Business Lessons Learned The Hard Way

Welcome to episode 25 of the Free and Fearless podcast and thanks for being here. This is Lidiya and today I will share some powerful business lessons I’ve learned the hard way.

Listen to the episode below:

Show Notes:

  • [02:02] What using the wrong tools cost me
  • [03:15] A mistake you don’t want to make with your next course
  • [04:38] How to get testimonials, and what to do once you have them
  • [06:53] The kind of content you don’t want to create anymore
  • [07:44] An example of how we overcomplicate things in business
  • [09:03] When to leave a project behind
  • [10:41] One way you’re limiting yourself
  • [11:42] A few powerful business lessons from a 9-figure CEO



If you try to speak to everyone, you end up speaking to no one.

I’m not going to tell you to niche down. That works for some, but it doesn’t for others.

My point here is that you need to know who you are talking to and create content that solves their problems. Use their language, overcome their objections with your copy, and just help them as much as you can.

Your skills and your products won’t be a good fit for everyone, and that’s okay. In fact, they might only serve a small group people, but you can still build a profitable business this way.

Knowing your ideal client makes your life easier too. Because now it will be easier to decide what product to create, how to structure your offer, how to price it, what free content to have, and even what platform to share it on knowing that your people hang out there.

Use the right tools

At first, I used the wrong ones. That was because I didn’t have any budget but also I didn’t treat my work as a business, I didn’t make it a priority.

That’s why I was dealing with a bad hosting provider for years, didn’t have access to quality stock images or any other graphics, was using a free email marketing tool and wasn’t growing my list.

I sort of always knew what the best tools in my industry were and I knew that one day I’d invest in them, but I was putting that off as much as possible and it cost me a lot.

Because the moment I signed up for these amazing services and platforms, I never looked back. Sure, the annual payment in the first year or two wasn’t easy. It was scary, but it’s what has allowed me to take everything else that I do online seriously and prioritize quality. 

Not to mention you sleep better knowing that your website won’t be down, your email list is growing all the time, there are automations in place, and when something happens, you get to talk about it with the best customer support teams out there.

Make your course lectures short and actionable.

The next one of my top business lessons is for anyone who’s created a course or is about to create one.

Not only will this provide a better experience for your students, because no one wants to watch 40-60 minute videos in each lesson, but it will make things easier for you. One big example is the fact that you’ll be able to quickly go back to one of your programs and update a a lesson or even a whole module.

I have a course that I would love to update but it’s just too much. There’s a ton of content, which is also considered a mistake in the online course industry, and the videos are too long. I can’t just edit a small part of them.

But if they were 10-15 minutes long, even if it means adding a few such videos on one page and considering that 1 lesson, well it’s super quick to make a new one and replace it. 

Most of the things you work on in your business are only wasting your time.

The sooner you ditch them and focus on the high-value activities, the better.

Enter a profitable market.

Choose one that has a ton of demand and many problems to be solved.

Sometimes choosing your niche comes down to this. Of course you also need to be passionate about it, to know about it and have experience, but some markets just aren’t that profitable or they aren’t even evergreen.

Ask for testimonials.

This is another one of my most important business lessons because I didn’t really have any testimonials before I actually started asking for them. And if you sell products or offer any services, you need testimonials.

2 years ago I wasn’t even sure how to get them, I didn’t feel comfortable asking for them. Even if I had a few, I didn’t display them on many places.

Now, I do my best to create products so good that people give me testimonials without even being asked. But there are also feedback forms inside my courses and on my website. I sometimes personally reach out to people who completed a new program and ask them what they loved about it the most.

Instagram is also a good place to get testimonials in the form of comments, messages or even on Stories. People are more social there, they are willing to give credit to anyone who’s helped them. The communication is so casual that it’s often easier to get feedback there in a DM than it is to get people to fill out a survey form. 

And when I do get new testimonials, I share them everywhere. There’s a special page about them on my blog, I add them to sales pages and checkout pages, inside promo emails, on social media, in blog posts or podcast episodes, and just anywhere where it makes sense. 

So if you haven’t started asking for testimonials yet, what are you waiting for?

Lower prices are a choice.

There’s no industry standard. You decide what you charge, and it’s usually related to self-worth. 

If you want to learn more about the tendency of many business owners to underprice themselves and their work, and how to stop doing that, you can check out this post. There I talk all about pricing your work on value and doubling your income.

How you manage your first $1K, $10K and $100K, is how you manage any other amount you’ll ever earn.

The principles of money management remain the same, and it’s better to learn them early on.

So if you aren’t budgeting, if you don’t know your numbers well, if you haven’t diversified your income yet, maybe you should focus on that.

Don’t create the content you want, but the content your audience needs.

Too many of us fall into the trap of creating and releasing stuff that we think is valuable and that we assume our audience loves, but it’s simply not what they need.

The goal of our free content should be to educate them, to reveal the What and Why of the topic we teach, while our paid offers can reveal the How.

You don’t need to be on all platforms.

One main platform that you have full control over, such as a blog, podcast or YouTube channel, and one where you get to connect with your people and post regular updates such as Instagram or Facebook is all you need.

Choosing these is based on where your ideal clients spend time, but also what content you create, and what places online you already love and know well. 

We tend to make things complicated.

My favorite example is probably website design. You can change it a million times, but still the best result is when you have simple design created with user experience in mind and simply allowing people to enjoy the content on your site.

They aren’t there for the design, but it must look good and it should function well. That, however, doesn’t need to be complicated or take a lot of time.

Listen to the right people and invest in the right programs.

I know it can be overwhelming – there’s so much information on business out there, and you find out about new people teaching business and their programs. It’s easy to want to learn from them all, and then to get confused when some are actually sharing the exact opposite strategies.

Your mentors will change over time and that’s totally fine. The people I’m admiring and learning from now and quite different from who I was listening 5 or 7 years. Choose your sources of information carefully.

Make sure you really resonate with what someone is teaching and like their approach before you decide to invest in their programs. And when you do invest, learn all you can and apply it all. 

Some projects are better left behind.

A good example is a podcast I had years ago. I released over 100 episodes. Those of you who know what goes into podcasting, know that this is a lot of work, to say the least.

That show doesn’t exist anymore. The audio wasn’t quality, what I talked about – even though it was about personal development and entrepreneurship – wasn’t structured that well and simply doesn’t align with the kind of content I want to create today and the people I want to serve. So I deleted it.

Some might say this work was for nothing. But I don’t think so. Because during the creation process, you often learn more about yourself, your skills and your business, and you can take decisions based on that.

Many course creators, for example, close the doors to some of their programs even if many more students want to enroll. That’s because they’ve moved on from that niche, or want to repurpose that content and turn it into a membership, or have just decided this isn’t that valuable anymore and it’s not what they want to teach. The students inside that course always have access to it, but new ones simply can’t join.

So the lesson here is it’s okay to leave some projects behind. You don’t need to continue investing all your energy into something if it doesn’t light you up, isn’t quality and doesn’t help your audience.

We often stick to it only because we started and put in the work. We think if we stop now, all this effort was for nothing.

But here comes the moment to practice letting go of attachment. Being attached to a certain project and its potential result is only limiting.

Your best month ever might be when you least expect it.

It can be when you’re having an awful week, or it can be when you’re traveling and actually away from the laptop more than ever.

It can happen when your mind isn’t on the business and revenue, and when you’re living life to the fullest.

So open yourself up to more possibility because we really do live in an abundant universe and you have no idea when your next big win will come, so don’t limit yourself by thinking it will be a year or two from now.

You don’t need to learn things the hard way.

And here’s the final one of the business lessons I wanted to share with you today. Allow yourself to do things faster, learn from the mistakes of others, outsource what you don’t have time for, and find the most effective way to do what you need to do so you can get results sooner.

Check out the top business lessons I've learned over the last 7 years, and use them to avoid some mistakes down the road: