The 7 Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned
Strong Brand Social is a true bootstrap brand projecting over $3 million in revenue in 2023, just 3 years after launch, the same year that we’re discontinuing a business unit that has accounted for 30% of our revenue for the past two years. We’ve also directly consulted thousands of brands between the stages of pre-revenue and billions of dollars of annual revenue.
As a small token of gratitude to you, I wanted to share what I believe to be the most valuable lessons I’ve learned recently – or at least, lessons I already “knew” but needed to be reminded of.
These are written from the perspective of an empathetic, hungry AF entrepreneur that’s a little over five years in, somewhere beyond her wildest dreams and yet right where she expected to be. As always, take what serves you and leave the rest.
1️⃣ Building a brand that’s bigger than me, a legacy that improves the world for the next generation, and an organization that improves the lives of its employees, customers, and extended community: this is a long game. Recognizing a setback as a right of passage instead of a signal to stop is everything. 2022 taught me how to make friends with the slower cycles and sit in the mud with patience and trust.
2️⃣ Harness momentum. When it’s there, give it gas: Show up, invest in yourself, and invest in your business. Give it what it needs to get to where you want to go. Whatever you want is possible, it’s just a matter of whether or not you’re willing to take the risk and bet on yourself (over and over and over again, after both the good decisions and the bad). Don’t wait until you are desperate for help or need to be picked up to invest in yourself and your business.
3️⃣ The social media marketing industry sucks more than social media. How can I hate social media? I cherish the relationships I’ve made in recent years with my friends (friend-clients that make up most of my community lol). Not to be dramatic but our Strong Brand fam is the greatest gift my career has ever given me, and social media is at the center of the story of us finding each other. What really sucks? The way an unethical few write the rules of the industry in a way that leaves so much collateral damage along the path to lining their pockets.
4️⃣Some of this collateral damage is that up-and-coming brands ready to make the world a better place end up failing due to wasted time or money in this space. On the bright side, 2022 taught us the biggest lie of the social media marketing industry is that you have to change your strategy every time the algorithm changes. We’ve seen hundreds of case studies that say otherwise, just this year.
5️⃣ Sometimes what we’re called to do doesn’t look exactly how we thought it would. But if we aren’t paying attention, we might miss the fact that even though it’s dressed differently, it’s literally a dream come true. For example, this time last year I was burnt out and sure that I didn’t want to be a social media consultant.
One thing I’ve always wanted since I was young was to “write for a living.” Then when I left corporate, I also had a dream of helping brands that are making the world a better place increase their positive impact through better communication strategies.
With a fresh perspective on the past few years, I realize that I have the opportunity to live both of these dreams – I am literally doing it right now. What if my calling – at least, at the moment – is to use my 13 years of experience, in an industry that does so much harm, to help the people I care about the most grow their impact with better communication strategies… and I get to write a lot along the way? I almost missed all of this because I was so wrapped up in “not wanting to be a social media influencer.”
Is there anything you might be missing?
6️⃣ Nobody can do this for you, and nobody can tell you what to do. You can (and should) do your research, gather information, and ask for input. At the end of the day, you are the only one that will live with the decisions you make, the work you put in, and the risks you take. Don’t be waiting for someone to give you the answers. You’ll waste a lot of time.
7️⃣We hear this all the time: Environment is everything. Depending on our own unique situation, it’s somewhere in between easy and impossible to “audit and edit” our environment (people, places) as the gurus tell us to. Here’s what I figured out for myself this year:
There are people in my life that don’t always “elevate” me or encourage me in the way that I want. Some of them I grow away from, and there are others with whom I’ll maintain a relationship with for as long as I can because I’m not a robot optimizing myself exclusively to make as much money as possible. Like, what about the people that need me to stick around and positively influence them?
Here’s what I will do: take very close notice of the people who cross my path that bring out the best in me and inspire me to dream bigger than I ever have. I’ll do whatever I can to spend as much time around those people as possible. And I have a feeling this is going to lead to one of the best years I’ve ever had in business (and I’ll be bringing my clients along with me).
What about you?
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