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Your first year running a business is a lot like living through a zombie apocalypse.

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

Stick with me here…

A couple of weeks ago, a post popped up on Facebook feed. Someone in their first year of business was looking for tips to stop her waking up at 2am thinking about her business.

I don’t know about you but I can guarantee you that I’d be waking up every couple of hours wondering where the pesky critters are during an apocalypse! If I managed to get to sleep at all.

During the first year, our new business is just like a zombie – we’re always trying to stay a few steps ahead as it follows us everywhere we go.

It keeps us awake at night.

We think about it constantly.

We spend every waking moment worrying about it. And as evidenced above, a lot of our sleeping moments.

We seek advice on surviving it from anyone and everywhere.

You're going to have days when you feel like someone has eaten your brain.

You're going to have days when you want someone to eat your brain.

Not buying my analogy yet?

Let’s look at National Geographic Kids’ top tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse (let’s just call it Z.A. from now on) and see how it equates to surviving your first year running your own business.

Tip 1 Know your survival skills

Be honest here, how many hours of free webinars on how to find your ideal client have you consumed? How many “Learn How to Sell in Your Sleep” freebies have you downloaded? Can you even remember how many newsletters you’ve signed up for from service providers promising you the secret to make more money faster while working less?

And how long did it take you before you realised that where you really needed to start was identifying your strengths. What you bring to the table that will make your business a success. How you attract people to working with you.

In other words, what's going to stop you from becoming zombie chow?

Tip 2 Choose a good hideout

It’s all about finding the right place.

Does this sound familiar - “You need to know where your ideal client hangs out.”

I can’t begin to tell you many times I’ve been asked how to find clients.

I can’t hand you a map to them. You need to do a bit of work yourself, you need to get inside your clients' heads in order to find them. You need to know what they’re interested in so you can go and seek them out.

Looking to work with driven aspirational women? Find Facebook groups around investing. Follow high profile money mindset coaches on Instagram and start conversations with the women who are commenting a lot on their posts.

Tip 3 Pack a survival kit

Dehydrated food supplies and machetes may be part of the ideal zombie survival kit (disclaimer - the machete’s my idea not National Geographic Kids!!!), but there’s a lot you'll need to survive your first year of business.

Here’s what you need to pack (bonus – you’ll need some of these to survive a Z.A. as well so surviving your first year of business sets you up well for when the Walking Dead come calling):

Knowledge – be clear on what you bring to the table, what problem you fix, how your client feels before you help them and how they feel after. Know yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses and when you really need to down tools before you have a major meltdown.

Courage – running a business ain’t for the faint-hearted people! You’re going to have to do a lot of things you’ve never done before. A lot of things that are so far out of your comfort zone you’re not just in a new country, you’re on a new continent.

A can-do spirit – you may not want to do those Facebook lives (my personal idea of hell) but they’ll be a lot easier if you can just suck it up and get them done as part of the experience. Ditto for learning to big yourself up and (gulp) learn to cope with rejection!

Tip 4 Use your mobile phone

According to National Geographic, come a Z.A. we should have about six months before satellites fail (who knew) so while you’ll have to give up your Twitter addiction, the good news is you’ll still be able to use maps.

As a new business owner, communication will become one of your main obsessions.

You will spend waaaayyy more time than you ever anticipated on social media.

You may learn how to do lives. Or how to do reels (dancing and pointing or not).

You will quickly learn to hate the bloody algorithm gods and feel that you would gladly sacrifice your first born to not have to do that anymore. If you have teenagers, you might be willing to sacrifice your first and second born.

You will speak to a lot of strangers. You will hone your elevator pitch.

You will get sick of the sound of your own voice. And your elevator pitch.

Tip 5 Become a super scavenger

Now, this one sounds like National Geographic Kids is telling our kids that they can steal to their heart's content doesn’t it!

Business owner newbies can drown in information that can help you but was really made to get you to buy something. It is everywhere around you. Downloadables. Blogs. Social media. Podcasts. Vlogs. Masterclasses. Facebook challenges. Membership groups.

You need to learn as quickly as possible to drown out all the noise and recognise what can actually be of benefit to you. There's a world of great free stuff out there that will actually help you once you filter out all the noise.

Tip 6 Gather a useful gang

Seriously – this is the most important tip of all. The same way surrounding yourself with girl guide leaders, doctors and people who have spent a lot of time on their allotments would be the difference between surviving a Z.A. and being a tasty snack, finding a tribe to support you in that first year will be the difference between you starting the second year of your business sane or a dribbling wreck.

Find those people who will cheerlead you. Who are going through the same thing as you and can commiserate when you’re having a bad day and just want to give it up. At least one person in the same industry that you can have a rant to about the things you see in your competitors that drives you crazy.

Get a coach. Seriously. Get a coach.

People need people. Whether it’s a Z.A. or business. Or anything really.

See what I mean?

Have I convinced you yet? Or is it just me that's found surviving my first year in business to be more than a bit like a Walking Dead episode?

Either way, now you have loads of tips for surviving both (thank you National Geographic Kids!).

That my friends is why my clients tell me what a font of knowledge I am!

Want to tap into that knowledge? Book a virtual coffee, tell me what your day-to-day nightmares are and let’s get you the business version of dehydrated food and a machete.

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