6 things I'd Tell Myself 6 Years Ago, When I Started (Part 1)
Your Biggest Vision
Season 3, Ep. 66

6 years ago, I hit “publish” on a blog post for the very first time. 

I have so much love for that girl six years ago. She was in debt, single, not a mom yet, trying to find her way in NYC, but she knew she was meant for something bigger.

But it was a hard journey. Confusing, like a puzzle I couldn’t crack. So I want to share with you some of the things I would tell myself back then: what to focus on, what to stress less about, and how I’d encourage her.

Tune in to hear:

  • How posting cringe-worthy content is the first step to growing your business

  • Why creating an amazing offer should NOT be your top priority when starting out

  • The strategy behind pricing your offers (hint: lower prices do not equal more customers!)

I hope these insights allow you to let go of what others may think and focus in on what’s important as you chase after your biggest vision!

(Click here to tune in!)

6 years ago, I hit “publish” on a blog post for the very first time. Here are some things I'd tell myself at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

Hear the Episode

Episode Transcription

Leah Gervais:

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the show. This is Leah. I am recording this on Instagram live as well. So let me know if you are on live, where you’re tuning in from excited to be here with you guys. Today is part one of two of a series I am doing that reflects on the last six years of my life and business.

So if you follow me, you may know that I shared that six years ago to the date, like two days ago, uh, excuse me. I published my very first blog post. So I bought my domain and published my posts. Now, if you follow me now, you know that I’m not really a blogger. I haven’t really blogged in several years, but that is how I started. And even the things I blogged about were somewhere a little similar to what I do now, but some things were quite different.

So really I started on this whole entrepreneurial journey six years ago, and it’s, you know, really crazy to think about everything that’s happened in the past six years, because when I thought that domain and started that blog, I was hoping to be able to make a little bit of money outside my nine to five. And I was hoping that it would be something that would kind of fulfill me because I wasn’t that excited about the legal field, which is what I was working in.

I thought it’d be kind of like this fun, creative outlet. I had no idea it would become literally my career, that it would allow me to hire my sister to work for me full time that it would make that would, it would turn into a million dollar business that still blows my mind to this day, even though it’s been like six months now, since that happened, I didn’t even imagine it being a six figure business.

Um, so, uh, it’s always humbling at this time of year to look back and just see everything that’s happened. And I always wanna share what I kind of learned. And especially this year, I wanna share the things I’d tell myself, tell that girl six years ago, who was trying so hard to find her way in an online world that was so foreign and so scary and really intimidating to me and also find her ways an entrepreneur in which I didn’t have a lot of confidence at the time.

I was not as confident as I think I thought I was, or as much as I wish I was. I wish I could go back and hug myself, but I just really felt like I had a lot of disadvantages. I didn’t really have any savings to use to fund that business. I had absolutely no background with, uh, sales, with WordPress, with social media, with marketing.

None of it, I was starting from scratch. And most importantly, I didn’t even really feel like I had a business idea. I did love the idea of entrepreneurship and I knew I had to do something on my own and work for myself. But I remember praying literally praying to God when I was at my nine to five job for him to give me an idea. That’s how I thought this worked. And maybe for some people it does, but I think that there’s a different way to go about it.

I would watch these videos and these interviews of Sarah Bleakley who invented spanks and became the first female or the youngest, self-made female billionaire ever. I mean, she’s so inspiring and her story’s so incredible. And when she tells it, she does talk about her. She was like driving down the highway. And the idea for spanks just sort of came to her like a divine download.

And I wanted my divine download. Now I’ve since had a lot, so they definitely can happen. But what starting looked like for me was no longer waiting for the perfect idea to form or for a perfect business plan to fall into my lap or a perfect name or anything like that. It was really just about exploring. And I was so eager to make this work at the time that I was really curious and open to trying anything.

So that meant that I was looking into learning how to design a website so that I could do that or learning how to manage social media accounts so that I could do that or learning how to be a virtual assistant or freelance writer. I didn’t know that I was going to find my zone of genius in coaching and become a coach. I also didn’t know that I didn’t have the vision or confidence to think that I could be this, this owner, this CEO, this visionary of a seven figure business.

I just wanted to make extra money and to do something online that kind of allowed me to live a little bit more freely, honestly. And it was so hard for me in the first few years. It was so, so confusing and like a puzzle I could not crack. I couldn’t figure out SEO. I couldn’t get traffic. I couldn’t figure out what my niche was. I didn’t really know what I was selling.

I didn’t really have a good strategy if I was selling something, it was probably like 25 bucks. So I was just spitting my wheels and even people that were making just any sort of livable income, even if it was like two or $3,000 a month, I envied them and I would try to study what they did. And finally, the big missing piece for me, there was a few missing pieces, but it all fell together.

When I really got sick of this whole “let’s watch everyone else and figure out how they did it” and said, let’s make my own success story and said, let’s make my own story that other people can learn from and, and look at and examine instead, let’s make my own success. And that’s when I started getting more aggressive. When I started thinking differently about this, when I started treating it differently and really everything started to shift from there.

Those are the type of lessons I wanna share with you today because those are the things. If I could, I don’t regret anything, but if I could, I would go back and these are the things I’d tell myself six years ago. And I, I just wanna start by saying that I have so much love for that girl. Six years ago, she was single, not yet a mother still in a lot of student loan debt, trying to find her way in New York city.

The dream that she always had for her life was to live in New York. And she was so fiercely attached to that, even though I was declining law school and didn’t know what else I was going to do, even though I had tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, even though I was making like 45 or $50,000 a year at the time. And even though I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence, I really did have that vision.

And that’s what I was fighting for, even when I didn’t really know how I was. And I am so grateful that I did. I just like have a lot of compassion for how clueless I was. And I have a lot of gratitude for how brave I was simultaneously, even in the moments when I didn’t feel brave, even in the moments when I didn’t know what I was fighting for, I didn’t have the roadmap.

I didn’t even really know if this was leading anywhere. The fact that I continued to keep going, I never stopped. That is the biggest thing that I wanna reiterate about what I think I did. Right. I did not take my foot off the gas. It took me, oh, it took me a little while to really put my foot on the gas.

I will say that the first like year I was kind of like will this work, won’t this blah, blah, blah. I don’t know if I can do this. What if I take a break. Maybe I should try more. Once I really committed this to be my future and declared to the universe and to my inner knowing self that this was going to work out for me. I never stopped. And I really am so proud of that and really value that.

And I think more entrepreneurs, especially hustlers need to have that level of promise to themselves because it’s very, very easy to take your foot on the gas and off the gas and on the gas and off the gas. And you lose so much momentum when you do that. So with that, this is part one of two parts, uh, in each one, I’m going to share three things I’d tell myself.

The first of the things I’d tell myself is from the popular, real audio that’s currently circulating on Instagram, let them think you’re cringe. I actually love that real audio. I’m not a huge fan of reels, but I love that one. And if you’ve seen it, you know, that it is just about giving yourself permission to put things out there that you’re worried people will say is cringy or that they’ll cringe at, or they’ll gossip as cringeworthy, or maybe you even think it’s cringe worthy.

This hit so home for me, because this was my biggest fear in the beginning. And it’s one thing to look back and be like, oof, what was I thinking that was cringeworthy? And, you know, kind of be able to chuckle at that because maybe you were new or naive and you just didn’t know any better. But then the thing was, I knew it was cringeworthy. I knew it.

I knew that I didn’t have any eye for graphic design. I knew I didn’t have any good photos. I knew I never had created a website before I knew what I was doing. Wasn’t great. Um, all of my Instagram graphics I made on Canva that I taught myself how to make the same with Pinterest. I taught myself how to create my WordPress site. And I took the photos that were on my Instagram and website with my iPhone, or I had my roommate take them.

So I desperately wanted to have professional pictures taken. And I desperately wanted to have a GRA, a graphics person helping me with this, this design. I wanted to have a social media consultant help me and kind of see the aesthetic of what I was creating. And I would’ve loved to have hired someone to either teach me how to do WordPress or to build my website for me.

But none of those things in my mind were options because I didn’t have enough money now. I don’t necessarily think that’s true. If I could go back, I’d probably just invest in a little bit. But nonetheless, I think that part of it is allowing yourself, giving yourself permission to put things out there, even if you know, and you know that they’re not that great, and this might be, feel very contradictory to those of you out there that are perfectionists.

I work with a lot of recovering perfectionists because you feel like you have such pride in your work. You don’t wanna put anything out there unless it’s perfect, but here’s the kicker: you being so afraid of what other people will think of you and not putting anything out there because you’re afraid of what people will think of. It doesn’t actually matter. If there isn’t anyone out there to think of you. If you don’t have an audience, no one can judge you.

You only get that by actually creating content, actually doing something and actually allowing content to be seen and visible and getting invisible yourself for an audience to grow. So oftentimes this perfectionist piece of, I can only put something out if it’s perfect is the chicken and the egg scenario gone wrong because you think that you can’t put something out there until it’s perfect.

You’re so afraid of what your audience will think, but you don’t have an audience unless you put something out there. So there, but therefore logically my super LSAT logic, you have to put something out, even if it’s not perfect in order to get that audience. And still to this day, every time I put out something new, yes, nowadays I have the resources and the I, and the experience to have better branding, better materials, better photography.

I’m very proud of how most things look, but still typically I’m nervous. I’m nervous all the time with my Instagram posts. I’m nervous with my podcast episodes. I’m nervous with what I share. I’m nervous when I share my income. I’m nervous when I talk about motherhood, I’m nervous when I talk about vulnerable parts of my life, because I’m still fine tuning how I actually wanna share those. But I know that the only way to actually grow a community of people who relate to me and connect with me and can learn from me is if I share it the best way, I know how at the time.

So if you are in any stage, really, if you’re releasing your BR business as a brand new place, or if you have a brand new business, or if you’re a business owner, but you’re releasing something new, do give yourself permission to let people cringe at you. The other thing you have to remember with this is those people that are cringing, who cares, who cares? And I say that lovingly and with affection for you, not for them.

If someone has enough time to make you feel guilty about what you’re creating or what you’re putting out there, you should pity them. I’m really just gonna be blunt about it these days. Like, I feel so sad for people that are prevented, like that stop themselves from creating, because they’re worried about what people say or that create, and then get down about what people say. I’ve had people say the F-word to me, I’ve had people tell me they’re dumber because they read what I put out there.

I mean, really, really nasty stuff. And at this point, I mean, some of that stuff used to knock me out for days, honestly, like I would get a nasty comment and I would not want to do anything. I would not post on social media or send out emails for a week because I was so shook, shaken. I was so shaken by these comments.

And it’s just not about you. If anyone actually is taking time out of their day to insult you to be mean to you or to let you know that you, that what you’re doing is making them cringe. You just have to really ask themselves like what a place they have to be and where they have absolutely nothing better to do. Um, I recently had a TikTok video go viral, which is weird. And the comments are so mean they are so vicious.

And what everyone keeps telling me is how cringeworthy it’s actually cringe is what I’m hearing a lot. How cringeworthy my video is. The video is of, um, my husband and I sharing with our friends, the sex of our, when I was pregnant. And I don’t know why people think it’s so cringeworthy. I guess people don’t think that our reaction is big enough, but we already knew the sex. We were revealing it to our friends.

It wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t like this huge over the top shop. It wasn’t a surprise to us. It wasn’t a shock. We were just happy to share with our friends. So we’re there smiling, mining our own business. And for whatever reason, this is offending, like all of the 15 year old trolls on TikTok, whatever. And the ones that continue to say this is so cringe, you know, this is so awful, your poor baby.

I mean really weird stuff. A few times I’ve clicked on their icons and these people don’t have any content of their own. They’re not trying to do anything. And so you can’t ever take any seriousness from people that aren’t in the ringer themselves, that aren’t actually trying to do anything themselves. Okay. And I wish I would’ve told myself. I wish I could’ve really known that to be true years ago because I knew what I was doing was cringeworthy. And I just had to force myself to do it.

The second of the things I’d tell myself is to, this is a really practical tip, is to build your audience. One of the mistakes I made and I, this is very common is to think that the answer to business and the answer to making money is to have something really great to sell. And this seems really logical.

If you think about the things you spend money on, um, then you probably do so because you really have there, they’re, it’s worth your money. It’s clothes that you really love, shoes. You really love a hotel. You really love, um, a service. It’s a great product or service now. It, so it’s easy to think if I have a great product or service, people will buy it, but dig a little bit deeper at your own spending habits.

If there’s something that you’re consistently, you know, loyal to, let’s take Lululemon, for example, a very popular fitness brand. It’s very easy to think you buy Lululemon because they have such high quality clothes and they, and I like Lululemon. This isn’t a knock to them, but how do you know about the quality of their clothes? How do you know about, you know, the popness it, well, you know, it, because they had a huge social media and marketing campaign when they started, they have this aesthetic and this vibe in their stores, that’s all the same.

They have huge stores around the us. My point is that it’s their job. And they know what they’re doing to make sure that you do know about them and that you know about the brand. So something that we have to remember is that no matter how great of our product or service your product or service is, if no one knows about it, no one’s going to buy it. It literally doesn’t matter if you have like the cure to a terminal illness.

And I don’t mean to say that crasly so I wish I could go back and tell myself that building my audience should have been priority. Number one, even over creating a product or service at first, because your audience will inform you about what it is that you actually, they actually wanna buy from you anyway.

But that’s kind of a different conversation. You can buy something without your audience telling you, my point is when you don’t focus on audience growth, your goals, most likely it’s, it’s very likely and, and common that it will cause your goals to come up short.

And I don’t mean to sound that negatively, but if you don’t really have people that can benefit from what you’re doing, you are not going to re reach your monthly goal every month, or, um, hit your launch goal, or, you know, sell as many things as you could. If you’re not in front of people that you know, that you can help. It’s really hard to get people to buy from you.

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to have an audience of a hundred thousand people. I’m not verified on Instagram. None of that fancy stuff, it’s really, isn’t a stressful experience. I have very successful clients and I’ve had successful with launches by personally reaching out to people. You don’t have to have a popular Instagram platform or TikTok or whatever the hell. It doesn’t have to be about social media and followers and numbers.

It’s just about knowing that you’re getting in front of people that actually can benefit from what you’re doing more so than hammering down what it is that you’re even selling. Is this hard for creatives because they get so passionate about the product or service that they’re creating. They’re so thrilled to put it out into the world. They have this big epiphany about what it is that they can create.

And I get it. I get those highs. I get those downloads. I get up at four in the morning and create something and I wanna sell it by 8:00 AM. Like that’s happened to me. It’s magical. And you have to have the discipline to make sure that people are in your audience, in your stratosphere, hearing, hearing you talk, or that you are talking to, to actually sell to. So when you don’t do this, and then your goals fall up short, the problem becomes you take it personally.

You think something’s wrong with you? You wonder why no one wants what you’re buying. You wonder why your launch goal came up short. You wonder if you have some out of a alignment energy, or if you attracted this thing, or if you didn’t deserve to have what you wanted, if you weren’t good enough, that’s so, so common for people is they feel like, oh, well, I wasn’t ready, or something’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong with my business. Something’s wrong with my program?

None of those things are true and we have to protect your mindset and you have to protect your own confidence and energy. So I wish I would’ve just give myself permission to more aggressively focus on my audience and let myself know that even if I sold something that was super great and no one bought it’s maybe just a numbers game at that point.

And it’s better to just get in front of more people and beat myself up about what it is that I was selling. Okay. The third of the things I’d tell myself. This one is like close to my heart. So real all of these are, but this one really is. I wish I could go back and tell myself to raise my prices. That is one of the things I’d tell myself.

If anyone is listening to this, that is a new entrepreneur or a seasoned entrepreneur, wherever you are in your journey, let me know if you’ve ever had a thought process like this. You are in the right place. I wanna start selling something. So I’m going to sell a version of it at like a hundred dollars. I figure if it’s a hundred dollars, most people can afford it. Everyone would say yes to that.

I’ll make a lot of sales. I know it’ll make thousands of dollars because my a hundred dollars product will be so irresistible and so affordable and such an easy yes. That people will say yes to it, right? Isn’t that logic correct? No, not correct at all. And all too often, we think that the only way to build up your pricing in business is when you’ve passed a proverbial bridge. 

After you charged a certain amount at a certain price point, like once I sell at a hundred dollars, I can raise it to three. Then five, next thing I know I’ll have a thousand dollars offer. Maybe one day I’ll have a five figure offer. That’s what most people think they have to do. I’m saying that in quotations, as if there’s some sort of, you know, checklist or like quiz, the universe is giving you that you must pass before you can charge them the following amount.

And it’s absolute garbage. What is true? This is so important. Really? If you get nothing else from this episode, and you’re an entrepreneur lean in here, money is a number and it’s relative. People don’t buy things based on the cost of them. They buy things based on how valuable they perceive it to be. I cannot emphasize this enough.

So look, I’m in my New York city apartment right now. I have a can of ginger sparkling water. Next to me, this can was what, one, $2. I don’t actually know how much it was. I’m just gonna guess. It was somewhere in that area. And my apartment in New York city is several thousands of and rent every single month. So if someone were, I know, so we know that I have these several thousands of dollars every month, because that’s what I pay in rent. So if someone were to come to me and say, Hey, I know that you have, I know you can afford this can of sparkling water.

It’s $5,000. Let’s just say, and I know you have enough money for it. So will you pay it? Absolutely not. Right? That is, this is absolutely not worth $5,000 to me. That would be insane. I would not even pay probably $5 for that because it’s not worth it to me. Do I have $5? Yes. Does that mean I’m going to just spend it just because I have it. No. And it’s the same with whatever you are selling.

Your job is not to focus on pricing something you think people can afford or say yes to it’s about creating something that is so worth it to people that have, that have that problem and want it solved that they’ll buy it no matter what the price, maybe not, no matter what the price, everyone has a limit, but it’s less about the price and more about the result that you’re getting them.

So if let’s take this a hundred dollars example, if someone were to come to me and say, I will help you, um, I will help you write a business plan and it will cost you a hundred dollars. I would probably decline, honestly, I know how to write business plans. Um, I’ve done it. I’m really good at it. I have my own business. I’ve helped all my clients. I don’t really need to do that. Even though I have a hundred dollars.

But if someone were to come to me and say, I will help you vision out your business where you want it to be in the next 10 years, create a yearly goal or a goals every year backward from that I’ve done it with other people, it would get your business to be at this certain income amount. That’s your goal. Um, we would be able to look at your team building and we would do it in let’s say 90 minutes or whatever the same as the original offer.

And it’s gonna be a thousand dollars I would for sure. Say yes to that. That would be way worth it. To me. I’d probably pay $10,000 for that. Maybe it, that would, I should be careful what I say there, but it, you know, it depends on a lot of circumstances are as circumstances, but do you see my point? The difference has never been about the money. The difference is not about what I can or can’t afford, and it’s not like that for you either.

Make sure that you’re not way under yourself, even if you’re a new entrepreneur, if you’re selling something in a niche, you have experience in, you need to price yourself based on the experience, but still most importantly, based on the result, you can get your client and how badly they want that solved. So don’t put a hundred dollars or $500 price tag on something because you think people will buy it.

One, it’s not necessarily true. If they don’t see the value in it, they’re still not gonna buy it. And you’re really robbing yourself and putting a lot more on your plate, honestly, than if you were to raise your prices higher, get clear on how valuable it is and the result you can get people and sell just a few of them instead of having to sell tens, maybe twenties in the lower range in order to pay the bills and, you know, keep your world going.

All right, that was part one of my two part series. Reflecting on the things I would tell myself six years ago, when I hit publish on my blog for the very first time. I hope you guys found this helpful. Stay tuned for part two coming next week and DM me on Instagram. If you listen to this, thank you guys so much.

Your Biggest Vision’s Daily Checklist for Visionaries;

Free Download!

These five practices are simple daily practices that will keep your vision strong and lead you toward your biggest vision.