Celebrating One Year As A Solopreneur: Lessons Learned + Looking Ahead

Well friends, here we are. December 1, 2016. One year ago today, I launched Sweet Tea, LLC with a spark of an idea and hope for a way out of a mind-numbing job I despised.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or what the first year in business had in store for me. It's been one heck of a journey, so today, on the first anniversary of Sweet Tea, LLC's existence, I wanted to share several of the lessons learned along the way, plus give you a sneak peek of what's in store in 2017.

Plus, I have a present for you. I mean, it's not roses or anything, but it is a free workbook called "The Big Goal Guide". CLICK HERE TO GET IT.

Being a solopreneur is both amazing, and incredibly stressful. On the one year anniversary of launching my business, I'm reflecting on the first year in business and sharing what I've learned, plus giving you a peek at what's to come.
Being a solopreneur is both amazing, and incredibly stressful. On the one year anniversary of launching my business, I'm reflecting on the first year in business and sharing what I've learned, plus giving you a peek at what's to come.

In case this happens to be the first blog post you've ever read here on Sweet Tea, LLC, allow me a moment of reflection - you know, just to get you up to speed. {I'd hate for our friendship to be built on the false assumption that my business was an overnight success.}

A QUICK STORY OF THE ORIGINS OF SWEET TEA, LLC

I actually started blogging in 2010, mostly sharing my family activities, craft projects, and home decor with my readers. I rebranded my original blog back in 2014, and now I manage a team of contributors on Sweet Tea & Saving Grace.

Somewhere in the first year of blogging, I started an email list using MailChimp. I quickly fell in love with the engagement I received, and the personal connection I had with my readers. I also fell in love with the techie side of both blogging and MailChimp, and after a couple years, I started writing the occasional post on something blog-related.

To make a long story short, I decided to attempt to be a virtual assistant for other bloggers. While scheduling social media and working the linky party scene wasn't my forte, email marketing was. I fine-tuned my service offerings to be more email focused, and voila! Here we are!

YEAR ONE BY THE NUMBERS

44: The number of one-on-one clients I've had the pleasure of working with this year.

98: The number of blog posts I've published on the blog. This doesn't include the half dozen or so guest posts on other people's blogs.

1,689: The number of engaged and loyal email subscribers who continue to help my business grow.

926: The number of amazing bloggers in the Blog Fuel Facebook group.

5: The number of blog conferences at which I had the honor of speaking.

14: The number of live webinars and workshops I've hosted.

5,290: The number of downloads during the first season of the Blog Fuel podcast.

1: Amazing year :) I am very blessed.

LESSONS LEARNED FROM ONE YEAR AS A SOLOPRENEUR

I think some people glamorize being in business for themselves before they actually attempt to be in business for themselves. Being a solopreneur is not for the faint of heart, and definitely not for the lazy. But if you have the drive and a solid work ethic, the rewards are worth it.

#1 - You are the wearer of all the hats.

Holy crap, man. You are the Customer Service department, the IT department, the Help Desk, the Human Resources department, the Accounting department... You are your business, in every way, shape, and form.

While being a solopreneur is amazing a good chunk of the time, it sucks other times. When you have those {thankfully rare} clients who abuse your time, you have to suck it up. When you have that {again, thankfully rare} community member who just doesn't understand the directions you've provided 187 times, you have to suck it up, buttercup.

And, when you have to pay taxes....it stings...and you have to suck it up, buttercup. Being in business for yourself ain't all sunshine and lollipops, my friend. You have to grow a thick skin and learn to bite your tongue...sometimes extra hard.

[bctt tweet="Being a #solopreneur means you are the wearer of all the hats. It's not for the faint of heart." username="sweettea_llc"]

#2 - You'll have more ideas than time.

Being a solopreneur allows you the creative freedom to tackle any and all of your ideas. You can try whatever you think might work, and if it doesn't, oh well. On to the next idea!

Figuring out which idea to work on, however, can be an overwhelmingly difficult task. For the first few months, I would literally do pretty much whatever idea was fresh in my head at the time. Then I'd remember that I was supposed to be working on something else, and I'd feel anxious and crazy and out of control.

While we all have the same 24 hours as Beyonce, we don't all have bajillions of dollars and an endless supply of assistants. I've learned to do more planning prior to launching an idea, and a lot more time marketing instead of just breathing something into existence and hoping it would work.

The result? Less crazy, more success. Happier Kirsten. :)

#3 - You meet & collaborate with the coolest people.

I've made the best connections through my business, and made some lifelong friends, too. Through my podcast, blog conferences, and social media, I've been able to connect with, and sometimes collaborate with, some of the smartest people on the web.

Brianne Dosier, Erin Shebish, Mariah Tomkinson, Kayla Hollatz, Heather Brown, Kirsten Oliphant...to name a few. These women are smart and inspiring, and they merely scratch the surface of the list of people I've connected with over the past year.

As a solopreneur, you might be in business on your own, but you're definitely not alone.

[bctt tweet="Being a #solopreneur doesn't mean you are alone. Epic collaborations are hidden benefits!" username="sweettea_llc"]

#4 - You have no idea what you can accomplish.

When I started blogging in 2010, I never anticipated that I'd make even $1 through my blog. As my original blog grew, however, I realized there are ways to monetize, so I did.

When I started working with clients, I had no idea that I'd eventually do that as my full-time job, but now I do. A year ago, a podcast wasn't on my radar, but Blog Fuel was launched this past summer and was a huge success. A year ago, I never imagined I'd create and launch a course that would be so successful that I'd see my first $10,000 month, but it happened. A year ago, the thought of hiring an assistant was not only not on my radar, but was laughable at best. Now I have one.

Starting a business shows you what's possible. The more risks you take, the more confident you become of your abilities and your intelligence, and the more successful you'll be.

ONE YEAR LATER...WHAT'S NEXT?

If 2016 was any sign of what's to come, 2017 is going to be HUGE! I'm excited to share just a few of the things I've got planned.

Blog Fuel Podcast Season 2

blog-fuel-season-2-preview
blog-fuel-season-2-preview

Season 2 of the Blog Fuel podcast kicks off on Friday, January 13, 2017! I'm bringing on a special cohost for the new season, and we'll both be tackling topics that come up in each of our Facebook groups. We will occasionally have a guest here and there, as well.

#BlogFuel on Instagram

I've created daily prompts for bloggers and bosses, and you're invited to join in on the fun! Instagram is a powerful social media tool, and a great way to connect with others in your niche. In addition to each daily prompt, I'll be featuring someone who has used the #BlogFuel hashtag every Friday! Be sure you're following me on Instagram to get the full list of January prompts, coming in a couple weeks!

Atlanta Hangouts

If you're in the Atlanta area, I'm hosting monthly lunch networking events on the second Wednesday of each month starting in January. In addition to our monthly lunches, I'll also be hosting in-real-life workshops throughout the year that are more educational.

More Education

I absolutely LOVE to teach, so I'll be doing lots more of it in 2017. It's kinda my fave thing ever, to be honest. I'll be hosting free live workshops and more webinars (some on my own, some with awesome co-hosts). I've also outlined several courses that will make their debut in 2017. Check out my current courses HERE!

Tech-Know Tuesdays

I've decided to do a sometimes weekly Facebook Live "show" on my Facebook page, and I'm calling it "Tech-Know Tuesdays". {Guess when it happens?} Almost every Tuesday {not every Tuesday, because #life}, I'll be broadcasting live to talk about something related to the technical side of blogging or email, or something great you need to know. Replays will live forever on my Facebook page, and on YouTube.

big-goal-guide-ig
big-goal-guide-ig

I want you to have an epic year, so as our one-year anniversary gift, I created the Big Goal Guide just for you! It's part guide, part workbook, all awesome. Get it. Use it. Make amazing things happen.

Happy Anniversary! Thanks for making this possible!