It has been about a year and a half since I began the journey of entrepreneurship. Like many people, I spent the first few months not knowing what the hell I was doing. I attempted to glean wisdom from strangers on the internet, and hope for the best. But after one year (and a little bit) a lot has changed.
Here are some things I wish I would have known when starting my business:
1 | People Won’t Take You Seriously, So You Must Prove Yourself
When I started my business, I had already been working in marketing for some time—on and off collectively for seven years. I had done everything from filing papers, to throwing 300+ person events completely alone, to being the main go-to person on a marketing team for a very successful company.
I thought transitioning into a marketing business would be a breeze! “I have the background,” I thought aloud many times. But, I was wrong. It wasn’t enough. People tend to not trust someone who has just begun their business even if, in actuality, they had been working in the field for many years. So, looking back, I realize I should have come out guns blazing from the very beginning. I should have shoved my work in every potential client’s face and tooted my own horn very loudly. But, this is something that I still struggle with to this day. If someone doesn’t want my service and goes with someone else, I don’t say a thing and I just move on.
2 | Ask for Help
The first few months when I was trying to figure out pricing, I was scouring Google, Quora and Slack for advice, but nothing really answered my direct questions. So, after months of wasting my life away reading poorly written articles, I asked for a mentor. And, guess what? It helped! We talked about pricing, services, and branding. This relationship and its invaluable insights gave me the confidence and the tools that I needed to move forward into securing my first contract.
3 | Give Help
This is something that I have just recently learned: If you give help, you learn from yourself. I know—shocking! But, seriously, as I type out my responses to other entrepreneurs’ questions, or hop on a call with someone who wants me to dissect their website, I oftentimes realize that I am doing the very thing that I am telling others not to do. This immediately gives me the ability to go through my website or social media and make the changes that I am telling others to make. You would be surprised how much good advice you have to offer that you yourself do not use.
4 | Streamline the Little Things
Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a post in a group I am in about Facebook Invites and this super-easy hack that you can use to ask people to like your business page. Many people responded and thanked me for the tip, but one person said something like, “I already knew this and didn’t think it would be helpful because it’s so easy!” But, the thing is, sometimes we take up so much time streamlining the huge tasks that we either disregard or end up spending more time on the small ones. Tackle the low hanging fruit: What can you streamline today that can save you five minutes of your time? From there, move up the ladder—one rung at a time.
5 | Don’t Sell Yourself Short
There are many things that I know like the back of my hand. Since marketing is my passion, I have a great deal of knowledge in the area. Recently, I was asked how confident I was in a subject that I have been studying for over a year and one that I have skills in. My answer? I could learn more. It was true, but what I didn’t say was that I already had a far-above-average understanding of the subject and I could have easily taken their program and made it run much better. I left out the part that I knew. That person went and found someone else to take on the task. In all honesty, I would have done the same. If you are skilled, say so. There is no room for being humble in business.
6 | Don’t Accept Less Than You’re Worth
In this past year I have worked with two types of clients: One who pays me what I am worth, and one who tries to get the job for much less. The clients that I have accepted at a lower rate did not last long because they couldn’t even keep up with that. When someone knows your value, they will pay it. And, in general, if they are able to pay your fee, they will be a better client in the long run.
7 | Read, Write, Listen, Watch
You can never be totally caught up in the marketing industry because something is always changing. In December of 2017 (just one month ago) there were so many changes across social media that I had to set up a separate call with my clients just to go over how we need to adjust our strategy.
If you think you know everything there is to know about marketing and you aren’t continuing to educate yourself, your lifespan in this industry will be incredibly short. Figure out how you like to learn: YouTube videos, podcasts, books, writing things out on your own, or even online classes, and continue to learn each and every day.
The journey to entrepreneurship is a silly thing. You can feel like the biggest fraud in the world all while delivering quality work and an amazing experience to your customers. Don’t let the naysayer in your head talk you into giving up! Keep pushing, keep learning, and build the life that you want to live!