I've Been In Business For 7 Months - So What Have I Learned?

Seven months. The blink of an eye and a lifetime.

When I think back to my mindset of seven months ago, I'm acutely aware of the drastic differences from then to now. Seven months ago, I was freshly unemployed and more than eager to jump into entrepreneurship and claim my small stake in helping the world. I had a computer, internet access, and years of administration experience - I could totally be a virtual assistant, right?! I can just learn the "business" stuff as I go along, right? People do this all the time, how hard can it be, right?

Well, that's not exactly the case. Some things have been a breeze and others not so much. Some of the things I thought would be easy haven't been, and visa versa. There was a two-week period a couple of months ago where I slept and ate little - feeling like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders is not part of a health regime I would recommend. Now before you start thinking that I've regretted this journey, let me assure you that I love a challenge. I know enough people who own businesses to know that it's often a journey filled with long days, stress, sweat, and uncertainty.

So what about the positives of my journey? Surely my life hasn't been all nail-biting and sleepless nights since then? No, far from it! Thankfully living with fear, insecurities, and stress are not natural behaviour patterns for me. I've learned an incredible amount of information over the past few months which I've squeezed into three categories:

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been an on/off practice for a big part of my life, often allowing me to contradict myself from day-to-day, moment-to-moment. Since starting a business, I quickly accepted the fact that the mindful switch has to be on most, if not all, of the time. Being mindful of how my time is spent, how I converse with others in the community, and how accurate my work is honours my relationships. Paying attention to my actions naturally sets boundaries so that I am able to set and meet quality expectations.

Flexibility

There has been few business matters that I'm not willing to negotiate, or at least not reconsider. Being flexible and adaptable to change is a great quality to have. One example of this is some technical training I've been taking over the past six months. I quickly discovered that technical administrative skills are in great demand. Taking this training was always in my business plan but I didn't plan for it to happen until around the one-year mark. Although I didn't have a lot of start-up capital, I made the training a priority as I could see the immense value it would bring to my business.

Passion

I believe that passion will be one of the few factors that will push a business owner to get through the tough times. Yes, stubbornness and sheer determination, and perhaps pride, will help also, but if there's no passion, why bother with the struggle? Will there be anything to be joyful about in the hard times if you don't love what you do? Think about a time when you listened to a person speak about something they were passionate about. Did they have confidence, create excitement, and was their attitude contagious? Inspiring speakers are passionate about what they do and the people they help, and I believe that's a big part of their success!

There are other traits I could speak on, but these three stand out in my mind. I'm still learning the "business" stuff as I go along. I'm being more mindful of my health regimes. I'm keeping my schedule flexible so that I can continue to engage in my technical training in order to better serve my client's needs. I've been planning to start an administrative consulting business for years. My passion to provide exceptional consulting services runs deep, even if times get tough, I'll persevere!

What were some of the lessons you learned in your first few months of business?

Brandi Esler
Owner & Administrative Consultant
A Better Way Virtual Assistant