6 Lessons from 7 Years in Business

From PA in London.

To Digital Nomad.

To homeowner in Spain: 7 years and 17 countries later.

EEK this month I’m celebrating 7 years in business – and it’s been quite the journey!!

I’ve been looking back at the steps I’ve taken and it’s been quite the roller coaster to get to where I am now.

Actually, I’ve just got back from a swim in the sea, which is within walking distance of my house (pinching myself again!), so where I am is feeling pretty good right now!

Until I start doubting myself again….Yes, the struggle is real, even more so when you achieve some of your biggest life goals (or so it seems!)

The reality is it hasn’t been a straight road to get here so I thought it might be useful to share my journey of the massive entrepreneurial “road trip” I have found myself on!

I’ve shared the 6 lessons I learned so that you can fast track your own journey to living your version of a BIG life.

Right now I am 100% in love with my business, I am lucky to attract THE most amazing clients and I’ve been living my dream life (which includes a business that supports me financially to travel the world as and when I desire AND buy a home in Spain) since March 2015.

Seriously – I can’t believe I am typing these things.

Here’s the route I took to get to where I am:

June 2012 – Started my own business as a Virtual Assistant. Had one big desire – to be able to work from anywhere in the world. The ultimate in freedom. I knew exactly how to support my clients as I had been an Executive PA for 17 years! So I networked, built my business to not quite what I was earning in my J.O.B and ended up feeling…..super unfulfilled!!

There was no significant investing in myself during this period. My business was lean……and…..not playing to my personality or my strengths at all.

July 2014 – Changed direction in my business and started supporting women in business to be more productive (this sounds a lot easier than it actually was!). I had no clarity but knew my Virtual Assistance business was not my dream business. I felt stuck because I also believed that I had zero skills!! (true story).

Hired my first business coach, and was catapulted into the online “underworld”.

From 2012 to 2014 I had been in my own bubble, I had NO IDEA that this online underworld even existed. I can remember this moment so well – it blew my mind!

The online world. Totally amazing, totally exciting – and serious information overload!

October 2014 – Joined my first high-level Mastermind – my biggest investment in myself and my future. Found myself surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs who I am truly grateful for, some of these amazing ladies still support me now. They have seen the hustle (and the heartache!) so it’s a very special relationship.

Being surrounded by like-minded women was a total game changer for me and is one of the reasons the Wildly Successful Society exists.

We can’t do this journey alone.

January 2015 – Started building my newsletter list with my first ever 5-day Productivity Challenge (I cringe at the videos now!) also created my Free FB Group Productivity Boosters for Female Entrepreneurs which now has over 7,000 members.

Created a business mantra to help me get out of my own way – #ImperfectAction Is better Than No Action – I whispered this to myself all day long, day in, day out until it was my default.

February 2015 – Split up with my boyfriend, sold most of my belongings and became “location independent”, a Digital Nomad, a laptop entrepreneur!

Kicked this off with a business retreat in Bali hosted by Natalie Sisson, THE Suitcase Entrepreneur and met some more like-minded business buddies, some of whom I have since met up with around the world, we have rented villas and apartments together in London, Paris, Thailand, Bali, Portugal and Costa Rica so far!

March 2015 – I class this as the ‘experimentation phase’ for my business, this went on for about 12 months. Learned lots about building an online business and practised different messaging and marketing techniques, offerings, packages to grow my coaching business and find out what really gets my client’s effortless results.

My #ImperfectAction mantra served me really well here.

I invested in myself, I hired coaches, bought the courses, was in masterminds and did lots of personal development. I was really committing to making a successful business that lit me up AND made a difference.

September 2015 – Created my first online group program and ran it as a pilot with 12 women. My first launch and my first ever webinar!

October 2015 – Travelled to Australia to attend a business retreat hosted by Denise Duffield-Thomas and Victoria Gibson. Two super amazing and inspiring women. They suggested I start charging in US dollars as my audience was so global. I did as I was told (they know a thing or two about success!!). So if you wondered why I charge in US$ – this is why! #globalaudience

2016 – Worked from 9 different countries, had my first 10k+ month, attended conferences for some face to face action, and joined another mastermind. Met more amazing and like-minded women. Also kept experimenting with my message and offerings, getting clearer and clearer.

The big shift here was that I went on a bit of a learning ban. I unsubscribed from all the noise in my inbox, I stopped signing up to webinars and listening to podcasts and instead I put my head down and focused on my own business (instead of watching what everyone else was doing!).

I stayed in my own lane!

This was intentional and also pretty powerful for me and showed how my confidence had grown – to let go of watching what everyone else was doing and just focus on my own game.

I wrote more about my learning ban here.

2017 – Became an International Speaker. Had my first 20k+ month.

I am no longer in the experimentation stage! (edit: I will always be in the experimentation phase. That’s called growth!!).

I knew how to get results for my clients, I knew what worked and I knew how I enjoyed delivering my content and supporting my clients. Next focus – refining, improving and scaling.

That was my 2017 reality because I had given myself permission prior to this to take massive imperfect action (probably the only thing I was consistent at if I’m honest!) and allowed myself to experiment along the way knowing each ‘experiment’ would get me more clarity.

2018 – Achieved another massive goal and bought an apartment in Malaga, Spain. After 3+ years as a Digital Nomad, I was craving having a home base again (some of you may remember the shelves story!!).

2018 ended up being a bit of a maintenance year for my business as it turns out achieving your dream to buy a home again is somewhat more challenging than I realised. So that year ended up being very much about me going inwards to heal some of my own stories that were no longer serving me and focusing on maintaining rather than growing my business.

Growth is painful. Achieving dreams is confronting!!

2019 – Another shift in energy came this year. After 2018 and the “inner” roller coaster I’d been on in I decided I needed to surround myself with some serious business women again so I joined a year-long mastermind in January. This has been my biggest investment yet.  It’s stretched me financially and emotionally and that’s exactly what I needed!

My business needed me to step up. I was the one stopping it from growing even more.

I had been so focused on creating a freedom business that I was left feeling really disconnected from it, it was time to dive back in and find the fire again.  Bring on the next evolution of the entrepreneurial road trip!

My goals have moved from being about me (wanting to travel the world with a thriving business) into being more mission-based. This feels incredibly motivating. It’s now about the women I can help, their dreams I can help bring to life, (whilst staying true to my own lifestyle goals and values).

Here’s my mission if you’re interested:

To inspire women to build a profitable online business (on THEIR terms) so that they can live a life of freedom and adventure.

Basically, I want to empower more women to #LIVEBIG, on their terms.

To wrap this mega-post up…

My business has supported me financially to live a life of freedom and adventure (on my terms) for almost 7 years.

I’ve grown a global community of amazing and incredible women all stepping up to the life they desire.

I’ve spoken on stages around the world.

I am in the process of writing a book.

I do all this without working 40 hour weeks.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2019 and beyond brings because I get the feeling it’s going to be another transformational one.

The last 7 years have been one hell of a roller coaster, and I’m prepared for what’s to come because if there is one thing I know it’s that what got me here is NOT what’s going to get me to where I’m going!

6 Things I learned along the way that you need to know

Lesson 1 – We can’t do this alone!

I have invested in myself, a lot. I have surrounded myself with like-minded women (and because that has been such an important part of my own journey, I have created that for my clients with the Wildly Successful Society, my signature membership and the Live Big Mastermind for those ready to really unleash themselves). It’s way easier doing this together. I’m pretty sure that building a lifestyle business is the biggest personal development journey we can ever go on.

Lesson 2 – It’s ok to not have clarity

Back when I hired my first coach, I was totally STUCK. With a VA business that just didn’t light me up, I had no idea what my next step was.

I had zero clarity and it SUCKED being in that place. One of my amazeballs entrepreneur friends, Cat, sent me a message after one of our catch-ups:

“With action comes clarity”.

So I took it.

Messy, uncomfortable action.

And the clarity started to come.

(Helping my clients find clarity is now one of the big steps I work with them on).

Take action, treat it all like an exciting experiment, and watch the clarity and confidence come flooding in.

Lesson 3 – It’s ok that it feels messy right now

That’s the whole point – you don’t have to have everything lined up and perfect, systems in place, perfect clarity, ducks in a row. You just have to get out there and experiment. (Side note: I treated everything as an experiment, it somehow made it easier for me to give things a go).

I coached clients 1:1 to really find out what they truly needed. I launched pilot programs and various group offerings. I tried different marketing messages. All of this helped me to find out what worked for my clients, and also what lit me up to deliver.

And I was patient knowing all this experimenting was taking me closer and closer to what I was meant to be doing. Which is exactly what is happening for you right now.

Yes, I have systems in place now, but that came later. It’s ok to be wherever you are on your journey.

And guess what? I’m still experimenting, I think we always will be because the online world is constantly changing and we need to keep on top of what is and isn’t working.

Yes, it might feel messy, and quite honestly, everyone else feels the same.  Stop comparing your ‘backstage’ to other people’s social media ‘front stage’, it’s not a fair comparison!

Lesson 4 – You will get in your own way – and you will also get out of your own way too!

At every stage of the journey, I have had a pretty massive limiting belief about something that’s felt really restricting, frustrating and challenging.

I openly share that I have built my business on self-doubt because it’s very true. Here are some examples of personal blocks I have faced:
– Not thinking I had ANY skills to offer
– Thinking I wasn’t good enough
– Thinking everything I offered wasn’t valuable
– Feeling like a fraud
– Thinking my business would always be ‘average’
– Thinking I was going to break my business

I’m proud to say that I blasted through each one of these (not with ease I might add!) and because of that I know I will blast through the next ‘limiting thought’ that shows up for me.

The same is true for you. Trust and keep doing the mindset work.

And surround yourself with women on the same journey who 100% get it (and who will call you out on your nonsense stories!).

Lesson 5 – Embrace Imperfect Action (it’s good for your biz!)

This really is my top productivity tip because it has had the biggest impact on my own journey. All my experiments with different programs and offerings have brought me to where I am today.

I am truly grateful for what Imperfect Action has given me.  Without I am sure I would not even have a business.

I gave myself permission to just give things a go. To embrace the experimentation phase.  This is what will take you to your next level.

Lesson 6 – Big goals freaked me out so I didn’t set them

I took it one month at a time – set a monthly goal, took the steps, slowly started getting clearer on how I could help people. I had no idea what I would be doing 6 months on because I was still figuring it out!

I gave myself permission to not have to know what it looked like in the future, and instead, embrace the experimenting and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. There isn’t a right or wrong way – just take baby steps until things slot into place. Because they will – but you have to take the action.

The goals I am now able to set are way bigger because I learnt that WHO you need to become on a daily basis to achieve the bigger goals is what matters. What thoughts, actions, beliefs do you need to embody?

It’s not always about achieving the goal, but who you need to BE on a daily basis to be in with a chance of achieving it.

Your habits WILL create your future.  So make sure you have some good ones!

YOU are here to make an impact.

And that’s a wrap – wow that was an epic post.I really hope it’s helped – wherever you are on your journey, please know I understand, I have been there, and not so long ago, which means I am a great person to support you because I can still feel the emotion that you are currently experiencing and I can share how I blasted through whatever stage you’re at in biz.

Keep going, and know there is light at the end of the tunnel and that you should NOT attempt the entrepreneurial road trip alone, it’s quicker with support!

It’s time for you to embrace the experiment, take imperfect action, get support from people who have already done what you want to do and….trust yourself. You CAN reach your next level in business and the above 6 lessons are a great place to start.

I would love to support you on your journey to living bigger (on your terms) – book in for a chat here if you’re feeling ready to invest in your growth game.

Love Jo x

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