5 Brutal Truths About Business You Don’t Want to Hear (but you totally should)

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Are you a business owner looking for actionable business advice? 

In this article, I share the five brutal truths that you’re eventually going to learn in your business. I’m going to tell you these business lessons now so you’ll learn and avoid them sooner rather than later. A lot of the lessons will hit home for you, no matter where you’re at in your journey. 

If you prefer to listen to the podcast, make sure you check out the latest episode here and I would love to know if today’s episode resonates with you.

But if you prefer to read, then keep scrolling to learn more about the five brutal truths I learned when running and scaling my business. 

Truth #1

There is always someone that will want it more badly than you

This is the first brutal truth that I had to mentally get over recently, and that is…

Newsflash:

There is ALWAYS going to be someone who is better than you.

Someone out there in your industry who wants it more badly than you do. 

Someone who is more creative than you are, who is growing faster than you are. Who’s getting more opportunities than you are, or who is more connected than you. 

Now this can be a really hard pill to swallow. And I honestly have felt this hard in the last six months, as I’ve realized no matter how amazing of a year you might think you’re having you have to come to peace with the fact that competition is always going to be there. 

When you’re just starting out, your growth trajectory is going to be massive, and the bar is infinite. It’s entirely possible to go from zero to a hundred. But what happens after you’ve hit 100? Then your growth is going to slow, you won’t be the newcomer on the block anymore. 

And in your business where you’re a bit more established, there’s going to be fresh, new people who come in, who are basically trendier than you, who understand how to use certain apps (cough cough TikTok). For example, I’lI see people crushing it on TikTok and I’m here just trying to still figure out how to like upload a thing. 

Or when Clubhouse came out, I was like freaking out cause I didn’t even know how to use it?! 

There’s just so many different things that are gonna make you feel like a dinosaur at some point. 

You literally have to realize that you cannot win it all. 

There’s always going to be someone out there in the industry who does something, anything, whatever your thing is, a little bit better than you. 

Especially as you’ve been in business for longer, the competition is just going to get bigger and bigger.

But if you’re constantly following other people, not to support them, but to literally creep on their content all the time, see what they’re working on or compare your business with theirs. 

Then you will always end up being the loser. 

Why?

Because that energy, you can be focusing on doing your own thing, staying in your own lane, perfecting your own products and services, taking care of the customers that you currently have, taking care of the followers that currently are subscribed to you.

Instead of looking at how can I get more followers? Or thinking “this person is doing something similar to me and she’s taking my followers or he’s taking my followers” or “my followers are going to be choosing between this product, my product and their product.” 

That’s not a healthy way to be operating your business.

Bottom line: If you plan on running this business for the long term, focus on collaborating instead of competing with everyone that gets in your way.

Instead of comparing yourself with others, the most important business advice that I’ve come to learn myself is to stay in your own lane. 

The people who are attracted to you are attracted to you for a reason. 

Truth #2

There will be seasons in your business where you’ll want to give up

There are going to be seasons in your business where you’re going to feel like everything is crashing down. And seasons where you’re going to want to give up, where you’re literally going to tell yourself, this is it I’m done. 

I’m a one hit wonder, nobody cares about me anymore. 

For me, this happens every January, February, even sometimes March, that’s when I feel that way.

In the first two quarters of my business, I’m always in a really bad mood. I will always feel like crap. 

In the last two years of my business, Q1 and Q2 are naturally more slower than Q3 and Q4 because the first two quarters in my business I’m planting the seeds. I’m training my people, I’m hiring, I’m setting things up, I’m creating, I’m creating a new curriculum for my course, or I’m doing whatever.

And Q3 and Q4 is when I actually start launching things, I start releasing things or maybe the compound effect of me planting those seeds in the first two quarters, they end up paying off in the last two quarters. 

I’m always doubting myself. I’m always nervous and scared that I’m not going to hit my goals, all these things. 

Inevitably, that’s always going to happen to you. Maybe for you. It might not look like Q1 and Q2. Maybe it’s a certain event that happens in your business. But there will be moments where you are in a period of self doubt.

The one thing that I want to mention to you is…

It’s okay to feel scared when you have big goals. 

It’s normal to be doubting yourself of whether or not you can hit those goals. 

And it’s also absolutely normal when you set a big goal in your business and you’re feeling discouraged and maybe you’re even doubting yourself.

But remember…

Every time you set a big goal in your business, you are opening up an opportunity to reinvent yourself. 

When you set a big goal, you will be scared. You will doubt yourself or feel anxious. 

That’s completely normal. Because that big goal is something that you’ve never achieved before. 

When you haven’t done something before, obviously you’re going to be scared. 

You’re going to be like, wait, I’ve never done this before. What is the roadmap to get there? What strategies do I use? Who do I need to become? What questions do I need to ask? What mindset shifts do I need to make? Who do I need to lean on? 

You have all these questions that you don’t know the answers to yet. And you won’t know the conclusions until you start actually experimenting.

I really want you to read this blog and remind yourself that every other successful business owner or non-successful business owner, will always have these seasons of doubt, including myself. 

Truth #3

The bigger the business, the bigger the problems

Another brutal truth that not a lot of people talk about or don’t realize is that when you have a big business, there will be more baggage that comes with it. 

A lot of people want to have a six figure or seven figure business but don’t realize that it’ll also come with a bigger set of problems. 

For example, it’s crazy that I have a seven figure business. 

Really unbelievable to me even now, but guess what? 

I also have thousands of dollars of expenses, seven people on payroll, not including the contractors and the agencies that we hire. 

40 grand of paid ad spend every single month. That’s six figures of expenses. 

So when your expenses increase, then guess what? That also means that your revenue needs to increase as well or else you’re going to be at a loss. 

So now that minimum revenue number that you need to hit becomes higher and higher as you grow. For me, it kind of feels like the stakes are a little bit higher.

I need to make at least six figures every single month in order for me to feel like I’m not at a loss. 

Whereas two years ago, if I made $500, $1000, $10,000 dollars I would have been happy because it would have been all profit since I had virtually no expenses. 

But remember you need to spend money to make money. You need to spend money to grow your business. I talked about this in one of the blog posts on the seven lessons that I learned from building a multiple seven figure business, you can read more about it here. 

That’s a brutal truth that not a lot of people realize. If you want to play a bigger game, you better be prepared for the baggage that comes with a bigger game, bigger game, bigger problems, bigger expenses. 

You have to literally shift and become a different person. You need to stay calm. You need to stay disciplined. 

Before I could have seasons in my business where I had more excuses to not be as productive. But now I’m playing a game where I can not afford to be doubting myself for too long. I literally cannot afford to not do anything. 

I cannot afford to be a victim, and hope that someone’s going to save me when I encounter a problem. 

I need to save myself because the stakes are so much higher when you play a bigger game.

Truth #4

Something will plateau in your business

This links back to the first brutal truth that I mentioned.

When you’re first starting out your first year or your second year or in the first phase of your business, when you are in zero to a hundred mode is going to be one of the most exciting phases in your business that you’ve ever witnessed, because you’re starting from zero and the sky’s the limit you can like literally grow your account from zero to a hundred thousand. 

You could grow your business from zero to six figures or zero to seven figures or whatever it is. 

You can do so much because you’re literally starting from zero.

Nobody knows you. So obviously you’re going to grow really fast. 

But after you’ve been in the game for a really long time, and you’ve already collected the amount of followers that you could possibly collect when you’re starting out. 

Now what happens when you get to a place in your business where everybody knows you? Yes. There’s always going to be new people that you can attract and all that, but the growth at some point will plateau.

At some point, the growth will be slower than your first year or your second year so you’re going to be sad about that. And this links back to the whole competition thing that I mentioned in the beginning of this blog.

What you have to realize is competition is a good thing because competition allows for innovation. 

It’s innovate or die.

Yes, I know that sounds very harsh. 

But that’s just how business works. 

Those who don’t innovate will end up being forgotten. 

And I know that can be very stressful for a lot of people, and it’s not meant for you to be competitive, but competition at the end of the day is a good thing. 

When you realize that your business is plateauing, then you know that you have to do something different. 

For example, my YouTube channel. I recently hit 400,000 subscribers and the growth from zero to 200,000 to 300,000 was super fast.

But as a result of that intense growth, now I’m noticing is a lot of my analytics is in the red. 

It could be that the algorithm changed, or that my subscribers have heard these topics again and again, and again. I mean, I can only talk about Instagram growth and building a business so many times. 

So naturally you will plateau. 

That’s when, you as a business owner, have to innovate. 

For me with my YouTube channel, I hired a new editing team. I hired a new filming team, a videographer to up my content game. I’m starting to focus more on podcasts. 

Because that’s something that I haven’t really tapped into. 

When your growth slows down, that’s when you know something needs to change.

Truth #5

If you are good at what you do, be prepared to be copied

The next truth that I have for you is if you are good at what you do be prepared to be copied.

It’s inevitable that it happens. And I hate it. 

I absolutely hate it when people say, copying is the best form of flattery. 

I get really annoyed when people copy my stuff, don’t credit me, rip off my items, do all these things. 

At the end of the day, I calm myself down by telling myself that if my stuff was bad, it wouldn’t be copied. 

The thing about when people who copy is that they can only copy what you’ve done. 

They can only copy the past things that you’ve done. 

They cannot copy the plans that you have for the future. 

They cannot copy your creativity. 

And so I sleep well at night knowing that that fact, even though I’m hella annoyed that people are copying my stuff. 

At the end of the day, there’s a reason why they’re copying my stuff. 

It’s because number one, it’s working.

And number two, it’s good. 

And since I was the original creator of that thing, I’m always going to be able to create, you can not rob me of my creativity even if you copied me.

My attitude towards this now, has been that if you copy me. Have fun catching up. 

Because I’m going to move on to the next thing.

To the people who are copying me…. good luck to you because I’m going to keep working. 

I’m going to keep pumping out new content. I’m going to keep innovating for my business. 

Because running a business is like running a marathon. 

That’s a brutal truth that every business owner needs to realize.

If you keep crying about all the people that copy you, it’ll just be wasted time. 

Rather than doing that, I would focus on innovating. 

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading and I will see you in the next blog! 

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Cheering for you, Boss! 

– Vanessa

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