I believe most of us would agree that 2016 was a rough (some may even say sucky) year. 2016 was the first official year of me, Brittany Kirkland, working as a full-time entrepreneur. It was exhilarating to see a glimpse of the life I was planning for and exhausting to know there is no regular paycheck coming in. For me, there were major peaks and major valleys this past year but I learned 7 lessons that I will be eternally grateful for.
Perseverance is a steady persistence in a course of action despite the obstacles, difficulties or discouragement. When you are an entrepreneur, if you are not working then you are not making money. Feeling sorry for yourself when times get rough is a luxury you do not have. After every rejected proposal you just have to carry on and try for the next one. And trust me, there will be ALOT of rejection. 2016 taught me that I do have the strength to continue to shake it off and move forward through the disappointments. I just have to know that a "yes" is right around the corner.
Discipline - When working towards a goal one of the most helpful things to do is to analyze your actions and behaviors. Looking back on I can see the areas where I was successful and the areas that I wasn't. And the times when I struggled the most is when I lacked the discipline to stay consistent in the small, seemingly tedious, tasks. When I stayed consistent in the small tasks I saw movement forward towards my weekly goals or progression in the projects I was working on. if you stick to something you will see the results.
Potential for Longevity - There were several times this past year (usually when my bank account dipped) when I thought about what if I were to just cave and get a traditional job, but at the end of the day I was 100% dedicated to making it work. I knew that there's no way you can truly make something work if you have one foot out the door. Staying dedicated to the business and this past year showed me the potential and capacity that I have and that I will be able to build the business into what I want as long as I'm dedicated. I now see that I can definitely do this for the long haul!
Confidence - Before this year, when I had a full time job and someone asked me what I did I said "I am a Catering and Conference Coordinator at the Venetian and I do events on the side". NO! I was then and still am a business owner! This past year working everyday in the business I know that this is not a side project nor do I have any doubts in my ability or time that I can spend with a client. "I am the Owner and Creative Director of Events by Kirk, a company that specializes in corporate event planning".
Importance of financial planning - Going full-time in the business has been such a great lesson in finances. It has allowed me to take a look at where I used to spend unnecessarily when I had a salary, cut back and know exactly what It costs for me to live the life I am accustomed to. It's also taught me plan upcoming expenses, where I didn't before; trips, vacations, conferences, slow business seasons.
Podcasts are EVERYTHING! I have become so obsessed with binge podcasting. There are so many helpful and informative podcasts for whatever your interests are. For me, there are tons of entrepreneur and motivational podcasts and many more that target the ambitious women! My favs; Being Boss, Biz Time w Asia, Girlboss
I finally see the life I want!! This past year I saw what I wanted; I dictated majority of my scheduling, worked from home, primarily working in the industry I love and was able to go out of town as I wanted to spend time with friends and family. This is essentially what I wanted out of life! I still have a long way to go and it's going to be a lot of work and it takes an extreme amount of self motivation but I see what I want and that motivates me even more!
I always feel that there are such important lessons that you learn from your challenges and struggles and although 2016 was a long series of stumbles and questioning, I am very grateful for all of the amazing lessons learned. If it were not for these lessons who knows if I would be able to continue on this path moving into 2017. So to everyone out there; learn from your mistakes, listen to the lessons and have a prosperous new year!!