25 things I learned in my first year of business

Updated: Dec 7, 2019



This year I changed careers, started a business, developed an entirely new network of colleagues and clients, launched a series of workshops, and found out what I am really made of. And I like it!!

I knew during all of this I was going to learn a lot, but had no idea quite how much.

Here's my list of 25 things I learned this year. I think I have a lot of celebrating to do!

I learned how to set up my website, connect my e-mail, install programmes on my laptop, and find loads of freeware (in the process I realised how much I used to rely on the IT department when I was employed).

I learned to use Canva to make my graphics, Trello to manage projects, Mindmup to brainstorm ideas, Grammarly to minimise typos and grammatical bloopers, Flipboard to help me curate articles, Coursera, Teachable, Udemy, Lynda for online learning, Zoom for conferencing. Didn't know any of these existed before this year.

I learned all about registering a business, setting up a business bank account, registering on the government CSD website, keeping decent records of income and expenditure, keeping my accountant happy and me in the clear.

I learned about SEO (search engine optimisation). I learned about Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Google Adsense, Google Forms, Google GSuite and that the world revolves around Google - literally!

I learned the ins and outs of social media bots and algorithms.

One of the secrets is to get your friends and family to like, share and comment on your blogs and posts because that increases their chances of being seen - so hint hint hint.... help your self-employed friends and like, share and comment!

They (read: I) will love you for it!

I learned that I am strong, resilient and brave - even though sometimes I am convinced I am crazy and would like to spend a day rocking and mumbling in a corner somewhere.

I learned more about the realities of changing careers than I care to mention (but will do so anyway in another blog).

I learned that changing careers takes an awful lot more money than I had realised, and that I can do with a lot less than I thought. Make sure you are financially prepared - and whatever you think you are going to need to set aside, double it!

I learned every employee would do well to work for themselves in their career - it has given me massive respect for real hard work and a clear understanding of the importance of managing myself as a business and not just managing my business as a business.

I learned that I now have an abundance of creative control and didn't know before 2017, that it had been missing from my life.

I learned my strongest character strength is my sense of humour - this surprised me as I can't tell jokes - but I sure can laugh at myself and I regularly lighten the mood with a quirky comment.

I learned my lowest character strength is self-regulation - and that's something I am going to be working on in 2018.

I learned it's possible to develop, market and run 25 workshops in one year when I put my mind to it - and have an absolute blast doing so! It was a little nerve-wracking developing content in parallel with rolling out the workshops, but it taught me to build on the fly!

I learned all about thinking preferences and am now certified to offer the NBI Thinking Preference Assessments.

I learned that even if those who start the journey with you, aren't there as you progress along your path, it's no reason to stop. And in fact, it's an opportunity to pick up a lot of strangers who, when they walk the path with you, become really good friends.

I learned I love working by myself and that I really am not a natural team player. I love working with people, but I treasure having my own creative control and seem to be a much better person when I work on my own.

I learned to deal with a monster-load of rejection and I now know that it comes part and parcel with starting your own venture.

Every rejection has given me the opportunity to refine my offering, clarify what I do, and articulate my value. In the process, I am now marketing myself to people I can genuinely work with, rather than trying to be something to everyone.

I learned all about receiving a "cease and desist" letter from a multinational company because my company name was too close to theirs. It is terrifying receiving that letter on a Friday evening with a demand to close shop within 5 days! I also learned that out of adversity comes strength, opportunity and a wonderful kick-start to reinvention. Since that cease and desist my business has blossomed because in the process of changing my company name from Think Action Coaching, to Briony Liber Coaching and Consulting, it forced me to become my brand.

I learned what I thought was important 10 years ago, really isn't and what I think is important to me now, probably will change in the next 10 years.

I learned that is so much more to learn - heap loads. The more I learn, the more I want to learn! One of the best ways to embed your learning, is to teach others - and in the course of my workshops this year, that is exactly what I have done.

I learned when you truly love what you do, something that aligns with your values and in a way that you like to work, then anything seems possible, and everything is a pleasure.

I learned that comparing myself to others is a surefire way to be miserable. The downside of social media is how easy it is to make comparisons. There are some truly amazing entrepreneurs, coaches and businesswomen out there and I am learning to acknowledge I am at the beginning of my journey while they have a head start.


I learned as the saying goes that "if you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far, go together". With that in mind, I put a lot of time into developing relationships and nurturing my networks on and offline. I joined Women in Mining South Africa and in September was co-opted onto the committee, I started building relationships on LinkedIn and joined a number of online communities for women entrepreneurs.

I learned that I love working in coffee shops (currently writing this as I slurp on my cappuccino and gobble the best carrot cake ever, while I sit at Von Cake.

And I learned blogs should never be longer than 600 - 1000 words, so I better stop here!

Just enough words left to ask:

What have you learned this year?