Things I Learned in My First Year of Claire Deane Marketing
Well, technically it’s only been 5 months, but since we’re coming to that time of the year when we all start getting a little reflective, I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and share some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since starting my own business. I hope two things happen with this blog post – one, that you’ll be compelled to share your own learnings in the comments section below the post, and that other newbie entrepreneurs will see some similar lessons and feel like they aren’t going it alone!
Let’s get cracking…
1. Having people who are in a similar boat that you can pour your heart out to are worth their weight in gold. It’s really only peeps who are in the freelance / coach / consulting boat that get why it’s nail biting and thrilling all at the same time, and they are the people who know exactly what to say when you need to validate your ideas, a pat on the back, or hooking up with the perfect contact. This year, I’ve met or deepened connections with some amazing women, including Allie of The Wonderjam (and myCharge Up coauthor), Collette from Conscious Communications (and fellow yoga-teacher-in-training), Sarah from TheStoryBoxes, Catherine from The Spring Blog (and fellow Homeroom teacher), Lani from Yelp (okay, we’ve only met once, but I’m pretty sure she’s a kindred spirit) and of course my bestie Jas, who I work on The Ever After Story with. My advice? Get a power posse, and help each other navigate this entrepreneurial journey.
2. I believe that the key to entrepreneurial success is momentum, literally getting up every day and doing one (or more) small tasks that bring you closer to where you want to be. Whenever I’ve felt stuck or lost in the last year, it’s been because I’ve lost momentum on a project, and just doing one small thing to get the flow going again makes all the difference.
3. Just Do. This has been something that surprised me this year, because I’m kind of a perfectionist and this can sometimes stop me starting things if I worry I won’t be amazing at them straight away (can anyone relate?) The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is that successful people actually DO instead of being all talk. In addition, the act of doing can trigger off so many more amazing opportunities, so if there’s one piece of advice I’d give to people looking to start their own business, it would be to take the leap (oh, and call me for help on all things digital marketing ;))
4. Collaboration is what drives me. Conversations over cups of tea, talking about business, is one of the things I most look forward to in my week. I’ve also discovered that the clients I love working with most of all see me as a collaborator, rather than a consultant. They bring their own ideas, challenge mine, and we work together to come up with the best solution possible for their business.
5. Okay, this one is boring, but it pays to document, document, document. Get a contract, write down the deliverables, protect your ass. You’ll only have to learn this lesson once.
6. If a client doesn’t feel like the right fit for you, if you get that horrible ball of dread in the pit of your stomach when the phone rings, dump them. That might be a bit controversial, especially when you’re first starting out, but you went into business for yourself so you could choose the people you surround yourself with, so don’t stick with dud clients (or customers) because you feel like you have to. You won’t give them your best work, and neither of you will be happy with the situation. Go with your gut when choosing how to spend the precious resource that is your time.
7. Read everything you can get your hands on. This isn’t just a biz lesson, but a life lesson.
There’s been so many more lessons this year (and the last 5 months in particular), and I’m so unbelievably grateful that I get to do what I love, with people I love, every day. Here’s to 2015!
So, other biz owners, what would you add to the lessons list for this year?
If you’re interested in a 1 hour consulting session with me, I will be offering 10 sessions in December (finish off the year with a bang!) for $199. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org to book your space, places are limited.