It’s been over a year since ABC Social Media Management opened for business. From deciding on the name at my kitchen table (check out the story of ABC SMM here!) to building out a roster of 4 management clients and 3-5 strategy clients at any given time, it’s been a busy ride. Not to mention graduating college and focusing on showjumping as well!
As I pass the one-year mark in my business, I’m taking a moment to reflect on what I’ve learned over the last 12 months. Here are 10 of those lessons:
I can’t get rid of the feeling that there’s always something left to do. A big part of my development over the last year has been learning how to manage my time, prioritize and even start delegating. But even with all the time management skills in the world, I can’t complete everything I want to get done right now – it’s just not possible. BUT I have a plan for when I’m going to get it done and I have to get comfortable knowing everything will happen, just not right now.
I am a BIG course girl. I love to learn and read and immerse myself in education. But it took me a little while from when I started ABC SMM to get my first paying client because I was hesitant to put myself out there. I thought I needed to take one more course or read one more book and THEN I’d be ready. But to be honest, nothing prepared me for being a social media manager more than doing the work.
This is where I’m going to disagree with a lot of business coaches (and yes, even ones who have mentored me!). I love the advice to start messy. Some aspects of my business, I did exactly that. But I decided that one of the things I wanted from the beginning was a polished website. Rather than fuss with a template or try to DIY it, I invested in custom website design and I can still say, a year later, I’m obsessed with my website. More important than the website itself was the confidence it gave me to talk to potential clients and market myself. So don’t feel forced to get things or invest because other people tell you to – but if you’re able to, pick one or two things that will really help push you forward and get you further down the road to where you want to go.
As a people pleaser, this one was (and is!) hard for me. I want to make my clients happy. I want them to love the service and feel such a relief that they’re working with me – but not at the expense of my own sanity. I learned early on to set office hours, rules on content edits and revision rounds, and communication channels, and I am so glad I did.
Now, this isn’t to say I’m not flexible with my clients – I am, and I absolutely go above and beyond to get them the results they are seeking. But I preserve the future of my business and my own well-being by protecting my time and energy with boundaries.
Another one for my fellow people pleasers – you literally can’t make everyone happy. You will piss some people off. The first nasty email I got from a client I terminated the relationship with made me very upset – I felt horrible! Over the last year I’ve made peace with the fact that ABC Social Media Management is not right for everyone, I am not right for everyone, and the people who are right for me will find me.
In the same vein, trying to make custom packages for every client you want to help who has specific needs/budgets/processes will drive you crazy and *probably* make you hate your business. I’ve gone down this road and regretted it. Instead, stick to what you offer (while of course offering some flexibility) and allow people to meet you where you’re at.
I have made mistakes with client content, with scheduled posts, with my website, with my engagement strategies, with timing and scheduling – you name it, I’ve probably made some goof or had some hiccup regarding it over the last year. But every time I’ve made a mistake I’ve found a way to learn from it and move forward.
If there is one thing I beg of you to remember from this post – please, if you are going into business, get high-quality, lawyer drafted contracts. They protect you and they protect your clients. Just last month they saved me over $1000 + potential legal fees – and the contract I use costs $450. Talk about an ROI!
P.S. if a client balks at signing a contract, that’s a major red flag.
It took me a while for me to fully grasp this, but the people in your industry are not your competition. They understand what it’s like to do the work you do better than anyone else. They are the people you can collaborate with, network with, and simply vent to when the going gets tough. My social media manager friends are just a DM away when I’m struggling with a content idea or getting frustrated with the latest update – and I do the same for them. Seeing everyone as your competition is quite frankly, exhausting.
Going off the above lesson, connecting with fellow entrepreneurs is the safest way to ensure the longevity of your business. If you don’t have anyone to turn to who gets it, those long days of client work and challenges that come up in running a business suddenly make it very difficult to see the forest for the trees. I have a number of biz friends I met online who make this online business world less lonely and the trials of entrepreneurship a little more bearable. (P.S. Need an online business friend? My DMs are always open!)
The number of times the business strategist I work with has said this is countless – but after a year in business, I FULLY, wholeheartedly cosign it. I thought I was moving so epically slowly at the beginning of my business, and everyone else I admired in my industry was so far ahead. But suddenly, I’m a year in and I have a client roster I’m obsessed with and new social media managers are telling me they look up to ME? Like, what?!
My point is, it’s easy to get stuck in the comparison game – but thinking about what you don’t have or the milestones you haven’t hit yet is a bigggg waste of time. When you take slow, deliberate steps forward you end up moving a lot further than you thought you would.
I hope you found these lessons helpful, and if you’re just venturing into the online business world that they inspire you to keep going.
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ABC Social Media Management® is a Florida-based social media management company serving female entrepreneurs worldwide through comprehensive management and strategy services.