The 3 biggest mistakes I made in the first year of my business

By Cassie Mendoza-Jones

I’ve been working in my business for just over four years now. My clinic work (I’m a kinesiologist, naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist) involves plenty of learning, integration and processing, and has done since I opened my clinic doors back in 2011, not to mention my work as a writer, blogger and business owner. Needless to say, there’s a lot do to each day, and there has been from day dot.  

It has meant I’ve learnt so much, and sometimes those early lessons – the lessons I learnt in the first few days, weeks and months of business - get lost in the momentum of growing my business today. 

Part of my work is also mentoring practitioners on how they can create a wellness business that not only feels like them, but also works for them and supports both them and their beautiful clients, readers and clients-to-be. 

For me to be able to do this, I really had to tune in and remember what it was like to wake up one day and find myself the owner of a pretty little wellness biz, knowing very little about how to actually run my own business. 

So in the spirit of sisterhood and support, I thought I’d let you in on 3 of the biggest mistakes I made when starting my biz (I can promise you – there were plenty more than 3, but this is a good start!):

THE FIRST MISTAKE 

I wasted money, time and so much energy time on non-digital, printed advertising and… wait for it… letter box drops. 

(I know, what was I thinking?)

You see, in my first year, I worked in a lovely clinic with other practitioners. A few of them were doing letterbox drops, and even though I intuitively felt it wasn’t a great thing for me to be doing, I decided to go ahead with it. 

I figured I had nothing to lose, so I printed a ton of flyers, and then I walked around dropping them in people’s mailboxes! Oh, the joy. 

I remember a couple of days after I’d done it, I was walking down a street on which I’d dropped some flyers, and I saw my flyer ripped in half on the sidewalk. I was devastated. I’m glad I experimented with this though, because I knew quite quickly I’d never do it again! 

I’m not saying printed media isn’t great, but for me, in the initial stage of my business, it did absolutely nothing to grow my audience or attract new clients. All it did was make me feel lousy and ‘small’ in the wide world of business. 

Not only that, there’s only a very small chance you’ll receive feedback from printed advertising – you can’t track it the way you can track digital marketing. 

You can’t respond to comments, questions or queries, and you certainly can’t expect people are going to quickly and easily grab your flyer and go and type in your website URL to check out your site the way they could if all they had to do was click on a link.  

So yes, my letterbox drop was an absolute waste of time, money and resources, but a valuable lesson because it made me realise that wasn’t the right way to spread my energy in this world.

Your reminder: "Truth: Follow your intuition, not the crowd."

THE SECOND MISTAKE

I thought people disliked me or that I was a bad practitioner if I had slow client days, or empty calendar days, or if clients rescheduled or cancelled.

I would berate myself and criticise myself for days over a simple client cancellation. All this nasty inner critic stuff – and complete lack of self-compassion – put myself in such an intense downward spiral of self-doubt, when in fact, all it meant was that I could use that extra time for something else; maybe more research, business-building techniques, rest and self-care. 

Your reminder: Your self-worth isn’t based on how full your calendar is.

THE THIRD MISTAKE

I rushed… everything!

I rushed the creation of products, I rushed my writing, and I rushed my client and clinic research. I basically rushed my days, from morning until night. Why? Well… I didn’t trust my voice, and I didn’t slow down enough for it to find me. 

Being scared of not knowing what my ‘unique voice’ sounded like, and what my unique talents were, and not trusting my own worth when it came to my words and my work was punishing. The only thing I knew to do in order to help me get away from that pain was to rush through my days, my work, my purpose-driven schedule, and fast. 

As an example, I remember during the design process of my first eBook, I was still finding typos while my designer was designing it and asking for feedback. That’s definitely not how I do things these days. 

But back then, I’d reply with “Oh yes I love that font, but um, can you please change the 6th word ‘XYZ’ on the 57th page, in the 1st paragraph to the word…”

Just days before writing this post, I came across the following quote from Natalie Goldberg in her beautiful book, Writing Down The Bones:

“Learn to trust the force of your own voice. Naturally, it will evolve a direction and a need for one, but it will come from a different place than your need to be an achiever.”

Let your voice evolve from a space of stillness, quiet and compassion. It certainly won’t evolve when you’re rushing around like a headless chicken. (I know from experience.)

My lesson in trusting my own voice and in being patient and not rushing the process took me a little while to absorb and integrate (and okay I’ll admit, while I’m now better at not rushing, I still need to work on being patient…), but it feels so much easier now that I trust my voice.

And I trust my voice because I trust my worth. 

Heads up: You can too.  

Your reminder: Trust your voice. Trust yourself. Trust your words. Trust your place in this business, blogging, and creative world. You’ve earned it (whether you think you’ve ‘done enough’ or not).

Cassie Mendoza-Jones is a kinesiologist, naturopath and writer. She works with women who feel stuck, unworthy and disconnected to themselves. She shows them how to increase their self-care, self-worth and self-acceptance on every level, while making it all feel like it’s the most natural thing in the world. (Truth: it can be.)

Meet Cassie + get ready to find the most balanced, centered version of yourself at Elevate Vitality and Heartfelt Harmony. Also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter