2019 is my third year in business, but in a sense it feels like my first, because I’m starting many things anew. Before I dive into that, let me take you back to my first official year in business, 2016. My heart was on fire for this brand new business, Empowerista, and I was determined to inspire and empower as many women as possible. Looking back at this year and the one to follow, I did inspire and empower many women. And because of that, I consider my first two years in business a success. BUT… my business plateaued, and it became apparent that the foundation of Empowerista - as it was at the time - wasn’t sustainable and scalable. After taking last year to gain new skills and makeover my business plan, I’m confident this year will be different.
Here are the three mistakes I made during my first two years in business that I’ve learned from, inspiring a fresh start for Empowerista.
1) I didn’t know who I was serving.
“If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to noone.” It’s a common phrase in business, often uttered by Marie Forleo. I remember the first time I heard this. I hated it. I mean it was my job to empower as many. women. as. possible. Ugh! What I didn’t realize is: people come to brands for specific needs and wants. You go to LuLuLemon for yoga pants, Whole Foods for organic food and Ben and Jerry’s for your sugar fix. If Ben and Jerry’s tried selling to everyone - vegans included - it just wouldn’t work. So who was I trying to reach and what need/want was I fulfilling?
During my year of exploration I determined I want to serve female entrepreneurs who own women’s lifestyle businesses that need help telling their story online.
2) I focused on the quantity, versus, quality of my reach
I remember sitting in my TV agent’s office when he told me I needed a million followers to get primetime TV spots. A million?!! I had about 10k at the time, so needless to say, I had a ways to go. Since TV hosting was my primary source of income at the time, I frantically Googled how to gain 990,000 new followers. Turns out Google doesn’t have the answer for everything.
Related to mistake #1, this was the mindset I brought to Empowerista. I thought if I didn’t reach a million people, I wouldn’t be successful. Turns out the TV industry is a lot different than entrepreneurship. In business, the quality of your impact is much more important that the quantity.
Let’s say you own a yoga studio and have a financial goal of earning $10,000 per month and your monthly membership is $100. All you would need to reach this goal is 100 people to become members. 100!!! But not any 100. These 100 people need to be located in your city, do yoga and have an extra $100 / month in their bank account. As a business owner, it’s a lot smarter to think about finding these 100 people and serving them well, versus trying to find 1,000,000 random people.
What does this mean for Empowerista in 2019? Now that I’m aware of who I want to serve, my offerings will specifically serve them. Where my attention before was on reaching more people - often ignoring the ones I’ve already reached - my attention now is on serving the people I’m reaching, while aiming to serve more of the right people.
3) I lacked focus
Because I was speaking to the masses, I was providing for the masses. I was doing events, and speaking, and a talk show, and a blog, and a group accountability program and a course and a….. You get the point. Basically, I was throwing things at the wall and seeing what would stick instead of focus on doing one (to a few) strategic things really well.
In 2019, Empowerista will tremendously narrow its focus. We will continue to create valuable content and offerings helping female entrepreneurs tell their story on social media and online. And 99% of what we do will support this focus.
Again, I considered the first two years of my business a success. Because I did empower women, and more importantly, I learned valuable lessons that will allow me to empower women for more years to come. I’m really excited for 2019, this new approach and to serve women in a deeper way.
Happy new year! xx