ep 466: My Top 5 Lessons from 2022
Today I’m sharing my top lessons from 2022 (and 1 BIG mistake I will never make again). If I look back at myself six months ago, I don’t even fully recognize who I was. I’ve grown so much as a person and as a CEO. The lessons I share today can be applied to not only my business, but all aspects of life. Listen in as I open up about my personal struggles, victories, and what consistent themes I noticed in my business. Let me know which one resonates most with you, send me a DM on instagram @EmilyHirsh.
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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
The biggest lesson I learned this last year is to embrace the fact that change is constant and it’s the only thing guaranteed in your business.
You were listening to the Not for Lazy Marketers Podcast, episode number 466.
Hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. I hope you guys are having a good week. I cannot believe we are 10 days away from Christmas. Every year I feel like I’m ahead of the game, like Thanksgiving is here and I’m like, oh my gosh, we have so much time and I’ve already started thinking about gifts and like, I’m good. And then I take my eyes off it for a little bit and all of a sudden it’s like, oh crap. We have one week basically until Christmas. And I always make this book for my husband every year that has like a bunch of our family photos and I put it in a book for him. But you have to get it ordered in time to get it here by Christmas. And it takes me at least like three hours to make it because I have to go through and pick all the photos and organize them.
And anyways, I haven’t done it yet. I have to do it this weekend and then I’m gonna have to pay for rush shipping because it’s like my tradition that I make him this and I gotta get it, but I can’t believe the date. And I hope you guys are relaxing a little bit and enjoying the holidays. It always drives me crazy how fast it comes and then it is over. And it makes me kind of sad because I’m like, I love doing the holiday things and having the decorations and I feel like I’m enjoying it and I feel like I’m in the moment, but then it just goes by in a flash. So today I wanted to talk about my top lessons from 2022, which it’s crazy. We’re here sharing this. I feel like I just recorded a podcast like this from last year. So I have my five top lessons that I’ve kind of reflected on the past year, and this last year was really good.
There was a rough period at the beginning of the year, kind of like for me and my company. Summers are always rough for a lot of companies. They are. And there was a period where I had to get back involved in art delivery and I was really disappointed with what I found and just had to really face like, I’m the problem, it’s me. No, I’m just kidding. Had to face the responsibility of getting back involved, rebuilding things. I’ve shared a lot of that on the podcast, but getting back involved in our hiring setting foundations, making sure we’re following our values. And I’ve basically spent the last like six months doing that and it’s paid off so much and it’s been an incredible last six months. I’ve also experienced a lot of personal growth in the last six months. If I look back at myself six months ago, I don’t even fully recognize who I was then.
Like I am a much more just grounded calm person and not so reactionary and caught up in the addiction to constantly like, I gotta do this and you gotta do this. And being on, and I mean, I still struggle with it, especially when I have a lot on my plate, but I’ve found myself in weeks where I am way over committed, especially right now with the holidays and being able to handle it really well and still being able to like joke around with my husband and play with my kids and, you know, disconnect. And it’s hard. It takes an effort to do that, but I’ve really found myself doing that much better at that. And so that’s something I’m, I’m really proud of. Last year, going into this year, my number one goal for the year was fun. It was travel, make the memories, have the experiences.
Yes, grow the business. Yes, get healthy, yes, do the workouts, yes, do all those things that I love and every year are part of my goals. But my number one priority was honestly travel memories. And I did it. I traveled almost every month this last year, and I did a mix. I did a trip with just my husband. I took my kids for a month and the summer to California. I took them for a surprise trip to LegoLand. I did some solo trips. We went to Arizona. I went to Montana a couple times. Like it was amazing. And when I go create that book I was talking about for my husband, and it’s really, you know, if you look back on your year and you just scroll your photos, every memorable thing is a memory is an experience. It’s when you got out of your day to day and you actually created an experience.
And so that’s, that’s my priority because that’s what matters. Like when I look back on the last year, I don’t look back at like, oh, I, you know, finished that work project maybe sometimes, but for the most part it’s the memories I created and, and when I was present with myself, with my kids, and with other people in my life. So that wasn’t into my lessons yet. Let’s get into my lessons. All right. The first biggest lesson I learned this last year is to embrace the fact that change is constant and it’s the only thing guaranteed in your business is that things will change. And I think that, you know, this especially mid-year, last year was a big kind of wake up call for me that you can’t really, you know, sit back and be like, okay, you know, whether it’s delivery or marketing or anything in your business, like we’ve figured it out.
The second you do that, it gets dangerous and it’s like you have blinders on to what’s going on. And so embracing that things are not going to be perfect, things will always be broken. And that is how a business works. If it’s growing, there are problems, there are issues, and you have to know where to put the number one attention and energy and priority into your business because there’s always gonna be things that you could be doing better that are not working, that could work better, that are completely broken and failing. That is normal. And the bigger the business you build, the more problems you have. And that’s also normal. And so you also have to build a tolerance to that. And so understanding that really every day I come into my business now I’m very open to the change. I’m open to what do we need to change?
What do we need to adapt? What isn’t working? Like what can we do better? And not obsessed with achieving this finish line that doesn’t exist. Because if you get obsessed with that and you’re so focused on the finish line, you miss a lot of important things around you. So that was a big lesson for me. And, and more so for me, like personally to be okay with it and not let it cause such tremendous stress and frustration. Because I used to, and and again, like I say, I used to, I still have to catch myself in this, get overwhelmed or frustrated when a lot of things at once are not working or we just have a bad week where things fall apart, whatever that looks like, everybody has that. And so to think, to make that become a meaning where you’re like, I suck and I’m not a good business owner in my business sucks, and this isn’t gonna work, that’s not going to help you.
But instead be like, okay, this is part of the game. This is normal. I’m expecting this. Like me I’m not going into this with different expectations, so here’s the facts and here’s what I need to do and, and I’ll do my best. And that is all we can do. And to be able to also pass that onto my team has been extremely helpful and it’s allowed us to get to a next level that we couldn’t have a year ago because we didn’t have the tolerance for it. We didn’t have the understanding that this was the thing. And so we would have those panics and that anxiety and it was coming from me. The second biggest lesson kind of relates to this, this is a very important one, is don’t get too comfortable because when things are working and you’re like, all right, we’re good now everything’s working.
Like, you know, I don’t have to pay attention to my marketing. I’m getting leads, I’m getting sales, everything’s working good, and my delivery’s great. And clients are happy, customers are happy. When you get into that place where you’re super comfortable and you start kind of stop paying attention and you, you let things ride for a long time without looking into them, without, you know, auditing them and looking, how can we do better and looking for the holes because the holes are there, that’s when things start to fall apart. And, you know, this happened to me and I did this. I did this with my whole business, but especially our delivery at the beginning of last year or this year, so like January and the, and maybe the end of last year. And it led me to actually shutting down this year one of our offers that was profitable, that we had sold 200 plus people into this, this $4,000 offer that was really good, that was getting people success.
And I decided to shut it down for a few reasons. But one of the biggest reasons being I needed to focus more on a single offer on our done for you instead of trying to have it done for you and a done with you. And again, this offer was great, people still rave that it was like one of the best, you know, programs for marketing on the internet and that’s really hard to make that decision. But I needed to focus all in and I got too comfortable, I got too comfortable and I said, okay, now I’m so comfortable I can go over here and focus on this thing and everything over here is gonna be fine. And it’s not to say that you can’t do other things in your business, but usually the path to growth isn’t more, it’s not more offers, it’s not more funnels, it’s not more content mediums, it’s usually doing what you already have better and that’s boring and sometimes that is uncomfortable, but getting too comfortable where you’re like, everything’s good so I can just ignore x, y, z, it will always lead to issues.
And usually what happens is those issues have a delayed reaction. So you start to do that one month and for a while you’re fine and you’re like, this is working and everything’s still great. Oh my gosh, like I was able to do it and I’m able to walk away from my business and be super passive and not run my business, et cetera. All the things that are fed to you in the online space, well 3, 4, 5, 6 months down the line, that’s when you start to feel it. That’s when things start to fall apart. And then it takes 3, 4, 5, 6 months to build it back up and to fix it. So don’t get too comfortable, be looking constantly for the holes. That is the job of a ceo. That is the job of a leader is to say, here’s what we’re doing and I need to find and see from my viewpoint, my high level viewpoint where I could do things better, where I could improve.
Okay? The third biggest lesson is how important in this is gonna be every single year, but I think this year and for the place that we’re in with the economy and, and buyer hesitancy being higher and just overall, you know, the importance of this is stay connected to your audience and your customers do not become that business owner that is like, well I have, you know, successfully sold my offers and built my team, or I’ve gotten my business to this place, or I’ve hired a coach or I’ve hired even an agency and now I can ignore all this. Now I’m gonna disconnect from my audience. I’m gonna disconnect from my customers. Because what happens is you lose that connection and that’s gonna impact your content. It’s going to impact your delivery, it’s going to impact your marketing and your messaging. And the answer is always in the relationship with your audience, with your leads and with your customers.
Because if you focus on that relationship and you listen to what they’re saying and you put the work in, in that relationship, you will always reap the benefits of that, right? And my friend George Bryant, who I was just in Montana with, is huge on relationships. And he’s really, I mean I’ve always known, I’ve always said it’s the connection with your audience and this is partly why we get along so well is we have such great alignment when it comes to marketing. But he has a great point that there is no relationship in the world that is going to work if you don’t put work into it. So why do we expect as business owners that we don’t have to do very much to nurture the relationship with our audience leads and customers? We do. It’s constant work in progress. It’s constant growth, it’s constant as he says, watering the relationship and improving it and putting work into it, which is very important if you wanna be able to sell and have success in your business.
And a lot of times people who aren’t selling or aren’t seeing that success in their business, if they just put almost all their energy into just connecting with the audience and the leads and the customers they already have, they would turn around their success. It’s that simple. But yet so many people miss it. All right, my fourth lesson, this is kind of like a personal one for me that I have shared on the podcast so I don’t, you know, I think some of you’ll relate to it, but it’s not as bigger picture as these other ones have. And that is, I have been in a similar place in business for like the last three years and I feel that this year I really broke that ceiling. I did and I broke through that. And one of the biggest things I had to learn was to stop my reaction of stepping in and taking everything over and instead empowering the people below me and empowering the people that I lead to grow and learning to coach them and learning to support them the way I have been coached by coaches or I have been empowered and I learned like this, this kind of cycle that I get in where if something it takes a long time or it’s not as fast as I want it or it’s not exactly how I would do it, I just am like whatever, I’ll just step in and do it.
Right? And then what it does is it creates this culture around me, not just in my business but also like personal relationships, my family, my kids. Like it creates this culture where it’s like, oh well Emily will just step in and save it. Like that’s how I train people around me to think is okay, when it gets hard or it gets confusing, I don’t wanna mess it up because Emily has such high standards, I’ll just have her step in and do it. You will not be able to grow with that mindset. You will hit a ceiling quickly cuz you’re only one person and so it’s harder to go this route, but this is the way you have to go. And that is empowering people. It’s asking the questions, it’s stating the expectations, but it’s not doing it for them. And it’s taking the time and the energy that it takes to do that.
It honestly takes more time and energy to do that. But the long-term gain from that is a lot higher than the short-term gain of just stepping in and doing it myself, because then I’m gonna be in that constant, constant place where that’s what I do. And so that’s something I really worked on this year and I still catch myself doing it. I still catch myself stepping in and being like, I’m gonna reassign this and we’re gonna do this and this is the way it is, right? And that’s my personality. I’m a very dominant personality. I, I go into situations and I take over, I get on a call and I take over. I can’t help myself. I think that’s the natural tendencies of a leader, but also I think leaders have to learn to be quiet and leaders have to, to learn. It’s not necessarily natural and comfortable for us, but it’s essential to be a good leader.
And so instead of me stepping in and taking over and saying, this is how we’re gonna do it, I ask questions, I empower, I provide feedback and I state the expectations and then we get to the place. But that is such a better experience for someone than saying do it this way. I mean imagine like somebody else doing that for you. Or I look at my kids and if I’m like, Hey, you have to do this. And they’re like, why? And I’m like, just because I said so kids don’t really respond to that. But if I say, because I would like your room to be clean and I don’t care how you get it there. So you can choose how you clean it, you can choose when you clean it, but by the end of today, I need your room to be clean and I’m not gonna step in and do it for them because I can clean the room better and way faster.
And I do that cause I like to organize. So I will do that, but that doesn’t empower my kids to keep their room clean, right? I’m just taking over and then they’re like, okay, mom will do it. And they don’t learn how to clean the room. There’s a lot of leadership that’s just like parenting too. Okay? My next lesson is, there were times in my business this year where I felt the natural stress of a business, cash flow, sales, whatever, it happens to everybody. There’s good months, there’s good seasons, there’s bad months, there’s bad seasons. But what I’ve learned time and time again is that if you focus all your attention on what I said earlier, connection to your audience, your leads, your customers, but also solving problems, there is so much opportunity out there and I’m constantly reminded of that. Like as soon as I feel the stress or I start to feel overwhelmed or I worry about something, I realize no, there is so much opportunity.
Every one of your audience and your leads and and the people you’re reaching have problems that you can solve. And it’s your job to communicate the fact that you can solve this problem and communicate the solution correctly and lead them through this experience where they trust you, they believe you can solve their problem and they have that relationship and connection with you. That is marketing. But if you focus on solving the problem that your audience wants, not just needs but wants and says they have this problem and you create the solutions and you create the best solutions, you will be successful. So anytime you are feeling that stress in your business are like things aren’t working, connect, build those relationships. Go back to that, the basics of that and focus on solving the problem and the opportunities are abundant. I have a six lesson I’ll throw in here that as I was talking at the beginning, I was like, that should be a lesson.
That’s what happens to me when I do my podcast cuz they’re so off the cuff. And you business owners who are starting to grow a team will appreciate this one. And I don’t like to say never, but I, I almost wanna say it in this situation, and that is, I’ll never be so uninvolved in our hiring of our team ever again. That was probably one of the biggest mistakes I made. And I wish someone could have looked into my business and just pointed it out to me. But I never had a situation where I could talk about my business and then I like explain the process that I was following to where someone could have corrected it. But then after I’ve told people and they’re like, oh yeah, like you don’t wanna do that. So I went through this phase where, you know, because of things you’re fed or told or like mentors that I had who are who I still love.
But, just the mindset was like, remove yourself from the business. Like that’s the goal, right? Let the business run without you completely remove yourself. Create that passive business where you, you know, have everything running. And to an extent you can create that and you can have a team delivering, but you are not uninvolved. You’re involved in the background, you’re leading, you’re setting expectations, you’re withholding quality, you’re finding the problems and you’re making sure the people that you bring on your team are the right people. And I realized, I think it was like an eight figure business owner I was talking to who told me that they do all their final interviews. And I was like, what? I’m not doing my final interviews like, and I’m not as big as you and you’re still spending your time doing that. And so I realized, oh my gosh, I have to do this.
Basically our process before, before halfway through this year, I had an HR person doing a first interview, then people took a test and then I had the hiring managers do the final interview. So I was not involved. People would get hired without even meeting me. In massive companies, that’s okay. But in my size company, absolutely not even up to 10 million, I don’t think I would ever go back to this. And so I realized, okay, I have to get back into the final interviews. And as soon as I did this, I realized, oh my gosh, my team would’ve just hired that person who’s completely not the right fit and here’s why. Boom, boom, boom. But they didn’t know this. I didn’t give them the training. And, and so I’ve really worked with my team now.
So I do have a couple people on my team who probably could pass people through, but I still do like to meet them and I like to do the final interview. So I changed the process to where our amazing operations assistant finds the resumes and she sends them to my operations director who does the first interview, and then we have, have a test and then they meet with me. So I’m the last stop and I’m a hard interviewer, I probably don’t pass through 75% of people. And those people who have gotten through our first interview, test and then to me, and this has resulted in insane quality talent that we’ve brought on our team, like the strategist we just hired and we’ve been working with for the last month in training, truly is better than me. Like she’s amazing. The account managers we’re bringing on because I got so intentional with it and refused to make any exceptions for the right person.
It’s building this incredible team that I know next year will be our best year yet because of that. So I will never become so uninvolved with who I bring on my team because it’s one of the most important things. If you want to be able to have your company working without you who you bring on is so key. And, and that was a huge mistake I made that has cost me a lot of money and I’ll never do it again. So that is a huge thing. And, and really like one other thing on that, when you’re hiring people, it’s not just about skills. That’s like 25% of it for me, it’s the values, it’s the personality that they are the person that they are because there’s things you can train and you can train skills, you can train how-tos you cannot train work ethic and motivation and how fast someone works and how much they want things and drive.
You can’t train those things. And so those are the things I never make an exception for is that really truly like value alignment, culture fit. But I will bring people on and invest in them around their training if I think they can pick it up really fast and they check all those other boxes. And that’s really hard for people to understand who aren’t the CEO or, you know, I didn’t have the, the layer of like mid-level management that had that experience yet, and yet I was asking them to go make these huge decisions. So that was a big, big lesson that I learned this year and is probably one of the number one things that has changed the success of my business, the delivery, the overall experience we’re creating across the board. So, all right you guys, I hope you enjoyed these lessons. Send me what your favorite one was in my Instagram dms if you want. I love when you guys share that. Or even better if you wanna share this episode on your social media, tag me at Emily Hirsch so I can thank you and I’ll talk to you guys next week.
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