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My First Year In Business: Mistakes, Lessons, and Wins

first year in business

This post is almost 4 weeks late… but still worth sharing what I learned in my first year in business. (To be clear, this is not my first year of blogging or coaching…just my first year of doing it full time knowing I’d never go back to my old career.)

Backstory: Though blogging since 2010 and coaching since 2011, I didn’t leave the 9-5 world until 2012 before Rohan was born. I was planning to return to corporate america but then…Kaya. I didn’t want to go back to a day job but then found myself back at it again in Jan 2015 when we moved to Florida. I lasted 8 months and quit to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams and live the life I wanted and knew I could create.

(here’s what to do before you quit your job!)

That was August 2015. I was feeling disjointed and knew I had to get my shit together and make my biz happen. Overall I had a successful year. I traveled, I spoke, I hit goals, I grew my confidence, my reach, my circle and my income. I’ll share a few of my wins at the end of this post. But I certainly made some mistakes and learned some important lessons along the way.

Mistake 1 – Didn’t get help

Still wrestling with getting steady help for the blogs. Part of it is i-can-do-it-all syndrome and the other is being cheap about investing money back into the business when we have so many bills to pay. I have made the decision to get real, long-term  help beginning in January. I looked at the costs associated and realized that although it will cut into the bottom line, it’ll ultimately help that bottom line grow larger after a bit.
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(And I’ll be way less stressed out I’m sure.) I can’t grow to epic heights without a team. It is what it is. My e-friend shamed me into it telling me it’s only $10/hr to find someone on upwork. “You do have $10 right, Dani?”  Ouch!!  Gotta do it now, huh.


Mistake 2 – Being passive

Still working my way through this as well. I let opportunities pass me by this year. I wasn’t aggressively pitching or seeking out new opportunities. I didn’t actively sell my beachbody products as often as I could have and since I was in a weird place with what I wanted to do coach-wise, I was passive about getting new clients. I relied on word of mouth. Combating this mistake for next year is easy. In creating my annual plan I will have marketing built in, and I now have a pitching and video schedule set up to easily follow.

Mistake 3 – Not growing List

“The money is in the list.” I have heard and read this a million trillion times….Yet I didn’t actively work to grow my list. Nor did I do anything special to nurture the OKDani readers that are already on my list. (all 2 of you. Hey girl hey!) That stops now. I’ll add to my opt-ins, promote my current opt-in, and work to grow my subscriber list as well as send monthly emails to my current subbies! (You can join my list here to get your copy of the Morning Makeover Handbook #ijs)

Lessons Learned:

Self care is extra important for entrepreneurs

I’ve realized the importance of self care in a major way this year. I’m grateful that it didn’t take me getting sick with something serious to slow me down. I didn’t realize how in need of self care I was. I’m a migraine sufferer and that just knocks me out. I can’t see well, hear well, my stomach betrays me, and then there are the knives stabbing into the side of my head. When I get a migraine I have no choice but to stop, hide under the covers and let it pass. Because I do that, I was convinced I was OK on the self care front.

In case you’re a crazy workyourselftooharder like I am, let me just tell you this right now: Taking care of yourself when you’re ill is NOT the same as self care. Self care is what you do when you’re well, to stay well and feel even better. I’m working in self care into my weekly routine and I’m noticing the difference. #momshell status here I come. 🙂


You don’t have to find your voice

I’ve said this so many times to other bloggers, yet I started to worry about this myself last year. I knew I wanted to share and edu-tain about the things I know very well, and I also wanted to maintain my non-ackright, hotmessy, silly voice. I worried a bit about balancing my personality with imparting knowledge. Why? I dunno! The human brain loves a damn problem, and when there isn’t one it will just create one out of thin air. There is no reason to “find” your voice. You just have to use it. I knew this before I guess…then got shook….but relearned this year after getting such a great response to my work.

It’s okay to slow down or stop in order to move forward

In my post How I Make Money Online, I shared candidly what I do to earn my living on these interwebs. I mentioned that I was completing with my last clients and taking a break from coaching until I figured out my plan in that area. At first I was a little disappointed in myself, but after taking a break and reevaluating what I really want to do coachingwise, it was the best move to make. I realized it’s not a failure to stop or slow down in an area of business or life when you need to reassess. It’s the smartest thing to do when you want to move forward. Now I’m much clearer on who I want to help, and how!


Highest earning year in biz

::rolls around in piles of money like uncle scrooge:: I mean…I really don’t have much to say here.
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I have out earned my past years and I’m stoked. I know with what I’m putting in motion for this coming year I’ll do even better. ::makes it rain:: I don’t talk about my specific financials here….but if you’re interested check this out.

Winning while still being me

This is truly the biggest win for me. Ever since I started blogging I’ve used my voice. And that voice cusses. It also talks a lil hood sometimes and in Jamaican patois sometimes. Whenever I had blog consults with coaches, and discussed branding and working with brands, my language came up. I was forever told it would limit me from working with family brands. Ummm…nope.

nope beyonce

I’m bout to take a press trip with Disney…as family brand as you can get!  Honestly, I don’t know how many brands have vetted me on the low, saw that I cuss and then passed on hiring me, and I’ll never know. But what I do know is that my content is 1000% genuine in my voice and style and I’m still getting great brand opportunities and have a really kickass reader community. I count that as a #doublewin.

Support and understanding from hubby

My husband has always supported my entrepreneurial goals, thankfully. But supporting and understanding are two different things. It’s really hard to understand someone’s situation unless you live it. And my husband working from home a bit has exposed him to what I go through. Attempts to get work done while getting pulled in fiftyeleven different directions, hiding for phone meetings, not being able to finish a thought before someone cries for you and trying to keep said someone alive and happy, and take care of the house and yourself… He didn’t “get it” until he lived it. Now that he’s had a taste of it he’s being a lot more understanding about the time that I need to work while he’s home, and the time that I need to run away from home to have some peace and get work done.

Overall, my first year in business was a great one. I’m really proud of myself. My dream and goal from ages ago was to be able to be a stay at home mom being super hands on with my children, and running a business. Now, here I am doing it! #manifestation I’m just really grateful at how this past year went and excited about year two.

What did you learn in your first year in business?

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Wednesday 28th of September 2016

What would you get done on upwork?


Wednesday 28th of September 2016

I would have someone handle social media for FitNoire, someone make pinnable images from my old posts, and someone help me with SEO of old posts on OKDani... Someone respond to HARO requests for me, make templates for mailings... little things like that.


Thursday 8th of September 2016

Congrats boo! So proud of you and glad to see you are making it happen.


Thursday 8th of September 2016

Thanks Sabrina!!!


Thursday 8th of September 2016

So this is what I have to look forward to... And I can't wait! Congratulations on your first year in business. You are doing what most of us other bloggers aspire to do. Thank you for your transparency and the great read. Best of luck in the future!


Thursday 8th of September 2016

Thanks for reading and commenting. Your blog is killer you'll certainly avoid the mistakes I made and kick all the butt. What's ur end goal?

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