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10 Hard Truths About Being an Entrepreneur

Reading time: 7 min.

Did you know that 96% of businesses don’t make it to the 10-year mark? Now, I haven’t celebrated my decade-iversary yet, but I have made it to seven years. I’m getting pretty close.

But one thing I’ve learned in that time is that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. 

With seven years of experience under my belt, I can totally see why so many businesses fail or decide not to continue on. 

This stuff is hard!

Today, I want to share with you the truth about being an entrepreneur as I’ve experienced it. 

Whether you’re a seasoned vet or new on the scene, I hope my lessons help you feel seen — and maybe even prevent you from making a mistake or two along the way. 


First, some backstory

Just so you know where I’m coming from, I want to share some of my story with you. 

I started my business in 2016. I was in corporate marketing for years before that, and I loved it! When I first started my business, I actually provided copywriting and calligraphy, hence calling it Ashlyn Writes. 

Now I have an agency. I kind of feel like I have (and I’ve been told I have) two businesses under one roof. I have an agency side of my business where our team of copywriters and I service our one-on-one clients. 

Then on the curriculum side of my business, I equip people to be their own best copywriter, with The Copy Bar template shop. I also have several courses and a membership. 

Full transparency — I do not do this on my own, but I started out as a solopreneur and did it by myself for a while. But I have a great team by my side now!

So now that we have that out of the way (and so you know where I learned all these lessons from!), let’s get into it. 


Lesson #1: Consistency beats talent 

If you’ve ever read Chet Holmes before, he has the phrase, “It takes pigheaded discipline and determination.” I love that probably because it’s an ugly phrase, thus it sticks in my mind. But if you’re not exactly sure what that’s supposed to mean, it’s basically a fun way to say that you have to get gritty to stay in the game.

Entrepreneurship is about getting knocked down and then getting up all over again all the time. There will be hard times and difficult situations. 

You’re putting ideas out there. You may have a hypothesis about how it’ll be perceived, but you’re never quite sure until you get it out into the world

And when you fail, you have to be consistent with getting back up and trying again. 

It’s like you’re in the office, hacking at a piece of marble, sculpting it like Michelangelo, and then at the end of the day, you put your tools down and leave. 

Then you come back the next day and do it all over again. That’s the work t it takes. 


Lesson #2: You need to be good at saying no

If you run a business, you’ve gotta get good at saying no. 

You’ve probably learned fairly quickly that there are lots of ideas to explore. But not all those ideas are worth your time, money, and energy.

I have a very clear vision and that keeps me going. A lot of times when I have to choose, I have to weigh things and think about what deserves my time. 

Even if the idea is alluring! 


Lesson #3: The only thing you can count on is change

In life and in business, I’ve learned that the only constant is change. I say this because I remember when I was starry-eyed and first started in business and everything was new and fun. 

And then I hit some rocky patches — and a lot of it had to do with change. Change would happen constantly and I felt like I couldn’t keep up.

I have felt like this about Instagram and Facebook ads, as well as some of the ways my niche has changed. 

You’ve gotta pivot. You’ve gotta change with the times. 

You kind of have to be on the cutting edge of things while simultaneously being consistent with what you do. 

So listen and be aware of what’s going on so you can adapt alongside it. 


Lesson #4: Discern the opinions of others

You don’t have to listen to every piece of advice. 

You’re constantly bombarded with it from several places. Every time you swipe on a social media app, you’re hearing more advice. It’s noisy out there! 

You’ll get criticism. 

You’ll hear advice you don’t agree with or know isn’t right for your right now. 

But not everything is going to be worth your time, and not everything will align with your values

So try to just stick with a few people you know you can trust and forget about the rest. 


Lesson #5: Master your craft

One thing people have told me over the years is they respect that I have stayed in my lane as a copywriter. 

I don’t usually venture too much outside of it. I’m fascinated with figuring out how to be the very best writer possible. 

A lot of times, when I’m sharing writing tips or things in my newsletters, it’s what I’m learning in real-time. I get so excited to share them because I love knowing they can help someone else! 

Another thing I’ll tell anyone who’s listening to do is to read the oldies. 

I could not be more enamored with older copywriting books, the ones that are decades to half a century old. I love seeing how things have changed, what hasn’t, and what I can learn from it.

Moral of the story: Always be a student!


Lesson #6: Expect good ideas to be copied

If it’s a good idea, expect it to be copied. And while you can’t always control when and where that will happen, you can be prepared. 

Like I told my members inside of Copywriting for Creatives, you need to do the following: 

  • Hire a good attorney: Have one you can trust and who has experience with online business. Have one that knows how to talk you off the ledge, when to be concerned, and when to take action. Good lawyers do a little bit of mindset work in there too.
  • Set up a guard dog system of layers: There are a lot of things that are going to be copied that you can’t really do anything about. If you can, filter it through your team or attorney first before you see it because, sometimes, it can be really discouraging. 

Lesson #7: Business thrives on relationships

Maybe you like being around people, maybe you don’t. Or maybe you’re like me and enjoy but need time to process. 

Regardless, business thrives on relationships!

That doesn’t mean you have to go out and constantly network, but it does mean you need to be the face of your business and foster strong connections where you can. 

Sometimes this means working on providing the best client experience possible. Or being a better leader for your team. 

But one thing’s for sure — you won’t regret making these connections!


Lesson #8: Building a team is hard

You can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t focus on building a solid team. You have a culture even if you don’t realize it, so make it a good one. 

It’s taken me a few years to get comfortable being in the leadership position of the business, but I’ve realized how important having a team is

You can’t do it all alone. At some point, you will need to delegate and outsource so you’re not constantly running on fumes. 

And it’s hard to give up that control — I see you! 

It’s also hard to get a grasp on managing everyone, but it’s SO worth it in the end because you’ll have more time to focus on running the business. 


Lesson #9: Ask for wisdom

I know I’m talking about faith for a minute and I might lose some of you, but figuring out how to have a small business with biblical principles is something I’m passionate about.

I pray for wisdom constantly. There’s a verse, James 1:5, that tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

And let me tell you, I need it every single day.

On the days I don’t feel like praying or asking for wisdom, I think about this Martin Luther quote where he says something to the tune of, “I’m so busy today that I could spend hours in prayer.”

It seems counterintuitive, but it’s the truth! 

It’s the days when I feel too busy and too stressed to slow down that I feel in over my head. 

So yeah, God is good and I’m thankful He gives wisdom (because boy, do I need lots of it!). 


Lesson #10: Feed your creativity

Being creative is a part of our job as business owners, even if you don’t think your job is inherently “creative.” 

A lot of this thing requires thinking outside the box, coming up with new ways to do things, and exploring those ideas. 

Truth be told, I have to work really, really hard at being creative. 

But I’ve found some ways that have worked well for me professionally over the past decade, some ways learned in a PR agency, and some learned on my own as a small business owner.

And in the video below, I pull back the curtain to show you how, on the outside in, you can be creative. 

Whether you’re an accountant or a graphic designer, we ALL have the ability to be creative, we just have to foster it in ways that work for us!

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Reading time: 7 min. Did you know that 96% of businesses don’t make it to the 10-year mark? Now, I haven’t celebrated my decade-iversary yet, but I have made it to seven years. I’m getting pretty close. But one thing I’ve learned in that time is that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.  With seven years […]

3/02/23

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