12 Business & Blogging Lessons from My First Year

A Freelancer’s Mantra

Making my first couple thousand in my freelance writing and administrative consultant business has been uplifting and challenging. I’m still not where I need to be financially, but I’m trucking along.

Since Sept. 12th marks my first year in business, here are 12 things I’ve learned along the way.

1) You can bend over backwards, forwards and sideways but some people still won’t like you or completely support you. Ignore them and their content. Focus on your followers.

2) There comes a point where you have to stop monitoring your competition and forge your own path. Plus, that gives them hits!

3) Sometimes you have to abandon the many for your faithful few. Just because you don’t have your own domain or a huge following doesn’t mean you should devalue your business or (Heavens no!) give up.

4) Lack of comments is a sign of poor relationship building. A ton of shares means little. What matters is that people are actually reading your content and taking action.

5) If a group even hints of exclusivity, favoritism or you don’t see a return on your investment in time and energy, drop it. Don’t look back.

6) Your heroes will disappoint you. Don’t elevate them. They are human.

7) Listen to yourself, not just the experts. If pop up videos and opt-ins are annoying to you, chances are it annoys your readers. You don’t have to give in.

8) Resort to begging if you are floundering at home and need help. This sounds desperate, but I mean it. Don’t drop hints if your significant other isn’t picking up the slack while you are in your growing stages. Building a business requires an even bigger helping of communication with your family.

9) Forgive yourself as much as, if not more than you forgive others. No one will criticize you as much as you do, and it will take everything in your power to not listen to that side of you. If you do, that’s okay. Apologize to yourself and move on.

10) Backing up your data isn’t just for safety. It’s also for nostalgia and growth. Blog posts, articles, Tweets, you name it. Find a place for it!

11) If you aren’t growing, maybe it’s because you need a break, not because you failed.

12) As Dory said, “Just keep swimming.” Even if you don’t know how to swim. You’ll feel like you’re drowning sometimes, and you may overcompensate your strokes. But you will do it whether you dip your feet in and enter slowly or dive in head first.

What are some lessons you’ve learned in your business? Share below. Do you need help applying these lessons to your small business? Chat with me.

(PS – Adding this post to the Make A Living Writing monthly link party! Check out other blogs and vote for mine!)

29 thoughts on “12 Business & Blogging Lessons from My First Year

  1. Nice list. But most of all, congratulations on your one-year anniversary! πŸ™‚ It’s quite an accomplishment.

    A big one on my list is to be careful about listening to “supposed to” advice. There’s no one way to succeed, and each person needs to forge the path that works for him/her.

    Again, congratulations!!!!!

    1. Thanks chica!! I’m pretty excited – and yes, listening to advice can be bad. :-/

  2. Congratulations. I need to go back and read some of your posts I missed. Just keep plugging along is a big one for me. It’s kinda like losing weight, you don’t notice you’ve had such victories until you look at a year ago. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! Actually a lot of my older posts are on my original WordPress.com site. Since a lot of them don’t have to do specifically with freelancing I didn’t migrate them.

  3. Congratulations! Number 11 speaks to me. I have to remember to take breaks from things to refresh, before I get back into it! Thanks.

  4. Hey Williesha,
    I loved your lessons,
    it’s just the way it is, very few people encourage others who takes their own path, very few people will say encouraging things like a “thank you for wasting all your time and energy for the whole year even though it didn’t work and we admire your courage to keep going at it …”

    most of the people will be like “you are stupid for keep wasting your time over this”, “it will never work” , “give up, do something useful …”
    criticising and putting others down is what people do in our competitive society, and we’re are to understand and accept that, and don’t get disencouraged by it.

    Believe in yourself, everything is possible!
    Congratulations and Best Wishes!

    1. Thank you Mitch! This is so very encouraging that I’m going to share this with someone starting a new journey.

  5. I love this. So much wisdom in these 12 points. As a freelancer and creative writer, I find it’s so easy to get off track, and start worrying about the what-if’s. And this is so detrimental to the creative process. I think I’ll put #12 Just keep swimming on my desk-LOL!

    1. Hooray! So glad this encouraged you. Thanks for reading. Yes – I actually almost put a picture of Dory from Finding Nemo on this blog! πŸ™‚

  6. First time visitor here and love the post. #7 Listen to yourself, not just the experts- really hit home. Time to give ourselves a little credit for understanding our own readers and not rely so heavily on what the “experts” say.

  7. This is a great list. The seventh tip is on point. I think when you are starting out, you naturally want to follow the advice every expert to ever show his or her face. However, we often forget that what may work from them may not work for us. We shouldn’t be afraid to go against the grain sometimes and do what feels right instead.

  8. Hi Williesha! Congratulations on all you’ve learned and accomplished in year one! Thanks for sharing these lessons. The all really hit home for professional and personal life.

    All Best,


    1. Yay! Thanks so much Sarah as always for being such a great supporter. I really love and admire the work you are doing, so that means a lot.

  9. Hi Williesha,

    First of all, Congrats for celebrating the anniversary. It really need courage to keep trucking along first few years in any business until the ball starts rolling swiftly.

    Actually everyone of us definitely have learned lots of things from our career journey. In my past 8 years of journey, I have learned that being a freelancer you must love yourself enough to forgive yourself for the mistakes made by you, be wise enough to learn lesson from your mistakes and should dare enough to take risk again and move on.

    1. That is so true! Forgiveness really is key. Thank you so much for that encouraging comment.

  10. I needed this. All of these were relevant, especially #9. I beat myself up about things I could have done, didn’t do and sometimes fall prey to the paralysis of analysis. It’s great to see someone having fun and learning a thing or two along the way. I’m glad I found your site. : )

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