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Celebrating 14 Years of WFM: 14 Lessons I’ve Learned in Business

Celebrating 14 Years of WFM: 14 Lessons I’ve Learned in Business

I’m excited to share that Wild Fig Marketing is celebrating 14 years in business today! 🎉 

In honor of our 14th anniversary, I’m sharing 14 business lessons I’ve learned over the years. So whether you’re thinking about starting your own business or have been in business for several years, I hope these lessons encourage and inspire you!

1. Trust Is a Non-Negotiable

Trust is the foundation for good relationships with both your team members and your clients. If the trust isn’t mutual, you don’t have a healthy relationship. When you feel a sense of distrust it’s important to get to the root of it right away and see if it can be re-established or not. If not, it’s time to move on.

2. Mistakes Are Inevitable

In business and in life, mistakes are inevitable — so don’t take them personally. Learn and grow from them and encourage your team to do the same. I have made more mistakes than I can count, but I’ve learned something from each and every one of them. 

One of my most embarrassing mistakes was several years ago when I sent out a piece of “chunky mail” — a letter with something chunky inside. I had included a cleverly written letter along with a piece of Big Red gum. The title was “Something to Chew On!” 

Unfortunately, I miscalculated the postage, and every prospect on the list got a notice from the post office that they had a letter to pick up and pay for (insert a look of mortification here) because it was marked “postage due”! And then…wait for it…they paid for it only to find out it was a sales letter. 

I almost died when I realized what happened, but I took a deep breath, poured a glass of wine, and devised a creative solution.

I wrote another letter to the prospects and, in it, I admitted to my mistake, enclosed a crisp dollar bill that covered their expenses, and included a funny post office cartoon. Guess what happened after that? I got a ton of responses from those prospects about how funny they thought the situation was and how much they appreciated my honesty. 

As a result of my mistake and the way I handled it, I even generated new business!

3. Invest in Your Team

Invest in your team on a personal level. Find out what motivates them, what their personal and professional goals are, and how you can help them reach their goals. 

Get to know them on a deeper level with personality assessments (I love assessments, and I think my poor team has taken all of them!) and meaningful one-on-one conversations. Encourage them to continue to learn and grow, and provide them with opportunities to do so. 

And if you haven’t read The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly, buy it today! It’s a game-changer!

4. Laugh Every Day

cute dog

Life is too short to be so serious all the time. 

Remember the pandemic? There wasn’t much to laugh about during those days…especially in the beginning when we all felt like we were starring in some sort of apocalypse movie. I’ll never forget having to think about all the what-if scenarios: What happens if we lose all our clients? What happens if we have to lay off some of our team? What happens if we go out of business? 

One day, while walking my dogs and running through all of these what-if scenarios, I thought, That’s it. No more watching the news and no more what-if thinking. I’m going to focus on the positive and find something to laugh about every day. 

So I started finding funny COVID memes (remember “distance learning”??) and posting them on our team’s Slack channel. Every day, our team would find funny memes and GIFs, and we decided to share them with the world through our blogs. It was all we could do to get through a tough situation, and it worked!

5. Find a Morning Routine That Sets You Up for Success

…and stick to it! 

My morning routine consists of working out, journaling, meditating, praying, reading, and identifying the top three things I need to get done that day. When I follow my morning routine, I notice that my days are not only more productive, but they are also better in general. I’m happier and calmer, and I feel like I’m controlling my day vs. letting it control me. 

If you don’t have a good morning routine, I’d highly recommend these two books: The 5 AM Club & The Miracle Morning Routine!

6. Release Clients Who Are Not a Good Fit

This wasn’t an original goal of mine because I’m an eternal optimist who truly believes I can help everyone (I know, I know…that’s not reality). Plus, “woo” — the need to win others over — is one of my top five StrengthsFinder skills. And let’s be honest: In the early days, I couldn’t afford to turn a prospect down…or at least that’s what I was naive enough to think at the time.

I’ll never forget when a peer of mine from a business networking event told me that one of her Christmas gifts to herself every year is firing her worst client. 

At the time, I thought this sounded harsh, and maybe it sounds harsh to you, but now I see why she does it. Clients who aren’t a good fit REALLY drag you down emotionally, physically, and financially. And if you have a team, they drag everyone down. 

So, now we focus on finding the RIGHT clients. We do that by:

  • Clarifying who we can and want to help
  • Looking for potential red flags during the sales process and asking the right questions to uncover them
  • Developing a commitment agreement that both our clients and our team sign

This ensures we are all on the same page up front and everyone understands their role and what’s needed from both parties to ensure a successful relationship.

7. Make Time for Yourself!

We hear this all the time, but self-care is so important. If you’re not healthy, your business won’t be healthy either. 

This is, by far, one of the hardest lessons for me to learn and something I’m still working on every day. A few things I’ve found that allow me a little R&R (and inspire me too) include long walks in the woods with my dogs, listening to Audible books or podcasts while doing my paint-by-numbers, and, of course, taking a bath and reading a good book!

8. Surround Yourself With Good People

surround yourself with great people

Surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you. I’m not talking about family and friends, although I have the best family and friends, and I love them to pieces. I’m talking about peer groups. 

Two of the best decisions I ever made in my business were joining a BNI group and BWC (Business Women’s Circle). The connections I’ve made and the support and encouragement I’ve received and continue to receive have definitely played a role in helping me get where I am today. I’m eternally grateful for the amazing people I’ve met in these groups.

9. Ask for Help

Don’t shy away from asking people for help…and then LET people help you (even if it’s not how you would have done it). 

This might be challenging for my fellow Type A’s out there, but guess what? There’s more than one way to do something! Shocker, I know. And if you’re open to it, you just might find a better way to do something by enlisting other people to help.

10. Challenge Yourself 

Living With the Lid Up

I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge (except holding or touching a snake…ugh, gross! It’s never going to happen in a million years. Did I mention that sometimes it’s good to have a healthy fear of something??). 

I’ve done 5Ks, 10Ks (That one has been permanently checked off my list!), bungee jumping, obstacle courses, and many more things. But one of the biggest challenges I tackled was writing my first book, Living With the Lid Up

I’ll never forget the moment when I challenged myself to $hit or get off the pot (pun intended) and write the damn book because life is too short, and we’re not guaranteed tomorrow. I was sitting in my son’s hospital room, listening to all of the whirs and beeps of the machines he was connected to after he nearly died in an ATV accident. 

I thought about how truly precious life is and how each day is a gift. I didn’t want to waste another day or say, “I’ll start my book tomorrow!” That night I committed to writing my book in six months, and you can bet your ass I did it! The pure joy and exhilaration I felt when I finished that final chapter was like none other. I did it. 

I learned a lot about myself during that process, and I grew a lot, too. Remember, challenge = growth! 

P.S. Stay tuned for the next book I’m writing on how to humanize your brand!

11. Enjoy the Rollercoaster

Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. 

The highs are high, and the lows are low. However, I get to be my own boss and live my dream — something so many others don’t have the opportunity to do. So each day, I thank God for the opportunity to live my dream. I’m incredibly grateful for that. 

12. Build Your Dream Team

Wild Fig Marketing team

Build a team of amazing people with hearts of gold who are as passionate about the work they do as the people they help, and I guarantee you it won’t feel like you’re just running a business. It will feel like you’re on a mission. 

Our team is incredible, and I truly don’t know what I would do without them. My only regret in business is that I didn’t hire them sooner. 

I remember early on how many peers told me to avoid hiring employees because they are too much work. I realize now that they probably said that because they hadn’t found the RIGHT employees. Yes, having employees can be challenging and scary at times (especially during a pandemic), but let me tell you, folks, it’s 100% worth it, and I know for a fact that we wouldn’t be where we are today without them! 

13. Keep Learning and Growing 

If you know me, you know I’m an avid reader and some (especially my husband!) might say, a bit of a bookaholic. However, every time I read a new book, listen to a podcast, or attend a conference, I learn something new — something that might have a minor or monumental impact on myself or my business. 

So figure out what learning method you enjoy best and commit to spending ten minutes a day learning something new. Not sure where to start? I’ve got you!

14. Celebrate! 

As entrepreneurs, we often hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations and only allow ourselves to celebrate the big things. But what about all the small wins that helped you get that big thing? 

I’ll never forget when it was my time to share my top three accomplishments of the year, and NOTHING came to mind. All I could think about in that instant was, What in the halibut is wrong with me? How could I not come up with even one big win in 12 months? 

Fortunately, Lani, my Business Women’s Circle leader, and my fellow circle members were quick to chime in with accomplishments I had mentioned throughout the year that I had forgotten about. I forgot about them because I didn’t take the time to really celebrate them. They were just to-do items on my checklist. How sad. 

Fortunately, I don’t dwell on anything negative for long and decided I needed to fix this behavior. So, during one of our team meetings, we came up with a list of things we needed to celebrate going forward and discussed how we were going to celebrate. Now I’m looking forward to my January 2025 BWC meeting, where I can easily rattle off my list of accomplishments for the year!

There are so many more lessons to share, but alas, I promised you 14, so you’ll have to wait til next year for 15 more! 

But before I let you go, a piece of advice: Make sure you make time for your family and tell them how much you love and appreciate their support! Kevin, Max, and Sam…I love each of you to pieces, even when I might be too tired to show it!


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