Perhaps you’re side hustling right now or dreaming about launching a business. Maybe you’re feeling lost. Business pulls our insecurities to the surface like splinters after a day of woodworking.  

Many of us got into transformation work to help others and make  meaning in the world. But adding price lists, invoices and spread sheets can be disorienting. When things don’t grow it’s hard. But when they do grow it’s a different kind of hard. 

In 2018 we worked hard, prayed a lot, devoured any content we could get our hands on and expanded from a measly team of one (yeah, that’s me) to a team of eight strewn across the country. We’re learning things the best (and hardest) way available to us; through experience. I hope you can learn from my biggest takeaways about business this year.

Clarify! Clarify! Clarify! Don Miller and the team at Story Brand have it right; “if you confuse, you’ll lose.” Simplifying is hard work, but necessary work. Peel the onion back even if you start to cry. If people don’t clearly know why you exist and what you do they’ll never follow you. 

Work ON the business, not just in it. It’s easy to sucked into the whirlwind of doing the work, especially with a side hustle. But we must be intentional to rise above the everyday tasks to focus on vision, strategy and and culture. Mondays make you anxious, Wednesdays bury you in tasks and Fridays make you forget what you set out to do in the first place. As you work in the business you can’t afford not to also work on it.   

Create a call to action. Keep leading the way with relevant content, but create frequent calls to action. Clearly ask people to take a next step. Imagine they’re hungry to do whatever you say, but they have no idea what you want them to do.  

Invest in people…always! We got into what we’re doing because we want to help people. Reciprocity is real. Whenever our team has been generous with time and money somehow it comes back to us. Generosity is one of our values. It’s also fun to watch! People share and refer others. When humans sense care and investment we want to give back. Remember, all investments are about delayed gratification, so it won’t come back to you over night or quite how you think it will. 

Persistence wins. When you work hard week after week on the right things you’re going to see growth. Period. Your passion for people will grow. Your experience will grow. Your knowledge will grow. Your wins will probably even grow too. Keep showing up and putting in the work. Most people quit far too soon. 

Be you. In relationships and business people are looking for authenticity. They want you to be uniquely you, not a crappy version of someone else. Take the risk of choosing to live and lead your relationships and business as you’re designed to. 

Team is the game-changer. You will have to possess individual work ethic, but if you want to see sustained impact invite a team in. Even if you’re starting with a few friends helping you or asking for wise counsel don’t try to do it alone. Team allows you to accomplish more things and different things than you could alone.  

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Journal through these questions… 

What specific changes do you need to make to how you live and lead? 

When will you do this? 

How will you do this?