Launching a Business in 2020: Insights and Words That Got Me Through A Year of Change
What a difference a year makes. As I look back over this past year, I remember back to the version of myself that started off January 2020. After prepping and learning for months, January was slated for the launch of my new dream, Jenny Gill Copywriting. A way to combine my passions for occupational therapy, writing, and projects. Plus, create some freedom to meet the needs of my young family.
I laid awake at night wondering if I could really offer something valuable through copywriting. But, I couldn’t ignore this huge passion for finding ways to use my skills to make a bigger impact for my profession. So, I bought a new journal, determined to record the failures, feelings, and successes of the first year of my business.
I began my grand 2020 adventure by writing this intention as the first page of my brand new journal.
“Hopefully, I will look back on 2020 and see all of my work and energy come to life. I hope it will be the start of something really great.”
And what a year it ended up being. I didn’t just launch my copywriting business, I’ve met incredible people and learned so much. And on top of that, navigated all the twists and challenges of a pandemic and societal unrest.
As much as I’m proud of this past year, I also acknowledge its many challenges. There were moments when I really felt like giving up. But I found strength in learning new ways of thinking. Telling myself new truths for pushing through obstacles, unknowns, and moments of frustration.
So, I’m hoping you’ll come along with me to some of the words that impacted me this past year. These success secrets and words of wisdom provided great inspiration. And I’m sure these same words will continue to coax greatness for those who dare to dream big dreams and get started with clumsy action.
“Begin with the end in mind.” Steven Covey
Taking an extra moment to gain clarity at the beginning serves two key purposes. First it serves as both mindset work and second it helps provide clarity on a very practical step. I use this idea to clarify my big personal goals but also to help develop successful copy.
In copywriting, for instance, each piece should be written to support the end goal – typically a call to action. The call to action is the readers next step. It’s my goal to create text that is moving the reader towards that end goal.
So all the words I write are created with that end goal of the business owner in mind whether that’s building a relationship, clicking a link, or scheduling a call.
Outside of the nuances of copywriting, visualizing the outcome works to create eventual success on a brain level. Visualizing the big goal or outcome helps you keep perspective and focus when you’re feeling discouraged or confused if the next step is the right one.
For instance, when I was afraid of having an initial client meeting, I could calm my nerves by visualizing a good outcome and how this meeting had the potential to reach my bigger goals as a copywriter.
But notice, you only need to begin with the end in mind, you don’t need to chart out the whole path to the goal. Which brings us to my next lesson in action…
“Take massive, imperfect action towards your goals. The time will never be just right.” Derrick Yuh Ndim
Taking imperfect action is difficult for recovering perfectionists like myself. And even when you start believing it, it’s living the experiences of imperfect action that really brings this lesson to life.
See, there is no such thing as figuring it all out before you get started. You might begin with the end in mind but the real learning occurs by doing. It’s the only way to discover missing elements and needed course corrections.
The good news is, you’ll save time by just starting on that first step and putting whatever you have into action.
I did this in December, by marketing a new consulting service line. I know it’s not perfect, but I’m going to learn more by trying than by simply thinking about it.
Putting it out there doesn’t mean my clients will suffer. I know I can provide the service. It’s streamlining the processes and messaging that will take some time.
So, what’s the first step towards that big goal of yours? Are y
ou willing to get started by doing that first step, ready or not?
“As long as you are working in the spirit of making a big impact, sell hard. The more people you reach, the better.” Brian Kurtz in Overdeliver
For whatever reason, occupational therapy practitioners do not feel comfortable selling with intensity. Maybe it’s a rejection of the yucky parts of marketing. Our client-focused profession wants nothing to do with deception, empty promises, or disappointed customers.
But marketing can be the opposite of all those negative connotations. My mission is to introduce occupational therapy to effective marketing techniques that feel good to use. I remember this quote and the need for excellent copy to accentuate the work of people doing good in the world.
In reality, marketing and its cousin, copywriting, are absolutely needed to make an impact and help people make decisions, even if you have the most amazing, transformational product or service.
My life was changed as a result of taking a copywriting course. I looked forward to reading each email in my inbox.Yes, it was promoting the course. But it answered my questions and helped me understand what was holding me back.
A year after spending all that money, I’m still thankful for the marketing techniques and course that helped me change my life for the better.
It’s this type of marketing that I want for the occupational therapy profession. Marketing that shares the good work of OTs across the globe. Connecting OT services with the people who need these services – creating life-changing experiences and thankful clients.
And honestly, the OT profession has a lot of work to do in the area of marketing. OT is frequently misunderstood and difficult to explain. Plus, many OTs feel uncomfortable with self-promotion or using the tools of copywriting.
So I keep coming back to this thought: What better cause for an OT who loves the profession and wants to make an impact?
When I find myself being tentative in my marketing efforts. I remind myself of this quote and the importance of effective marketing to increase the impact of mission-based OTs.
So, give yourself permission to sell hard. If you’re like most OTs, you likely need to hear this early and often.
“You can’t solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Einstein
I ran across this quote when watching a free webinar by online business leader James Wedmore – and it instantly caught my attention.
It explained so much. It’s why talking with someone regarding a problem brings clarity. Especially when the answers were obvious, I just couldn’t see them.
It also explained why it was so hard to edit and refine my own writing. There are times when my brain was just too close to the problem that I couldn’t see alternative solutions.
So embracing growth meant openly receiving feedback from editors and clients who pointed out holes in my work.
It brought a business coaching program to learn the skills and gain the insights I was missing.
Reflecting on the value of outside insights, also helped me to appreciate the value of my copywriting skills. I feel more confident in charging for my expertise because I’ve seen how valuable it is to get a different perspective. In my case, I offer a perspective informed by the skills of copywriting.
So, take a moment to think about your problems for your business (marketing or otherwise), and think about your blind spots. How much is it worth to find the person who is able to help solve that problem?
I have a lifetime of practice in limiting myself. But this year, for the first time, I’ve recognized it. I see how I was holding myself back from what I wanted because of fear.
It’s amazing how many things I wanted to do – but talked myself out of. Robbing myself of the opportunity before I had the chance to be rejected, have a failure, or feel awkward.
But this year, putting myself out there led to a huge opportunity to speak at the OT Entrepreneur Summit. I didn’t feel ready – but did the scary work of applying, being accepted, and presenting. And I’m so glad I did, this opportunity led new relationships and growth for my business.
So, next time you feel yourself wanting something and then telling yourself, “No.”
Remember – don’t self-reject.
You won’t get opportunities if you don’t go after them. Throw your name in the hat and accept you won’t be picked for everything.
However, you might just find yourself doing new and interesting things, bringing opportunity and growth into your life.
Taking Time for Reflection on Lessons and Growth
I’m sure I’ll learn variations of these lessons all over again in the coming year. And some new ones along the way.
It really is incredible how mindset, taking action, and reflection can be powerful forces of change over the course of the year.
My hope is you will embrace your journey of personal and professional growth. I’ve found it so helpful to keep a journal for my lessons and gratitudes. It’s such a wonderful way to create and track growth by writing down goals and appreciating all the steps along the way.
Maybe you can even start or continue your own journaling practice.
What is one big lesson you learned this past year? I love to hear about it in the comments.