What I Learned From Two Years of Running a Business


Photo by Krista Kankula on Unsplash


I’ve been in business for two years now.


Looking back on the last two years is an interesting exercise, especially if I think of what I expected my business to look like when I first started.


Looking back makes me feel both incredibly proud and a little disappointed. In some ways, my expectations weren’t met. In other ways, this journey has been far better than I could have imagined.


Here’s how my expectations have stacked up to reality:


Expectation


I hoped that by now, I would have replaced my previous income. My big ambition when I started was to make more money in the business than I could have by getting a job with my MBA in the corporate world.


Reality


I haven’t reached that goal. I’ve learned that it takes TIME and costs money to build a business from scratch. And I’ve learned the hard lesson that revenue and profits aren’t the same thing. I have no regrets about this business, and I think it was a great long-term decision financially (and for a ton of other reasons too), but using the opportunity cost of an MBA salary as a metric for success has only caused me grief.


On the flip side, though, every dollar I earn by building something on my own means so much more. And the chance I have to create economic opportunity for my team and create value beyond myself is a huge benefit I didn’t anticipate.


Expectation


I thought the mechanics of running a business would be the hardest stuff to learn.


Reality


Learning how to become the type of person I need to be to build this business is FAR more difficult than any technical task.


Expectation


I thought my clients would be like a series of different bosses.


Reality


It started out that way, but it wasn’t long before my clients became my friends and strategic partners as we all build businesses together. AND I got the opportunity to be a leader and provide proactive value in those relationships rather than taking orders.


Expectation


I thought it might be possible to build a business without failure.


Reality


I’ve learned that failure is not just a risk, but an absolute guarantee when you build something new...and it’s a sign that you’re growing. Every time I figure out something, it’s time to stretch to the next milestone.


Expectation


I thought I’d be tempted to go back to the relative predictability and security of a traditional job.


Reality


I don’t think I can ever go back. The challenge and the growth - everything I’ve learned and built - has been more fulfilling than I ever expected or hoped.


And the freedom to be Averee’s primary caregiver at the same time is a dream come true.


I’d love to hear from you - what has been the biggest surprise for you in building a business?

Until next week,


Ashlee

Contact

ashlee@asquaredonline.com

406-351-0830

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