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  • Writer's pictureLauren Leopold

My First Year as a full-time business owner: The Ups & Downs

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Today I'm sharing part 2 of the story of how I transitioned into a full time business owner.

A hell of a lot happened over those first 12 months, so I’m gonna break it all down for you. Warts and all. The ups and the downs.

May 2021

As much as I absolutely loved being a new Mum to my daughter Edie, I was itching to get back to having something that was just for ‘me’. I’d successfully built a £10k side hustle in less than year leading up to her birth and I was itching to get back to it, even if I could only do it a few hours a week.

So I hired my next coach who was a specialist in packaging up offers that ‘sold like hotcakes’. I was hooked, consuming all her courses whilst breast feeding and then working 121 with her while Edie napped. The result was my Freedom Business Formula programme, helping corporate women start a side business and leave the corporate grind.

By then I’d decided I wanted to make a real go of my side hustle, so I put my heart and soul into selling the programme. I created a lead magnet, ramped up my Instagram and created a Facebook Group, showing up there every day. It was all-consuming, but I got 3 sign-ups at the highest prices I’d ever charged.

I’m not ashamed to admit though, that I was disappointed with the results. My coach told me that people would be 'biting my arm off', so that combined with my self-critical nature meant my expectations were unnecessarily high for someone still so early in her coaching career.

But with hindsight, I can see that getting 3 paying clients was a massive success for my first launch, while only working around 15 hours a week and having a young baby. I actually don’t know how I did it to be fair!

July 2021

The relentless promotion in my Facebook group was starting to burn me out, so I made the tough decision to pause it. It’s still there, dormant at the moment, but until I can commit the time to it that it deserves, I’m going to leave it that way.

August 2021

My maternity leave was coming to an end so I had to decide whether to sink or swim. I had several chats with my husband who was amazing. He said ‘Why would you go back to the corporate world that made you super stressed, when you’ve got the foundations of a really great business here?’. That was all the encouragement I needed and I handed in my notice the next day. After 15 years in the corporate world, I was finally doing my own thing.

At the same time ironically, I decided to pause all business promo for the next 2 months. Edie was now weaning (no one warns you what a full time job that is!!) and I’ll happily admit that I couldn’t cope with it all. I realised that I wanted to focus 100% on my daughter & my 3 lovely clients. Growing the business could wait.

November 2021

Ready to get back on the business horse, I enrolled Edie in nursery 2 days a week. I was full of the usual ‘Mum Guilt’, but I knew that I would be a better Mum to her if I was doing something that fulfilled me, plus I wanted to show her that you can do hard things.

This meant for the first time ever that I now had actual full days to work on my business. I was so excited, reaching out to all my old contacts, letting them know I was back from maternity leave and telling them what I was offering.

I also hired a new coach, Grace Lancer to help me with my niche, positioning & content. She helped me absolutely nail it and I ended up having my best ever month, earning £8k! This was more than I'd ever made in my corporate job. I genuinely couldn’t believe it.

December 2021

The highs from November didn’t last. That month I took on no new clients at all. Call it new business owner naivety, but I honestly believed that the clients would just carry on flowing in. Thankfully, most of the ones I’d taken in November were paying me monthly, so I still had a salary coming in, but it was a massive shock to the system not taking on any new business and I felt like a total failure (hello self-criticism!). This was my first experience in the literal highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

Luckily my husband runs his own business so was on hand with the advice that this is what happens when you first start a business. That if I wanted the ‘freedom’ of running my own business I’d just have to get used to it. Harsh and blunt but true!

January 2022

I started off the year with a fire in my belly and set bold financial goals for myself and to hit them I decided to create one-off goal setting workshops. They actually sold quite well, but I soon realised that doing 3 hour Zoom sessions was completely exhausting, so stopped promoting them.

Meanwhile, an old client from my side hustle days got in touch out of the blue and signed up to coach with me. This was the first ‘new’ 121 client I’d taken on since November and combined with the monthly income from my existing clients, I was able to make £6.7k that month. All of a sudden my confidence was back. Maybe I could do this business thing after all!

March 2022

Some of my existing clients had now gone full time into their businesses, so I decided to create a new offer to help them grow their business. I naively didn't validate the offer with any market research and unsurprisingly it bombed (I know do market research for every single offer and teach my clients to do it to).

I made £3.6k that month, which was way below my target and I also realised (too late) that all my clients were coming to an end the following month. I was shitting myself and considered jacking it all in. I chatted to my husband who said that maybe if business hadn’t picked up in a few months then I might have to go back to work. The thought of that was so awful that I made a promise to myself that I was going to make this work even if I had to work 24 hours a day. It was the rocket I needed.

April 2022

I got back out there marketing-wise, did more of what I knew had worked in the past (Instagram and reaching out to ex-clients for referrals) and took on 3 new clients. I hit my target of £5.8k so you could say that rocket well and truly worked!

So what have I learnt in my first roller coaster year running my own business full time?

  1. Be wary of coaches who promise the world without taking into account where you are in your journey. Don’t get me wrong, she helped me create my first ever package, which I’ll be forever grateful for, but my expectations were totally unreal for the stage I was at.

  2. It’s really easy to feel like you can relax when the clients are rolling in, but sooner or later those projects will end, so you need to be promoting yourself consistently.

  3. Create products and services, try them out and don’t be afraid to admit when things aren't working. Failure is a natural and necessary part of entrepreneurship (as long as you learn from it) and experimenting is the only way you can tell if you're gonna enjoy it or not.

  4. Whilst pay-in full clients are great, if you can do monthly payment plans, it means you have a slow but steady income coming in each month as opposed to having to start again every month.

  5. You never know when people will get in touch out of the blue. Give people amazing experiences, they will remember you and refer you.

I hope this gives you some inspiration wherever you are on your journey to starting a business. Just remember, the road is unlikely to be smooth, but my God it's totally worth it.

Meet Lauren

Business Coach & Side Hustle Queen

Hi, I'm Lauren. I burnt out from the corporate world, hit rock bottom and used the experience to create my dream life. I now help passionate and ambitious women start and grow businesses. I'm living proof that you can - and deserve to - have it all.



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