You can learn a lot by looking back at your business. You can discover your biggest milestones and your worst mistakes. You will discover what gives you the fuel to continue and what bogs you down.
Looking back at your work is a walk down memory lane that lets you know more about yourself. That knowledge can help you make more progress with your business depending on how you harness that knowledge.
As a blogger, I get to teach people what I know. I don’t want people to make the same mistakes that I did which is why I looked back and thought of five things that I would have changed in my business.
This isn’t my first time writing this type of blog post. I wrote another one here, but each time I do more soul digging, I come up with more lessons for myself and my readers.
So if I had to start all over again but with my current knowledge, these are the five things that I would have done differently.
#1: Invest In Myself Earlier
For a while, I saved everything that I earned. The decision allowed me to develop a small safety net, but my business was barely growing.
Everything started to turn around when I decided to invest money in myself. I think that one of the attractions to making money online is that you can make money for free and from the comfort of your home. People don’t like investing in themselves in the beginning because they don’t know what will happen.
I urge you to invest in yourself today or tomorrow. I’m not just talking about one of those mental declarations. I am talking about spending some of your own money on something for your business.
I invest in my social media efficiency, audience growth, and team of freelancers. Investing in yourself puts more on the line, and that will motivate you to get more work done.
The funny thing is that the more I invest in myself, the more money I seem to make. Spending money won’t yield more money, but you will be putting your money on the line. Once you start investing in yourself, you have to start to think of ways to break even.
With that said, you don’t want to spend your money foolishly. It is better to spend your money gradually at a rate you know you can support than it is to go from spending nothing to suddenly investing a massive amount of money for your business.
#2: Create More Headshot Videos
When I first created videos, I only did headshots. You could always see me no matter what video I was doing.
Then I shifted to ScreenFlow. The decision allowed me to get very comfortable with rapid video creation. However, the personal touch of me in the recording wasn’t there.
The decision to use ScreenFlow was strongly inspired by my desire to create as many Udemy courses as possible. A few months ago, Udemy did extensive research and concluded that students prefer talking head videos (headshot videos) over ScreenFlow videos with PowerPoint/KeyNote presentations.
I recently made the change. It felt good to be seen in the videos again, and it turns out headshot videos are much faster to produce than ScreenFlow videos with the presentations. With the headshot videos, I don’t have to create the presentation slides anymore. All I have to do is come up with a small outline.
ScreenFlow was important, but it was time to move on. I am happy to have returned to headshot videos because headshot videos are better than ScreenFlow videos with presentations for a variety of reasons (conversions, trust, feels good, quicker to produce, etc.)
#3: Build My Email List Earlier
You seriously thought you would get through a blog post like this without “Building My Email List Earlier” as one of the topics?
A few years ago at Cape May, the vacation destination, I created an email list. This was several years after I created my first Twitter account, so I lost out on thousands of subscribers.
However, I quickly built my email list and now have thousands of subscribers of my own. Better yet, I discovered a cool free way to grow and maintain a massive email list.
Udemy has been a beneficial opportunity on so many levels. One of the benefits is that I can send emails to all of the students enrolled into my courses.
While Udemy places some restrictions (i.e. you can’t promote any landing pages that ask for an email address), you can tell all of the people on your list about your Udemy courses, your blog posts, and other things as well.
The best part is that you don’t pay a penny for having all of those students/subscribers. As of this blog post, I have over 15,000 unique students on Udemy. I can email those students each time I come out with a new blog post just like with any other emailing platform.
The only difference is that while for some other service, I would probably have to pay thousands of dollars each year just to have that many people on my list, I get to keep the people on that list for free, and I don’t have to pay additional money as my email list grows.
Regardless of whether you use Udemy, a service like iContact, or both (I would be in the both category), you have to focus more of your time towards growing your email list. That’s where the money is.
#4: Stayed True To Having A Podcast
A little less than a year ago, I told myself I would have a podcast up and running by the end of the summer. I told the people on my email list about it.
The truth is that the podcast never went up.
I answered the questions people had as the podcast’s “launch date” approached (I never really had a launch date set and the podcast was supposed to be one of those podcasts where I answered people’s questions).
I didn’t launch the podcast because I was fearful of my schedule making a podcast impossible to maintain, and upon further investigation, I realized I still had a lot to learn about podcasting.
I discovered the importance of interviewing high profile experts too late in the game, and I didn’t fully understand the anatomy of a killer podcast launch. I hesitated, felt overwhelmed, and as a result, didn’t launch the podcast.
Out of all of the things on this list, staying true to having a podcast is the only one that I have not properly responded to yet. While I intend on having my own podcast in 2016, I’ve still got a lot of work to do.
I am still committed to answering my audience’s questions, and I intend on interviewing the most influential entrepreneurs on the podcast. Right now, I’m answering questions via YouTube videos.
But some day, I will have my own podcast.
#5: Never Stop Self-Publishing Books
I can only write so much content in a given day. Some of the content has to be directed towards my blog posts, other content goes to my books, and other content goes to my school work.
I gave up on self-publishing earlier than I should have because although I was able to write one book every month, I didn’t know enough about the marketing. I didn’t know how to optimize my books in the way that I know now.
I was also starting to get good results from Udemy, so I wanted to devote more of my time towards that opportunity.
After I felt comfortable with Udemy, I decided to give self-publishing a second try. I knew that time would be an issue, so I had to make changes.
My decision to go back to self-publishing is one of the reasons why I now upload several YouTube videos on this blog every week.
It saves me time since I don’t write as much content and allows me to tap into a larger audience—all while still providing value.
I always enjoyed self-publishing books, and now that I know how to market them, I am able to make revenue from that content.
Each time we look back, we look at two things. We look at what we are proud of and what we wish we did differently. With a business, it is easy to look back and say, “I wish I did that,” and “I wish I didn’t do that.”
However, your journey is not finished. You always have the opportunity to change the script. For me, that meant self-publishing books again. In the future, it will mean having my own podcast.
Looking back at what you wish you did differently will allow you to better understand your business’ current path and the best ways to make it grow.
What do you wish you did for your business? What do you wish you didn’t do? Have any tips for us? Sound off in the comments section below!