Someone asked me the other day what the biggest thing I’d learned in my first year of business was. It was a tough question! My journey so far has been littered with lessons and it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. But there are a few that stand out. I thought I’d share them because I’m sure a lot of people on similar paths will identify with them.

1) Say no

It’s hard, because you want your business to succeed and turning away work goes against instinct, but don’t be afraid to turn projects down if they don’t gel with your beliefs and values. I didn’t do this to start with, and it only led to frustration.

2) Go with the flow.

Yes, planning is important, because without knowing where you’re going you’re likely to get lost. But don’t panic when – not if – things change. Life gets in the way, the best laid plans and all that. Be prepared to roll with the punches and make alternate plans when the need arises.

3) Network. 

Put yourself out there. Forge new relationships and nurture existing ones. A lot of work comes through word of mouth and it really is about who you know. In 2018 I went to a New Zealand Society of Authors writing conference in Auckland and reacquainted myself with a distant colleague from years ago who may or may not have remembered me. I now work with her regularly on PR projects and I love the work.

4) Believe in yourself. 

There have been times during this past year when I’ve doubted whether I’m on the right path. I’ve worried about where the next project will come from, or whether there’d even be a next project. There always is. Because when you’re good at what you do, the work will come. If it doesn’t, try creating your own. It worked for me.

5) Be good at what you do, but always strive to be better. There’s always room for improvement.