Communication Rebel is 8 years old this month! So here are 8 business lessons I've learned these past eight years:
- Business is the biggest personal development exercise ever.
- Become an S Corp. sooner rather than later.
- You need to be selling all the time.
- In time, you will know all you need to know (so stop taking courses).
- Messaging is everything, duh.
- You are your biggest asset.
- It takes longer than you think to build your business.
- Cultivate your support circle.
Tune in or read below as I dive a bit into each of these eight lessons.
Tune into the audio:
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, isn't it?
This is the last episode of the Rebel Rising Podcast for 2019 and for today's episode, I wanted to do a little something different.
It's not just the last episode of 2019, I'm also getting ready to celebrate another business milestone, because you see on December 28th it is my business' birthday and Communication Rebel, or as I called it when I created it eight years ago, Relationally Speaking (I think that was a terrible, terrible name. But Hey, you can always change the name of your business as you develop it).
The business was launched on December 28th, 2011 and in honor of that, I wanted to give you eight business lessons that I have learned throughout these eight rebellious years of business.
So I hope you enjoy this podcast episode and maybe it gives you an aha or two, no matter where you are in your business, whether you're at year one or year 21.
The first big lesson that I've learned in business is that business is the biggest personal development exercise ever.
No one starts a business thinking, “Hey, you know, it'd be awesome to explore all of my deepest, darkest flaws and figure out what's wrong with me and improve those.”
We start our businesses because we want more freedom. We want the ability to make money doing something that we love, something that we're good at, something that will make a difference in the world.
But when we start it, we will see exactly what we need to work on personally. We will see how the stories that we're telling ourselves can hold us back. We'll see how the imposter complex keeps us from taking up the space that we should take up.
I'll talk a little bit more about that later in this episode, but as soon as you can accept that business is not just about business and it's also about your own personal growth, the more successful you and your business will be.
Lesson number two and this one is something I wish I would have done much earlier in my business, become an S Corp.
Now, I am not an accountant, I'm not a CPA. I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. But if you're in the United States, I really believe you should look into becoming an S Corp sooner than you think you should.
I just became one about a year ago. I should have done this three or four years ago and there are a lot of advantages to becoming an S Corp.
There are some protection advantages. There are definitely tax advantages to being an S Corp, but there's also a mindset advantage because an S Corp is basically saying you are not your business.
When I filed that paperwork it felt like oh, Communication Rebel is a separate entity from me, Michelle Mazur. And that felt freeing because you have to learn early on that you are not your business. You don't ask for the sale. Your business asks for the sale. Your business pays taxes, your business has expenses.
Separating yourself from your business for tax purposes, for legal purposes is something you should consider doing sooner than you think you should.
Go and have a conversation with a CPA or lawyer to see if this is the right move for you because it changed a lot in my business and it saved me a lot of taxes. I'll just be real, real honest. I pay a lot less now.
Lesson number three, and this is a lesson that I'm still implementing because I could be way more consistent about this. You need to be selling all the time.
In business, your number one job is not delivering your service or your product. Your number one job is being a salesperson and you should be selling all the time.
I remember the first time I sent a sales email to my list, and this was a long time ago, I was terrified.
I really thought everybody would unsubscribe because I was telling the world what I did. And that was super scary. Here's the thing, if you're not making offers, if you're not telling people how they can work with you, then you're not generating sales. You're not generating cash flow and the lifeblood of your business is your cashflow. It is your revenue.
You have to be selling all the time. I know it can be hard and you might be thinking, but I don't want to be salesy and I don't want to be pushing. And for me, I think the thing that's helped me most is that I know that the 3 Word Rebellion Messaging Intensive is awesome.
I know that it helps people, I've seen people and how they show up on social media. I've seen how they've been able to get clients. I've seen how they've been able to get speaking gigs and on podcast interviews and generate more revenue after working with me.
I know what I have to offer is awesome. And if I'm not selling it, I am not being of service. I am not helping people. I could actually be harming people. So start selling your offers all the time.
I am going to be far more intentional with this in 2020 as well because let's face it, especially women, you women who are listening to me, we have so much mindset crap around sales and money and asking for the sale.
If we truly want to have power, if we truly want to change the world to make a difference, we have to have money, we have to have resources, we have to be able to use those resources to so support political causes to hire people in our businesses. So sell all the time.
I'm here to support you in that and I hope you will support me and hold me accountable in being more intentional.
That also brings me to lesson number four. There will be a time in your business where you will know all you need to know.
You will have taken enough courses, you will have mastered your art, your craft to what you deliver, and you will realize that you are the number one thing standing in the way of the success of your business. For me, this happened, I believe in 2017 I knew I didn't need to learn any more about business like I knew what to do. The problem was I wasn't doing it. And that was a point when I realized I had to get some coaching for me.
I ended up working with Tanya Geisler, who has been on this podcast two times to talk about the Imposter Complex because this is something we all suffer from. If you are a high achiever and you're super hard on yourself and you doubt your capacity, you doubt your ability. You have voices in your head that say things to you that you would never say to your best friend, that's probably the Imposter Complex.
I worked with her for a year to get out of my own way. And as soon as I made that decision, I ended up developing the 3 Word Rebellion framework. Like literally I made the decision to work with Tanya in November and then was able to develop the 3 Word Rebellion framework in that December because it was like that framework was just circling me and was like, I'm here, but I wasn't claiming my power and I wasn't ready to receive it because I wasn't getting out of my own way.
But when I made the decision to, it was like, all right, you're ready. We're going to do this now.
So get out of your own way.
And that brings me tell lesson number five and this one probably won't surprise you. I believe messaging is everything.
I believe communication changes the world and it changes your business.
Developing the 3 Word Rebellion, writing the book, creating the whole entire framework, creating the whole brand messaging platform that I developed for my clients, it really has changed everything in my business. This has been one of the first years where I have been consistently booked up in my business. I have been asked to speak on stages instead of pitching myself. I've had podcast interviews come my way. I've had media opportunities come my way and it's because of the message.
I think that's the key because it is like when you get clear on that message and who it's for and how you're helping and how you're serving, everything does get easier in your business.
Lesson number six, you are the biggest asset in your business.
You need to take care of yourself and you also should have a backup plan if something happens. And I learned this one the hard way.
Several years ago I was on a client call, I was working with one of my speaking clients and all of the sudden (this is going to get into a little TMI area), I had the worst menstrual cramps I had ever experienced in my whole entire life. I don't know what's going on. I just made it through the call and I'm laying on the couch and I'm texting my husband like, man, this doesn't feel right. This doesn't feel normal. And my husband's like, “oh…why don't we go to the doctor when I get home from work and we'll see if they can give you something for the cramping.”
And I said, “oh yeah, that's fine.” And then 30 minutes later I'm texting him and I'm like, I just called the fire department and an ambulance is coming in because this is not right. I'm shaking, I'm sweating, I could barely walk because I was in so much pain.
What had happened was that I had a cyst, a rather large cyst on my ovary and it ruptured, which is I've heard from friends who've had babies and this, that this is like the most painful thing ever.
I get rushed to the hospital. I had client calls and consults that afternoon. They put me on this really strong pain med and I'm in the hospital trying to text my VA while I'm on Dilaudid so she can cancel my calls. I'm waiting for my husband to get to the ER to help me out with like taking care of all the business stuff.
I realize that I don't have a backup plan and so we need to have those backup plans in our business for if something happens to us, you have to have your VA know who your clients are.
That person has to be able to reschedule your calls. Does your husband or partner or spouse have access to your accounts? If something happens to you, what is your backup plan? And not only that, like go to the doctor. As soon as I felt some pain, I should have like stopped my call with my client instead of pushing through and went to the doctor.
We are the assets in our business and we have to take good care of ourselves. We have to get enough sleep, work out, move our bodies, eat well, protect that asset. And if something happens, have a backup plan in place.
Now, lesson number seven, lesson number seven is a lesson that I didn't want to believe when I started my business, but I'm going to give it to you. It takes longer than you think it will to build your business.
We live in this crazy business world where we hear about overnight success and making it to six figures in three months or six seconds or whatever the new advertising is, and it's just not true. I have been in business for eight years and this is the first year where I finally feel like I've hit my stride like I know what I'm doing in this business.
I know how to attract the right clients. I'm better than ever at sales and having sales conversations. I'm ready to build my audience. I have those assets in place and it has taken me eight years to get here. So it takes longer than you think it does and that's okay. It might take you three years or five years or 10 years. It's your journey, so don't let all the bro marketing stuff get in your head. It takes as long as it takes.
And my final lesson for you is get support, get collaborators, surround yourself with people who push you in a good way and who get you and understand you.
There have been so many people who've supported me in my business journey among the years. So Erika Lyremark, Tara McMullin. Recently I worked with Heidi Taylor on my whole sales process. I've, I'm in love with Natalie McGuire who designed the 3 Word Rebellion book and my website. And then I'm in communities like Tara Newman's The Brave Society, which is such a great touchpoint to be around other business owners who are stepping into their leadership. And of course my good friend and mentor, Katya Varbanova, she is amazing and such a powerhouse and a pivotal force in my life. And then I have my good, my good friends, good girlfriends like Rachel Alexandria, who's been a guest on the show and a client and Tracy Warren, like I have all of these amazing people who support this business.
But seriously, but I do have incredible people like Steve Mills who produces this podcast. Haley, who gets this out to you every single week. Dorothea who gives me so much admin support and of course my hubby who gets this business and being an entrepreneur and the three cats who meow and disrupt my podcast whenever I'm trying to do this.
So those are my eight lessons and that's my celebration that I wanted to share with you.
So what's next? Well, in 2020 I'm doubling down on the 3 Word Rebellion and helping rebellious small business owners who are doing something different and innovative, create a brand messaging platform so that their marketing pays off so that they're getting known for their work and getting recognized as experts in their field so that people can find them.
The people who need them aren't paying the big gurus for like $3,500 courses. No, they're hiring the real deal experts because their message is out in the world and they could actually find them because Communication Rebel exists to create the most intriguing and compelling brand messaging that changes hearts, minds, industries, and even the world.
And that is the mission that I am on. In the next year, my hope is to invite another person on this mission with me. I'm hoping I get to hire a message strategist that I can train in my ways. I've been working on my sales system, making it more high touch, being able to generate leads. I've also wanted my sales process to be self-revealing so that people really can learn about messaging and making sure that it's the right next step for them.
I will say if you wanted to work with me, I would do it now because as this business grows, as I bring someone on to do the one on one work that I'm currently doing, I'm going to be mentoring my message strategists.
So if you do want to work with me one-on-one to create your 3 Word Rebellion, your brand messaging platform, do it now. Book a discovery call to see if you and I are a fit.
Just so you know, we are taking the last couple of weeks off of the year to celebrate Christmas and new years with our family and friends.
I'll be back with an all-new episode on Wednesday, January 8th and just so you know, we're changing the publication date of the podcast to Wednesday, mainly because I realize not a lot of podcasts come out on Wednesday and I'm always looking for something to listen to on Wednesday. So I thought, hey, we'll try moving the podcast to Wednesday next year and see if we can get more people listening because only come out on Monday and Tuesday. So we'll give that a go.
So Merry Christmas, happy holiday, happy new year. And I am so excited to see what 2020 holds for you. And for me.