Over the weekend, FocusCopy celebrated its 1 year in business (August 15, 2020).
And it’s been one heck of a year!
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 20% of entrepreneurs fail in their first year of business. If it’s a first-time entrepreneur or a woman-owned business, then the success rate dwindles even further. Additionally, COVID-19 has put many companies out of business (over 60,000).
Theoretically, it should have put us out too.
But with the odds stacked against us and with our incredible clients and partners, we’re standing here today – stronger than when we started and looking to grow further.
If you’re a first-time business owner or a serial entrepreneur, don’t be bound by those statistics.
6 Lessons We Learned In Our First Year in Business
Here are a few lessons that we learned in our first year of business that are too good not to share with you.
1. Surround Yourself With Other Entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurial loneliness is a real thing, and I’m so thankful that I learned that lesson during my time in the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship. Very quickly after launching FocusCopy, I surrounded myself with clients and partners that were truly invested in my and FocusCopy’s success. It made all the difference in the world.
When I had a question about anything, they had answers.
They found opportunities for us that we didn’t know existed.
When I needed emotional support, they encouraged me.
They wanted to see me and FocusCopy grow and succeed.
2. Celebrate Every Win.
At every milestone (even the most seemingly insignificant ones), we celebrated. Because I acknowledged and celebrated every “win”, I woke up more energized to surpass my client’s expectations. It made working 12-16 hour days a walk in the park. Celebrating every win allowed me to be grateful and sustain ourselves in this marathon that is being an entrepreneur.
What were some of our wins?
- Signing the first client
- Seeing that first check hit the bank account (even if it was only $50)
- Closing our first out-of-state client
- Having to order more business cards because I ran out of the first 1,000
- Seeing one of clients have their 2 best months ever in business after their worst month ever due to COVID
- Hiring our first employee
Find it. Mark it. Celebrate it.
3. Say “Yes” Then Figure It Out Later.
From the very foundation, this was one of our company values, and it still rings true today. When a client asks for something, always always say “yes”. You never know what it’s going to lead to – a bigger deal, a lesson learned, a new business partnership.
Create a willingness to just say “yes”. Yes, it will be scary. Yes, you may be in uncharted waters.
But if you never say “yes”, then you’ll never know what could have been.
4. Hire a Bookkeeper.
Thanks to one of my favorite “bosses” and mentors Jim Wilkinson, I learned the importance of accounting early on in my career. Our bookkeeper has been the biggest blessing to FocusCopy’s growth (and to my sanity). Find a bookkeeper – no matter what your size – they can help you keep your books clean, help you celebrate your growth, and find your opportunities to optimize your financials.
If you aren’t an expert in a particular area, outsource it. Just like a bookkeeper isn’t an expert in copywriting, a copywriter doesn’t need to be an expert in or do their own bookkeeping. In the same way, a copywriter doesn’t need to be a graphic artist or vice versa.
5. Work With Clients Who Want To See You Succeed.
We have the best clients! I say it all the time. One thing that I didn’t expect starting my own business is that my clients would be as invested in my business as I was in theirs.
Every meeting, my clients would ask (and want to know) how business was going.
They would even refer business to us because they knew the value we bring and they wanted both their colleagues and us to succeed.
To my clients, thank you for your unending support and love! It means the world to me and my team!
6. Listen Closely.
Keep your ear to the ground and listen for what’s happening – in the world, with your clients, and with your client’s clients.
A mentor once told me to look in the most unlikely places to find what you need to be a great entrepreneur.
This advice is what I attribute our ability to pivot so quickly after the quarantine to hit. As a result, we were able to not only grow ourselves, but help clients come back from their worst month ever in business or come back from what should have looked like bankruptcy. Every single one of our clients are not only surviving, but truly thriving!
It’s been an absolute blessing to be part of that.
We’re so excited for what the next year holds for FocusCopy. Plans are in place; now we need to execute them!
Be In The Know.
Starting August 24, 2020, FocusCopy will be sending out a bimonthly newsletter with what we’ve learned, what we’re seeing in the marketplace, and copywriting tips that will be a game changer for your sales growth.