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111 Weeks of Entrepreneurial Lessons - Debra Trappen
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111 Weeks of Entrepreneurial Lessons

Today is a special one for my business.  Obviously, d11 made it beyond year one AND year two flew by – filled with lessons and growth!  Today, d11 has been in business for 111 weeks!  (Happy dance happening right now…)

The statistics say that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs FAIL in the first 12-18 months.  Wow.  My family and I realize we are blessed that d11 is standing strong… and thriving.  Over these last 111 weeks, oooooodles of lessons have been learned and now it’s time to share them with you.  

Here we go…

1. Define Your Own SUCCESS

You MUST do the same.  If you don’t define what success means to YOU, the media, your clients, or a friend with a very different value structure will define it for you.

Fill in the blanks:
I  feel successful when _________. 

I feel successful when _________. 

I feel successful when _________. 

I will feel successful when _________. 

I will feel successful when _________. 

I will feel successful when _________.

Revisit this list often.  When you achieve one of these defined successes – CELEBRATE IT!

2. Believe In YOUR Worth

Stand up tall and know, from the bottom to the top, YOU ARE WORTH IT.  A dear mentor share this gem of advice with me and I think of it when I am wavering—> negotiate scope, not price. I strive to make every contract MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL.  Those clients who truly want to work with you will share their budget and partner to make it work.  Those who want to haggle until the cows come home RARELY see your value once the negotiation is over.  Trust your gut and remember, It is magical when things fall into place. 


3. Accept Help

As much as it irritates my High D, High I to admit this one… I don’t know or do everything “better”.  My dear friend, life coach and LEXI partner, Shandel, gently reminds me of this when we are together.  Every single one of us has a purpose… and every single one of us needs help to live it out loud. There is no shame in this.   This year I hired and bartered with other professionals, added my first team members (including an assistant and two social sparks who solely ignite conversations for d11 clients!)… most importantly – I released the need to “do it all”.  By no means has this “art” been mastered in the d11 den, but I get better every single day.

4. Infuse your “Core Four”

One of the things I speak about, train, and consult entrepreneurs on is infusing their “Core Four: Values, Passions, Purpose, and Niche”.  In year two of my business, my core four found their stride.  My confidence soared.  My moxie multiplied. Even how I inspired others how to uncover their own was amplified. If you have not started by defining your core values… GET ON IT.

Download my free core values exercise today. You won’t regret it.

5. Embrace the PIVOT!

This year I had more than a few pivots in my business model.  My favorite was the GROUP personal branding sessions.  These were inspired and designed organically thru key client and connection conversations.  A few clients and online connections mentioned they wanted to go through my “1:1 FIRE UP your personal brand” experience, but budget, fear, or timing was holding them back.  The first group was a test case… Honestly, I wasn’t sure it could be done well – in a group.  This group was gracious and amazing.  We worked out the kinks together, I added an additional 30 minute 1:1 session for each member, and voila! I can now launch a new product with confidence.

Don’t fear the pivot. It might just lead you to the best product yet.

6. Take action – it feels MAGNIFICENT

There were a few things on my “to do” list I had not taken action on my first year in business.  The biggest one —> WRITE A BOOK.  I kept talking about it with friends and business partners. I was incessantly idea storming on what topic it would dive into…  Lots of talk, but no action.  Then, I met my editor and she kicked my butt.  She continues to help me see the greatness in all of the content I have created and how to wrangle it into something amazing.  Q1 2015 my FIRST book will be a reality… and that feels MAGNIFICENT. 

(UPDATE! The book has been published and the second edition is out! Click the image to purchase it today!)

7. Create Boundaries… 

Whaaaattttt is a boundary?  I know… and YES. Having boundaries between work, life, and love is something I realized I truly needed to protect… However, I am nowhere NEAR having figured this out.  It is on my 2015 goal list.    


Got tips? Send them my way… pretty please.  ;)

For now, I am continuing my annual tradition.  If you feel like joining me and going through this exercise with your business, here are the questions I review every year.  



11 Questions to Reflect, Refine, and Refire Your Business

1: What was the best thing that happened in your business this past year?

2: What was the biggest professional challenge you faced this year?

3: What was an unexpected obstacle?

4: Pick three words to describe your business the last 12 months.

5: Pick three words you believe your spouse/partner/best friend would use to describe your business in 2014.

6: How did you grow your business relationships?
(Did you attend conferences, send personal notes, or create lists on social media?)

7: What was the most enjoyable area of growing your business?
(What activities did you enjoy most?)

8: What was your single biggest time waster?
(Be honest… and then make a plan to grow from this)

9: What was the best way you used your time?
(This could have resulted in business, clarity, rejuvenation…)

10: What were the three lessons you learned?
(I encourage you to go out and SHARE these! Write a blog post, give advice to a mentee, celebrate with your partner… you get the idea!)

11: Create a phrase or statement that describes your vision for the next 12 months.
(Try to keep it short and simple to remember!)

(You can download these questions into your Evernote here… and work on them later.)

Now, challenge yourself.  

Go back through the questions, review your answers, and write ONE THING that would help you take your thoughts/idea to 11 – in a positive way. 

It could be a new process, reading a book, or planning more connection moments in 2015. 

Do not obsess over this.  

To start – write the FIRST THING that comes to mind.  You are not carving this in stone…

You CAN change your mind, plan or direction – at any time.

Be bold. Be brave. 

Embrace your brilliance and SHINE!

I believe in you.

Now, it is your turn…