9 Business Lessons I’ve Learned In 2018

I’ve just completed this very useful End Of Year Review from the No Bull Business School, so I’m currently in a reflective mood.

I saw this review being shared by a few accounts online last week, and it was pointed out that appraisals/reviews (usually) happen as standard when you work for someone else, therefore it’s really important to take the time to follow the same practice when you’re self-employed.

It’s MORE important, actually, to do it when you’re self-employed, because if you ain’t on the right track and/or learning as you go, then no-one’s going to come and save your bacon. Sorry to break it to you.

(I’m in a strange mood today, so apologies in advance if my words sound harsher than usual, or not as ‘me’. It’s exactly one week to go until Christmas yet I’m feeling quite un-festive, if I’m honest: I’ve got a lingering, heavy head cold that will not shift and a toddler who has had several crappy nights’ sleep on the trot and I might as well be the The Grinch. Not that I’ve seen The Grinch.

Which has reminded me of why I might be feeing un-festive: I still haven’t watched Love Actually or Elf this year! *Immediately writes ‘Watch Love Actually and Elf’ at the top of to-do list*)

Anyway, I’ll put those small violins away and get back to business.

The EOY Review covers personal and work life, and prompts you to look at highs and lows and where you want to focus your energies next year. I highly recommend it.

It led me to think about what I’ve learned over the last twelve months and what I want to take from those learnings into 2019.


1.You can do anything but not everything

I saw this on an Instagram meme the other day and it came as a useful reminder for a couple of reasons.

I DO subscribe to the ‘you can do anything you put your mind to’ school of thought, mostly. Unless my old foe self-doubt is lurking around. Note to self: believe it, believe it, believe it.

HOWEVER. I must also take stock of the fact that this has been my first full year as a mum, and therefore my first full year of working part time.

My time is limited now. I am very lucky that I have childcare but I must be realistic with what I can achieve in the 20 Ted-free hours I have during the week (not including evenings and weekends).

I know this will sound like a lot to some mums, and I feel a responsibility to use this time as productively and prudently as possible. I’m still learning about how best to ‘juggle’. (And I know it’s a conundrum that is never solved but one that just needs to be managed without falling down the hole of mum guilt / work guilt / life guilt.)

Action for 2019 (for me, but you are welcome to follow suit):

Break down time into 2-hour slots and always plan work days properly, in advance. And tell guilt to go do one, already.


2.Don’t rely on only one or two income streams

If I’m completely honest, this has been quite a tough year regarding work – see above re: the first full year of part time working, but also, because I’ve lost two regular pieces of work.

This, as a business owner, is not the best, obviously.

They were both gigs that I’d had for several years and that probably came to a natural end and ones that, if I’m honest, I wasn’t 100% happy with anyway, yet I relied on them to keep things ticking over in between bigger jobs.

Without them, I’ve lost a safety net.

However, I’m taking it as a positive. Not having them has forced me to look at what work I DO want, and given me a kick up the bum to make it happen.

Over time, I aim to develop a handful of income streams so that if one or two suddenly disappear, it wouldn’t be a huge disaster. Creating passive income streams – those which aren’t reliant on the whims of clients, or on me doing endless amounts of work – are also going to be a focus for me this year.

Action: Look at diversifying my income streams and put plans in place to make it happen.


3.Self-doubt is negated by ACTION

When I was setting up The Standout Set, I wrote about the danger of self-doubt when working for yourself, and I’ll admit I’ve experienced it again this year – during days when I’ve sat in my office at home, and worried about publishing a blog post, or creating The Standout Set, or sending a particular pitch email.

I read this the other day by the writer Jamie Varon, and it really struck a chord.


jamie varon quote

Action: whenever self-doubt creeps in, acknowledge it and then DO SOMETHING. Send the email, publish the blog post, arrange a meeting. JFDI.


4.Be consistent

Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.

(As long as you want to, obviously.)

I’ve talked a lot this year about wanting to write more. Lo and behold, I guess I really need to actually write more, eh?

And to keep doing it. Even when it feels like no-one gives a crap.

Especially when it feels like no-one gives a crap.

Action: Be consistent. Keep showing up. ‘Be a disciplined half-ass’ – one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books I read this year, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It means stop striving for perfection and instead keep on creating. Amen.


5.Always bring value

Because I often write in a ‘diary’ style, I sometimes question whether my writing – both on this blog and on Only Teethin’ – is useful to anyone, or whether it’s just cheap therapy for me, ho ho.

I hope that in self-monitoring, I at least provide value most of the time. I hope that by writing about my own challenges and successes, I can help other people. One can but try, eh?

Action: Continue to self-monitor and try to provide information and/or entertainment in all output!


6.Moving sideways is still moving

I’ve jumped about quite a bit this last year, unsure of what path I want to take with my career. The biggest mistake I probably made was staying stuck and not having the guts to go with my, er, gut.

I started writing Only Teethin’ about parenting, and then decided I wanted to write about entrepreneurship, and then decided I wanted to set up The Standout Set… it all took time and I definitely went backwards first, before going forward.

But any progress is still progress.

Oh, and here’s a bonus cheesy quote, but again it is very true:


See above re: consistency.

Action: Just keep moving, creating. Don’t be afraid of failure.


7.What other people think of you is none of your business

Exactly that. Don’t worry about what other people think, cos they sure as heck aren’t worrying about you.

Action: This one’s pretty self-explanatory.  


8.If your path feels uncomfortable, that’s OK – it’s meant to

Another thing I read on the old interwebs the other day, written by author Brianna Wiest. Basically, if you’ve decided to ‘go it alone’ and work for yourself and not go down the traditional path of traditional employment, you can’t expect things to be straightforward, at least not 100% of the time.

It’s part of the magic, honestly.

*She says, while rocking backwards and forwards, laughing manically*

brianna wiest quote

Action: Embrace the discomfort, and trust that it will all come good with time.


9.Be kind to yourself

I can be my own worst enemy. I am terrible at giving myself time off. I often sit down on an evening and say I’m getting an early night and instead I look at my phone and think about my to-do list and it’s suddenly 9pm and I have neither worked nor relaxed. Madness.

Action: Take regular breaks and be much nicer to myself.

And there we have it! I think that’s me done for 2018, so I’ll see you in the New Year. Bye for now x

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Hello, I'm Laura. I write about parenting, life, style, building a business and finding success on your own terms.

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