People pleasing, pivoting & prioritising: 3 valuable life lessons from my first year in business
Updated: 6 days ago
This week marks exactly one year since I took on my very first client. And what a year it’s been.
From being fully booked within two months of launching my business, to almost losing it all when Covid-19 struck. To say 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions is an understatement.
So as I get all nostalgic over the last 12 months and the events that have led me to this point, I thought I’d share three valuable life lessons I’ve learnt from starting my own business.
Lesson 1: People-pleasing pleases no-one
When I first started, I would say yes to (almost) anything.
Responding to late-night messages, constantly working on days off…boundaries? What are they, again?
Coming from the corporate world, I was used to long hours and working my butt off to make the people at the top happy. But if I’m truly honest with myself, I think those people-pleasing tendencies were a reflection of my self-esteem.
At the time, I was just super grateful that after an extended maternity leave people still wanted to hire me. I know, right…despite having 15 years of marketing and PR under my belt I still had major imposter syndrome.
Thankfully I’ve been able to iron out these unhelpful habits. After a few coaching sessions with the lovely Helen, fabulous Natalie Trice, and my wonderful husband Gav (often on a random weekday night with a glass of wine in hand), I started to realise my worth and have put some healthy boundaries in place.
I should also say that these people also gave me the push I needed to make a slight pivot into freelance PR & copywriting possible – which feels a much better fit. So thank you all for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself 😊
Lesson 2: Three is the magic number
As much as I hate to admit it, I am not superwoman. But knowing this fact still doesn’t stop me from setting wildly ambitious daily goals and feeling like it all should have been done yesterday.
Something I've found super useful in keeping me focussed on my top priorities is making a list of three things I want to get done for that day. From creative copywriting tasks to doing the weekly shop, it all goes in the little black book I keep on the kitchen counter. I tackle this first and anything else I have time to do is a bonus.
Lesson 3: Keeping a positive mindset and your ‘why’ is the key to resilience
A couple of years ago, I’d have scoffed at the idea of doing mindset work. But it has been a gamechanger for me and my business.
Little tweaks like getting out for a walk in the countryside and taking through my worries helps stop things from escalating and puts things into perspective.
I also use a simple cognitive behavioural exercise (CBT) called Thought Challenging which helps stop the negative spiral if you're having a bit of a tough day. I also make a conscious effort to remind myself of 'my why' - the reason why I created Hawthorn House PR in the first place. This is to help other women grow their businesses and reach new audiences through the power of PR, whilst also sustaining a work/life balance for me and my young family.
I’ve been bowled over by the support from family, friends, clients and peers…even strangers on the internet over the past year. There is still a long way to go until I’m where I want to be in my business but I’m super grateful for how far I’ve come and for every single person who has supported me in some way.
I'd love to know if any of this resonates with you or what you've learned most about yourself since starting your business, so let me drop me a dm or message below with your thoughts.