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My first year - with Vicki Weinberg
Episode 10025th February 2022 • Bring Your Product Idea to Life • Vicki Weinberg
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Amazon consultant and Bring Your Ideas To Life Podcast host Vicki Weinberg celebrates the 100th episode of her podcast by looking back and reviewing her first year running a product based business.

EPISODE NOTES

**Please remember to rate and review the podcast - it really helps others to find it.**

I can’t believe this is the 100th episode! I wasn’t sure what to share, so I asked you, in my free Facebook Group Product Creators Club. I was asked to share how my first year running a product business went, so here we are. I set up my business Tiny Chipmunk, in 2016, so I was very grateful for the blogs I wrote at the time to help me remember what I did, and the things that happened.

I share my main learnings, and things that I would do differently now. I hope that you find this useful, don’t forget everyone’s product journey is different, so my story will be different to yours. If you are through those first couple of years, and you would like to share your story on the other side, I would absolutely love to talk to you. Please do get in touch. 

Listen in to hear me share:

  • Deciding what to do to mark 100 Episodes (00:21)
  • The background to my first year in business (01:54)
  • Why getting started took a long time (02:57)
  • Why I needed the Product Creation Checklist (04:35)
  • Mistakes I made along the way (06:49)
  • How long it took to get my first product out there (08:04)
  • Why I should have started growing an audience earlier on (12:36)
  • The importance of not trying to do it all at once (13:25)
  • Why not share your story with me? (16:40)

USEFUL RESOURCES

Join my free Facebook group for product makers and creators

Contact me to be on a episode

Podcast episodes:

Episode 14: Things I’ve Learnt In 4 Years Of Running A Products Business (my origin story!)

Episode 93: Tiny Chipmunk Update (taking the decision to close my products business)

Free downloadable resources:

Download My Free Product Creation Checklist

Download My Free Guide 7 Free Ways To Validate Your Product Idea

Work with me:

Find out more about my Product Creation Courses

Find out more about my Product Creation Power Hour

LET’S CONNECT

Find me on Instagram

Work with me 

Mentioned in this episode:

Get your FREE Amazon launch guide

Get your FREE Amazon launch guide

Get your free Amazon launch guide

Transcripts

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Welcome to the, Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice,

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and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

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Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

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Hi, and welcome to episode 100 of Bring Your Product Idea To Life.

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Um, I can't actually believe that we've made it to 100 episodes in some ways.

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Um, I think, you know how it is, it seems really soon and

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also a really long time as well.

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I wasn't quite sure what to do for this one hundredth episode.

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I wanted to mark it in some way, but it wasn't quite sure what to talk about?

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So I asked in my free Facebook group and I was actually requested to do this

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lesson about my first year setting up my products business, and the years

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that I learned, um, I should say as an aside, if you're not already in my

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free Facebook group and you either have a products business, or you're in the

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process of starting one, please do join.

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Um, it's a really friendly, supportive group.

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It's quite small at the moment, but I think that's a good thing.

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As people are able to make real connections.

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I also ran an event in that group just for members a few weeks ago.

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Well, a few weeks ago, if you're listening to this episode around the

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time it goes out, Which was about creating products and the steps to go

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through, um, in a bit more detailed than the podcast episode I did recently.

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And there was also the opportunity of people to ask questions that, um, event

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is still available in the group to view.

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So if you join the group, now you will be able to go and find

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that at the moment it's pinned.

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Um, depending when you join, you may or may not be able to find it easily.

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You could always ask me and I could, um, yeah, I could send you,

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I could show you the way and, you know, show you how to find it.

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So if you're interested, please do that.

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The group's called the Product Creators Club.

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Um, you should be able to find it by searching on Facebook,

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but of course there'll be a link in the show notes as well.

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So coming back to my first year, you might've already heard the origin story

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of my business and some of the mistakes that I've made and things that I learned,

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but then again, you might not have done.

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I certainly don't expect you to have listened to the entire back catalogue.

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As I say, we're at a hundred episodes now that's quite a lot.

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Um, and I'm not going to go over all of that again, here in detail.

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If you are interested, I will put links to that episodes in the show notes.

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That's episode 14.

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So it was really early on and I will link to it so you can find it easily.

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But just to give a little recap, even if you have heard my story before

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I set up Tiny Chipmunk, which was my baby products business, which is

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now in the process of closing down.

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And there's actually a podcast episode about my reasons behind that as well.

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Um, which is I believe 93.

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And again, So I set up that business in 2016, not long after my daughter was born.

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She was a few weeks.

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She's my second child.

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And she was a few weeks old.

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I was looking to do something that would work around the kids.

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And I was inspired by an episode of the Pat Flynn podcast.

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Um, and so, yeah, that's, I'm not gonna go into great detail,

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but that's how it all began.

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And my first year really was all about getting stuff set up.

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It took a lot longer than expected.

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Um, I think in some ways it's, well, in fact in lots of ways.

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Probably it took a lot longer than it actually needed to.

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I can't tell you how many rabbit holes I went down when I was starting my business.

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How many YouTube videos I watched.

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How many.

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Blogs I read.

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How many podcasts episodes I listened to.

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I consumed a lot more than I actually did.

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Um, and this mainly just led to me getting more and more confused

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if I'm really honest with you.

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Um, and that was, I guess the first sort of lesson that I learned that

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I'd like to share is that I think.

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I heard something.

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I can't even remember when or where have I heard this, but I was taught at

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some point about something called just in time learning, which is, let's say

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you need to learn about Facebook ads.

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So you go and learn about Facebook ads and then you implement what you've learned,

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or maybe you need to improve your SEO.

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That's something that I'm working on now.

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So this is a real example.

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I need to improve my SEO.

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So I'm working through, um, a mini course online now and I'm

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implementing what I learned.

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As I learn it.

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So that's called just-in-time learning.

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What I was doing was thinking, oh, well, I might want to do Facebook ads one day.

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So I'm going to learn about it.

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Now.

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I might want to, um, set something where I did set up a Shopify source.

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That's a bad example, but I might want to do Google ads.

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Let's say one day.

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So I'm gonna learn about it now.

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Um, and I was learning about.

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Oh, every aspect of running a products business, whether it's accounting,

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whether it was all of the things.

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Whereas in reality, I think that my time would have been better spent

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and I would have been more productive if I just focused on the next thing.

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That's part of the reason I created my product creation checklist, which

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I will link to in the show notes.

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If you haven't got that already, it was basically, it's literally a checklist of

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the things you need to do in rough order.

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Of course.

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So the, at the, you know, the order might vary slightly for you.

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Which is fine.

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And there's also a second page on there.

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Um, that Gemma Whates the founder of All By Mama puts together

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for me, which is kind of the business things you have to do.

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So nothing to do with the actual creation of your products, but the things, you

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know, the practical things you need to do around establishing a business around

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it, if that's what you want to do.

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Um, so yeah, I think there's something to be said for just focusing on the

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next step, learning what you need to do about that and moving forward, I

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think that I procrastinated quite a bit.

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And actually that gives me a lot of the inspiration for what I do now.

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So the whole reason I started up my business and this podcast, and some

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of the free resources I offer is that I know how confusing it can be.

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I'm not for everyone.

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I mean, I'm sure that lots of us are very organized and able to sort of

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stick to that schedule and not lose sight of, you know, stick to it, um, but

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the way my brain works is I just went off in so many different directions.

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I'm sure I'm not the only one.

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Please tell me I'm not the only one.

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And I think that for some of you, these resources will be really helpful.

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Nevertheless, I'm really glad that I went out and did it.

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Um, I spoke to Emma Sims from Soulstar Sanctuary a few weeks ago on the podcast.

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It's great episode.

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If you haven't listened.

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And Emma was talking about the importance of just going out and doing it.

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And I couldn't agree more, even though I learned mistakes along the way.

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And we'll talk about some of those now.

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I think that.

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You know, we'd learn from our mistakes.

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Um, hopefully other people can learn from our mistakes.

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You know, I, I try and share as much as I can now with you

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about things that I've learned.

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And you know, some of my thinking has changed over the years as well.

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So if you read my blog back in the early days, and then you listen to me now,

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you might think it's not consistent.

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And that's actually, because there were certain things that I've changed my mind

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on over, because I've learned something new or because something's changed.

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Um, but I definitely think there's something to be said for just going along.

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Making some mistakes done is definitely better than perfect.

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I mean, I made some big mistakes as well.

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I made a huge mistake for my package here, which meant products actually got damaged.

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Um, which wasn't great.

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That's probably the biggest thing that I've done wrong.

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Um, I had a mistake when I didn't have my shipping set up correctly.

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Um, it was quite a few.

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I'm not going to go through all of these actually.

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That's quite depressing, but I think the lesson here is

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that I did get through it all.

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Um, And I learned something and through what I do now, I'm able to explain to

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people, what I learned and hopefully prevent others from making the same

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mistakes, which I think is really helpful.

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Um, that's actually, when I was reading my early blog posts, which

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I did to prep for this episode, um, you may or may not know that I've had

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a blog for, oh, I think it was 2016.

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I set it up so really long time now.

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Um, and some of those early blog posts make me smile because I was

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just so naive, um, kind and part of me thinks I should probably delete them

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because they're a bit embarrassing.

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Um, also obviously not as relevant now, but then another part of me actually wants

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a reminder of these early years because it's literally a diary of what I did

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when I did it, why I did it in real time.

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And I think it's actually.

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Incredibly useful.

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So coming back to why it took so long to get my first product out.

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And it did take a long time.

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I went, it took me around eight months from, I have an idea for a product

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to actually having something to sell.

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And that is quite, I think that is actually quite a long time.

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Um, to some of you, it might seem quick, but actually knowing what I know now, I

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now know I could do that a lot quicker.

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Um, you wouldn't actually know from the blog, I should say that it took so long

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because I only started the blog in the November, which was around six weeks

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before my product is ready to sell.

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So if you're reading the blog, it might actually feel like, oh, she did it really

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quickly, but that isn't the reality.

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Um, I was asked to sort of go through sort of a month by month sort of how

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I got going, but I'm really sorry.

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I can't actually do that.

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I mean, even having the blog, which was the last couple of weeks,

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um, I still really can't think about what I did in what order.

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'cause, you know, as I said, I had a really young baby then and a 3 year

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old and there was a lot, I still also ran my other yoga business as well.

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I was still running at the time.

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Um, life was busy and I just remember working when I could, I definitely

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remember working all through the summer.

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I remember working on the patio.

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I remember working like in the baby's room and she was asleep.

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Um, Yeah.

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I, I spent a lot of time.

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Um, yeah.

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And I don't think I could've done much differently actually

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with everything that was on.

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I mean, we all have the same amount of time.

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I did, obviously didn't have loads of time.

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I don't believe I could have found more time, but I do think

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I could have used my time better.

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Um, If I had my time again, I think I probably would have used a checklist,

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like the one I've created and I would have set goals to myself.

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Like this week, I'm going to do this task.

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Um, or this month I'm going to do you know, to get these chunks done or

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wants to get to this point by then.

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Um, whereas instead, as I said, I was quite unfocused.

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Um, I think I procrastinated a lot and the way I procrastinated was by consuming.

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As I mentioned before, I was consuming all the podcasts, all the videos, um,

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Actually ultimately led to me taking longer to make decisions because the

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more information I was sort of taking in, um, the more confusing it was getting.

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And also, as I say, I was also finding out about things I

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just didn't need at that time.

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So I think I could have been much more focused.

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And as I said, the checklist that I've created is something that I started using

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for my second product, third product, because I found that it was a really

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helpful way of keeping me on track.

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So was it about being that it took that long to launch my first product?

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Um, I don't know, possibly being really honest.

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If you went, I researched the product that I launched, which was

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some Bamboo um, muslin swaddles.

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Um, they were re they were really popular products and there

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wasn't loads of competition.

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When I actually launched it was less popular and there was more competition.

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Um, I think I know why this is.

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I think it's partly because I came up with the idea for this product in May.

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So we're coming into summer and I think people know about the cooling properties

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of bamboo and the fact that it can, you know, you can, it's a nice light

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layer for a baby keeping them nice and.

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Cool.

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I'm not sure people were as aware then about the other side of it, about

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how warm it can keep you in winter.

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And these are like, they look like really thin sheets.

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So I think that was part of the reason because actually in subsequent years, I

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saw that I did apart from sort of spikes over Christmas, I did tend to sell more of

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them in the summer months in the winter.

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And I think there was more competition because, um, I certainly wasn't the

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only one to think, oh, this is a, really, this is a product of a great

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potential and start sourcing it.

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And I think there were plenty of people who got their products

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to the market before I did.

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So that's why I think it probably wasn't great.

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Took me so long to do it.

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Um, but as I say, um, you live and learn.

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I think the main lesson I took from this isn't that I could

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have done it all quicker.

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Um, and I've just explained so many things I think I could have done differently,

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but I think the main lesson for me is I could have used some of that time,

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a bit better and a bit differently.

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So for example, some of this time, that's, you know, the time that

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I've I've explained to you was.

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Um, production time times for the factory actually making the product

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and then shipping time, because my first batch came from China.

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So obviously it took a while for them to get here.

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And I don't really remember what I was doing during that time,

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but I know what I wasn't doing.

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I wasn't building a lot of online awareness.

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I wasn't trying to build an audience.

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I wasn't trying to grow my social media.

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I wasn't trying to get people on an email list.

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I wasn't looking at.

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Yeah, pre-orders and I really could have done all of that.

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I mean, I had the blog, um, and people were reading the blog.

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I don't know how they were finding it to be quite honest with you,

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but people were, but all of those stories and, you know, talking about

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the journey and sharing, you know, progress that I was doing on my blog.

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I could have been doing on social media.

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I also could have been trying to get blog readers onto my email list.

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Presumably some of the people reading my blog were interested in

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the product creation side, but maybe there were some that were interested

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in actually buying the product.

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Um, I think if I had my time again, that is definitely

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something I would do differently.

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I would use that time a bit more proactively and then.

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The last thing I guess I want to share is that when my product finally went live,

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I was so enthusiastic and so excited.

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You know, it's a massive milestone and I was really proud of myself.

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If you have done the same, hopefully you felt the same.

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If you're working on creating your first product now, um, I really

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hope you feel that enthusiastic, enthusiasm, that's the word, isn't it.

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And excitement and pride when your product does go live.

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But I would caution that with, um, I think I was so enthusiastic

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that I wanted to do everything.

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So I tried literally every sales channel.

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I threw myself into learning SEO.

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I did Google ads.

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I did Facebook ads.

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I did Google shopping ads.

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I didn't have success with any of these, I should say.

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So I think my lesson here again is to have a plan.

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Um, I actually did exactly the same thing with my yoga business.

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I mentioned earlier, I used to teach children's yoga.

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And I remember when I started that business again, I was like, oh, I'm

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going to run classes for babies.

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I won't go run classes for toddlers, and I'm going to run classes in nurseries

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and I'm going to run classes in schools.

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Rather than just focusing on what worked, which for me at that time, I think that

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made the most sense and the most profit and just worked was running classes in

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nurseries and preschools and having a contract that lasted for a term or a

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full school year or whatever it was.

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And yeah, that for me was the best way of running my business, but it took me

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a few years to figure out that that was the best way of running my business.

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And I think a lot for that was I couldn't see the wood for the trees.

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I think that's the right phrase because I was just doing everything.

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Um, and so yeah, a key thing, I would say when you're launching, whether it's

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your first product or second product is figure out what works and focus on that.

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And of course away you won't know what works and you can think

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something might work and it might not.

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But I wouldn't, for example, start writing Facebook ads

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and Google ads and Amazon ads.

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Let's say I would do one and see how it goes.

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And then if it's not going, as you want, even if it is, you want to try something

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else, I would stop doing that and then try another thing and yeah, and just

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be a bit more systematic, um, because I don't believe if you're doing everything.

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Well, certainly for myself, if I am doing all of the things, I can't do all of the

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things well I can do one thing really well, maybe two things really well.

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I can't do everything really well.

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And I think that I probably hindered myself a bit in those

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early days, by not realizing that.

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And again, as with my yoga business, as time went on and I realized what

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worked my business, where my products sold well, where they didn't sell,

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what kind of advertising worked, what.

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Didn't I eventually, you know, stopped doing the things that didn't work and

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just focused on the things that worked.

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And then of course I saw the results to reflect that.

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Um, but I think being super keen and, and trying to do everything just

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really, didn't just didn't work for me.

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So to summarize, I will say.

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That's a really quick, I know, run through of what my first year looked like.

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I don't know if that's what you were expecting or what you wanted.

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Um, but that's what it is.

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Um, I mean, aside from anything else, it's almost six years ago.

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So it is getting harder to remember those very early days, which as I

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say is why I really like having the blog and everything to remind me of.

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Um, I can't tell you what your first year will involve.

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If indeed you haven't had your first year already.

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I can't say how it will go.

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I can't tell you how long it will take because everyone's

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journey is so different.

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If you've listened to any of my previous podcast episodes with

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other product creators, I think you'll get a real idea of that.

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Um, and if you haven't, I think that probably is the best way to get an idea.

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What people's beginnings look like, the things that you need to do, the things

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that, um, you know, learning from other, what other people have done, because

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my story is mine, but it won't be yours and nobody else's will be yours either.

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Um, so yeah, I think that would be a really good place to start.

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If you are through those first couple of years, and you would like to

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share your story on the other side, I would absolutely love to talk to you.

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So please do get in touch.

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It's Vicki.

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It was Vicki with an i @vickyweinberg.com do get in touch with me.

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There will be a link in the show notes as well.

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So you can do that.

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If you think you would like to come on and share your story.

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And I should also point out here that lots of people sort of are put off

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because they say, well, I haven't really got anything to say, but you do.

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Your story is your story.

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And it'll be unique.

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It won't be the same as anyone else's.

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And even if to you, it seems quite uneventful.

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It's really interesting.

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I find it really interesting and I know the listeners find it really interesting.

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Hopefully you find them really interesting.

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So yeah.

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Do do get in touch if you'd like to come on a future episode.

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Absolutely love talking to you.

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The best advice I can give you now, if you're still in the early days

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is ask for help if you need help, speak to other people, join networks.

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As I say, listen to this podcast, join my Facebook group.

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Um, there's lots of people in there that can help you.

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If you tag me in things, I'll always help you.

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Um, and even if you don't want to join the Facebook group, if you feel I can

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help you, please get in touch because I would love to help you any way that I can.

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Um, And yeah, so I think that is really it.

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So thank you for bearing with me.

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Um, thank you for being here whether you listen to a hundred episodes,

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or this is your first episode.

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Thank you so much for listening.

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I appreciate every single one of you listening.

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Um, and yeah, here's to the next a hundred episodes.

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Thank you so much for listening all the way to the end of this.

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If you've enjoyed it, please do leave me a review that really helps

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other people to find this podcast.

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Make sure you subscribe.

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So you don't miss any future episodes and do tell your friends about it too.

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If you think that they also might enjoy it, you can find me@vickiweinberg.com.

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You'll find lots more information all of the past podcast, episodes

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and lots of free resources too.

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So again, that's Vicki weinberg.com.

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Take care, have a good week and see you next time.