ourselves about it being challenging for us but looking so easy for everyone else.
You start to label yourself, and it can often bring up a lot of those feelings and experiences from when you were in school.
I totally understand that it results in this sense of frustration.
Today I want to give you three big tips on how to navigate that learning curve with a little less frustration and get there a little faster.
Let’s make it easier and make it feel a little safer, because the learning curve actually never stops. It just stabilises.
Our goal is not to stop learning.
There’s no day in my business where I’ve felt like there was nothing left to learn. And that totally suits me because I describe myself as a lifelong learner.
I actually LOVE learning! My goal is never to stop learning.
As a business owner, if your goal is to get to a point where you never need to learn anything again, you’re probably in the wrong industry. You’re in the wrong field because there isn’t a time when you stop learning. You’re consistently learning and the industry is consistently changing.
That being said, I don’t love being in a frustrating learning curve where I feel like there are eleventy-billion things to do and I don’t know where to start…
Here are my three tips to reduce that frustration and make that learning curve easier.
1. Be patient and kind to yourself
I know that it’s very easy to say and hard to do, but it is SO important.
When I first started my business, one of the things that I did consistently was I journaled to pump myself up.
I would write out lines like a school kid saying:
- I am so good with technology!
- Business comes so easily to me.
- I’ve got this.
- I’m capable.
- I can do this.
I had to keep pumping myself up because my inner critic was vocal AF.
She was telling me how embarrassing it was that I didn’t know how to build a website, that I didn’t know how to set up a Facebook page so that I didn’t get spam, and so much more.
All these things were coming up for me, and the way I was speaking to myself internally was not patient and it was not kind.
One of the things that I realised very quickly was that if I wanted to get out of this learning curve (and I wanted to get out of it alive), my brain and I had to be on the same page.
If my brain was being mean, I would train my brain to be kind.
I did a LOT of journaling.
Everything I did, I tried to do through the lens of kindness and being patient with myself.
If I was finding something hard and was beating myself up about it, I would stop and ask myself whether I would speak to my young niece the same way I was speaking to myself if she was learning the same thing.
I absolutely would not speak to her that way!
Instead, I would speak to her with kindness: ‘Of course this is taking a while, it’s your first time ever doing it. It’s going to take a few practises and that’s totally okay. Why don’t we make a little step-by-step checklist and make it easier for you the next time you do it?’
I used MailChimp for my first newsletters, and every single time I sent a newsletter, I forgot what order to do the steps in.
I’d get halfway through and realise that I’d missed a step and I’d have to go back.
I’d get angry at myself because I didn’t remember the order to do it.
It was about six goes before I asked myself what I would say to something getting frustrated by this learning curve.
I would say to them: “It seems like you assume you’re going to remember it next time, but you don’t. And then you get frustrated with yourself. Why don’t you make yourself a little checklist?”
So that’s what I did! I even went to the trouble of going to Office Works stationery store and getting my ‘Sending a newsletter’ checklist laminated. I used a whiteboard marker and ticked off the step every time, and I didn’t struggle with it again.
For me, when I’m patient and kind to myself, I’m not just changing the way I think about things and the way I talk about myself… I also make it easier for myself.
Sure, it should be simple to remember those six steps. Sure, I should have been able to memorise them by now. But right now, my brain is overloaded with new information and a bunch of mindset stuff. I’m learning new strategies and there’s a lot going on right now, so instead of pressuring myself to magically remember the six steps in the right order, I’m just going to make the kind choice and write those steps down and put them in front of me for every time I go to do it.
I might feel like I’m teaching myself and treating myself like a 12-year-old, but right now, in order to feel confident, I need to treat myself like a 12-year-old. And that is totally cool!
Whatever you need to do to be kind and patient with yourself, make it happen.
2. Remember: You do not need to be an expert at everything
I got so frustrated with myself when I bought a course for $2,000 on how to create a website. I was going to create my website when I could have hired someone (and ended up hiring someone) for $600 to build the website for me.
But noooooo, instead, the smart decision was to buy a course on how to build a website for $2,000 and go and learn code.
In the beginning of that course, they had a little test to see if you were techie enough to build your own website.
In that test, you had to open an email, copy the text, paste the text into a Word document, find an image on the internet, download that image to your computer and put that in the document as well.
I passed that test with flying colours…
Then the second module into that course, they started to ask me to learn and write code.
There was NOTHING about coding on the sales page! I didn’t know I had to learn coding to create a website.
This was back in 2013. We didn’t have Squarespace or easy ways to build websites the way that we do now. We also didn’t have access to affordable people who build websites, so I thought I had to create mine myself.
I thought I had to become an expert in the backend of my website in order to have an online business.
But when I just gave up and hired someone to build the website for me, I realised I don’t need to know how all of this works.
I don’t need to know all of those things.
All I need to know how to do is:
- Upload a new blog post
- Change the copy on the main pages
- Create a new page
I told the person who built my website that I needed to know how to do those thring things, so she simply made three little videos for me showing me how to do them, and that was that.
I rewatched those modules every few months whenever I had to update my About Me page or do something that I wasn’t doing consistently enough to remember how to do it. Instead of jumping into my website and breaking things, I’d just watch the little module and do it at the same time.
You don’t need to be an expert in all of the things.
If your natural strengths and skills are not in technology, you do not need to be a technology expert.
Similarly, you do not need to be an expert on every social media platform.
Pick one platform that is going to be your core social media platform, and learn and nail that one platform.
The rest can wait until you can afford to hire someone to run those other platforms for you.
There are enough clients on one platform for you without you having to be on multiples.
You don’t need to be an expert in all things and you don’t need to do all the things at once.
Take it step by step and remind yourself that you’re going to nail this one thing and get it embedded in your mind before you move on to the next thing.
Rather than needing to be an expert in all areas, and rather than needing to be on every single platform or use every single tool, just focus on the simple basics that you need to start making sales, and then you can pick a new tool or strategy and give that a go.
Learn one thing at a time.
3. Select your mentors… and tune out the noise of the others
One of the biggest frustrations that came for me about a year into my business was that I ended up on about 95 people’s mailing lists.
I was following a bunch of them on YouTube, I was listening to a bunch of podcasts, and there were just far too many cooks spoiling the broth.
I had far too much advice that wasn’t actually complete advice because it was just little tastes and ideas of things on free channels, so I was getting very distracted by the noise.
What I ended up doing was I chose a mentor that I paid, and three people that I loved following who I felt were aligned with the direction my business was going in.
Then I tuned out everything else.
I physically went and unsubscribed from all the newsletters, unfollowed them on YouTube, and unsubscribed on the podcasts app.
I just kept the number of people giving me advice to a nice solid number.
Select your mentors.
You might have two mentors that you work with paid – a strategy mentor and a mindset mentor.
Then you have a couple of podcasts that you listen to (perhaps the Heart-Centred Business Podcast *wink*), and you stick with those.
Start tuning out all of the other stuff.
Not necessarily in my case because I’m very mindful about telling you about shiny new things, but in most instances, they’re trying to present you with something that’s shiny and new. They’re sending you off with a bunch of different things to try so that you will need their help to implement them.
That’s the point for most people of having a free podcast or a YouTube channel.
It’s a lead generation strategy.
It’s in their best interest to tell you all these different things that you have to try, making you feel like you have a bunch of things you have to do and need their help to work through it.
It works if that’s the only person that you’re following.
You’re getting all this advice, you start getting those things sorted, then you decide you need a mentor to support you with this so you go and work with that one person.
What they DON’T take into consideration is that that’s one person in an ecosystem of people that you’re listening to.
What ends up happening is you’ve got all of these conflicting ideas. One person tells you webinars are the way to go, and another person tells you that webinars are dead. One person says five-day challenges are the highest converting, and another person says webinars are the highest converting.
You just end up with a bunch of different (and often conflicting) advice, and eleventy-billion shiny objects to chase around the internet.
Rather than chasing a bunch of shiny objects and having a very noisy newsfeed of what you should be doing and what you should be trying, be clear on who your mentors are, and then tune out the noise.
That means when you see an ad for a webinar from a new mentor and they’re talking about another shiny object, you can remind yourself that you’re still working on implementing a strategy with someone else. You don’t need anything else right now.
If that other training is still appealing to you once you’re done with what you’re working on, it will probably come up in your newsfeed again.
There is no such thing as a limited-time opportunity to work with someone that will never be repeated again. Sure, the price of something might go up, but you’ll be making more money then so you’ll be able to pay more money. Or the spaces might be limited for this year, but you’ve already got something you’re doing this year, so you can wait for next year.
Nothing is as limited as the market would make you feel.
It is limited to me.
Select your mentors, tune out the noise, and practise being really focused on implementing and seeing one core strategy through at a time.
Hopefully, those three big tips help you manage that frustrating learning curve:
1. Be patient and kind to yourself
2. You don’t need to be an expert in all the things or be on all of the platforms
3. Select your mentors and tune out the noise and shiny objects
I hope that’s helped you feel a little calmer and you’ve got some strategies to make that frustrating learning curve a little less frustrating.
If you’re looking for more direction on how to fast-track your way through the growth of your business, I have a great free training for you.
It’s called Fast-Track Your Business.
This is my free training that goes for just over an hour. It helps you to focus down on what’s income-generating, what’s most important when starting your business and making sales, and what’s not important and can wait until later. Hopefully, that training also helps you to work through that frustrating learning curve.
Grab this free training here: CLICK ME
As always, feel free to come on over to the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group and share any lightbulb moments or questions you have using #podcastaha and the episode number (314).
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.