Another year has passed and I’m continuing my tradition of sharing what I’ve learned.
- Ask for help. The last two years have been incredibly difficult for solo business owners. Stressors include worries about our health, more isolation due to covid, additional people working in our homes (children, partners, roommates), changes in spending patterns, financial insecurity, and much more. This is not the time to go it alone. You may need to find a coach, therapist, or support group to help. If you’re struggling with areas of your business – mine is always the tech piece – hire somebody to help you. It is worth it to avoid the frustration and time-suck of doing it yourself.
- Social media has a downside. I have been on Facebook since 2009 and appreciate how it kept me connected to friends and family. This year it became obvious that social media platforms have become a source of disinformation and actively created discord in the community. To protect my mental health, it was time for me to cull my Facebook friends who refused to believe that Joe Biden was duly elected.
- Human interaction is important. I am grateful for Zoom and the ability to connect with people via video. However, after almost two years of limited contact with people, I value in-person contact – even if that means I have to wear something other than pajama pants for the occasion.
- Covid is here to stay. We had a few weeks this year where fully vaccinated folks could go maskless in New York. Those days disappeared with the Delta variant and the Omicron variant. I believe that at some point we’ll have to stop locking down businesses and borders and accept that we’ll be wearing masks and needing boosters into the future. This also means that we need to stop waiting for the “good old days” and adapt to this new reality.
- Re-entry is scary. There were so many things that I did without thinking – attend in-person meetings, see a movie, meet friends for coffee, or drive to Canada to visit my parents. It’s been almost two years since I’ve attended any of these gathering and the thought makes me anxious.
- Be authentic. The people I saw thriving during the pandemic did not hide their true selves. They freely expressed their happiness, anger, challenges and/or goofiness. It was hard to maintain professional distance when your dog is photo-bombing your Zoom calls.
- Reevaluate our heroes. I graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto. The university was named after Egerton Ryerson, a Canadian educator who passed in 1982 and helped design the Canadian school system. Recently he’s become a controversial figure due to his work setting up the Canadian residential school system to remove the culture of indigenous people. We’ve also seen public outrage over “heroes” such as Christopher Columbus and slave owners.
- Make physical and mental health a priority. You are the most important asset in your business. It is difficult to work if you are injured or discouraged.
- Focus on implementation. It’s easy to believe you are making progress when you purchase a program or new software. However there is no real progress unless you apply what you learn. This led to changes in the Solopreneur Academy and the addition of a monthly Accountability Hour.
- Sugar-free ketchup is terrible. After stress eating for most of 2020, I spent much of 2021 trying to reduce my sugar consumption. As a result, I was excited to see that Heinz had a sugar-free ketchup. Sadly, it tastes just like vinegar and is not worth purchasing.
- Tornados are terrifying. I’d only ever seen tornado damage on the news and have been grateful that my home on Long Island is nowhere near “Tornado Ally.” Thanks to climate change, tornados are becoming more common along the East Coast. We experienced an EF-1 tornado (95 to 105 mph winds) on my street in November. Fortunately (for us) my property was the dividing line for damage. Our road was closed due to fallen trees. The house across the street had a tree crush their newly shingled roof and two cars.
I hope that you learned some lessons in 2021 that you can bring forward to 2022.
Lessons from 2021