post by Stephanie Nelson

December 12th marks our birthday. Along the way, we’ve learned some lessons…some harder than others. Here are just a few:

Keep your business practices close to your vest.
Early on, I was too open with someone who asked to pick my brain. I answered questions that seemed harmless at the time about my rates and which businesses I’d pitched. That person took that information and pitched half my rate to the businesses I mentioned that I’d pitched. I know not everyone would do that, but it still put my guard up.

Build your tribe carefully.
Once you’ve been burnt, especially by someone in your industry that you were trying to help, it’s hard to trust folks again. But it’s so important to be connected to your peers, particularly if you’re a solopreneur. It’s a fine line to walk, being properly connected in your industry while protecting your business. The folks that are meant to be in your tribe will get it. You’ll know enough about their services, their market, and how they work to make the right referrals without literally being all up in their business, and the same will be true for them of you and your business.

Appreciate the tribe you build.
It’s a great experience to look around and know some of the folks you most admire are the ones that not only allow you to bounce ideas off them, but they come to you to float ideas, too! I’ve somehow found myself connected to some of the best minds in the social media world, the website design world, the PR world, the photography world, and the marketing world. I value these folks more than I could ever put into words. They’re a wealth of knowledge and collaboration ideas. My hope for every entrepreneur is that they find a tribe like this, too.

Don’t be afraid to say “no”.
Sometimes a client isn’t a good fit. Sometimes you have the skills and knowledge to provide a service, but you don’t have the passion to put behind it. Sometimes you’re technically free during a networking event, but you need some downtime. It’s ok to say “no” to any and all of these things. Don’t put yourself in a bind trying to please someone else.

Surround yourself with clients you love.
When you work in social media, you pretty much have to be “on” 24/7. When your clients are like your family, it makes those 9pm Saturday phone calls and texts about ridiculous bad reviews a lot easier to take. And when half your texts are joking around and nothing to do with business, it’s even better.


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