5 Lessons from my First Year in Business

I’m always stumped when someone asks how long Wild Olive has been a thing. I feel like it should be the easiest question to answer, but I never really know what to say.

 

Did it start last summer when I put in like a million hours to write my first blog posts and design my branding? Did it start when I took my first client call as Wild Olive instead of Lilly Garcia? When my website finally went live? When I got my official Oregon business license?

 

I recently hit an Instagram goal I’d set for Wild Olive a little early, and in happy curiousity, I scrolled all the way down to my first post. It’s the first thing I nervously put out for my business. And it’s dated sometime in October of last year.

 

So even though my website wasn’t ready yet, my first client didn’t come until a few months after, and I’d already been planning for months prior, I’m calling October my Wild Olive anniversary month. It’s been a crazy first year, and here’s what I’ve learned so far:

 

  1. It pays to start right now
    Last October, my little family and I were living in a good friend’s spare bedroom. All our stuff was in storage. We were saying good-byes and getting ready for the 16 hour drive from Las Vegas to Salem, Oregon.
     

    Was I crazy to decide to start a business then? Probably. Did it kinda end up working out anyway? Definitely!
     

    The truth is there’s never a perfect time to jump into something as big as starting a business. Life is never going to pause or magically get easy. But if you start now, you’ll be making progress toward that dream that’s pulling at your heart. You might as well start now, exactly where you are, and figure out how to make it work around your life.
     

  2. It’s ok to change direction
    When I started Wild Olive, I was 100% sure and clear about the kind of work I wanted to do and who I wanted to serve. Everything from my business name to my photo style – my whole brand – was built around that.
     

    So it was ridiculously scary when I realized my heart had changed. I still wanted to serve my crunchy hippy tribe, but I wanted to extend beyond that, too. I realized what I love most about this community is not necessarily their commitment to plastic-free living and holistic wellness. It’s the passion that lies beneath that and guides them in everything they do.
     

    So over the summer, I broadened my scope to include passion-led business owners and entrepreneurs. Because it doesn’t make sense to stay on a path while you’re dreaming of another. Brands change and evolve, and sometimes that happens more quickly than we expected.
     

  3. “Thank you” opens doors
    I am the worst at sending thank you cards and notes. But I bought a stack of cards in January and made a commitment to send them all out by December. Plus, I’ve been working on getting past the awkwardness of not knowing what to write. And it’s been so worth the effort!
     

    After attending The Project, a local business dinner for ladies early this year, I made sure to send thank-you emails out to each of the organizers. It was a complete surprise when one of them wrote back asking if I’d be interested in speaking at the next one!
     

    It turns out not a lot of people send out thank-yous. So all this hard work that people are putting into organizing events or posting inspiring content or creating beautiful photos for you to enjoy goes largely unthanked. Saying thank you makes you stand out instantly and can get you in the door with the people you look up to.  
     

  4. Community is absolutely necessary
    There have probably been more days when I felt like giving up than not. Days when I felt terrible about how much TV my kiddo had watched. Days when I wondered if anyone would ever buy my services. Days when I seriously craved the typical 12-hour work day life of an agency designer.
     

    The only thing that’s kept me from giving up is the amazing support I’ve been blessed with. My husband is my first line of defense and since I know he’s completely on board for this journey, I know I can vent to him and he’ll have words of encouragement. I’ve made it a priority to spend more time with my business BFF because sometimes you just need to talk to someone who gets it. And the best investment I’ve made has been in One Woman Shop membership because the women there are a daily encouraging reminder that I’m not alone.
     

    Get your closest people on the same page and cheering for you. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to other business owners. Chances are, they’re craving that supportive friendship too. And find an online community to remind you that you’re definitely not alone.
     

  5. We’re all winging it
    It may look like all the other businesses you follow have it all together. Like they know exactly what they’re doing. Like they’re raking in the cash and filling pools with it to swim in. But, really, we’re all just winging it.
     

    I hear the same thing from every entrepreneur I talk to. No one really knows if what they’re doing is going to work. Everyone has launches that flop or products that don’t sell. We’re all just trying to make our dreams happen while we figure this stuff out. You’re not alone, friend.

 

Help me celebrate my business anniversary, won’t you? Leave a comment and tell me how long you’ve been in business and which lesson you find most true to you. I’d love to hear your thoughts and learn from your experience.
 

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