This week marks a point where I am officially 6 months self-employed. When I decided to make the big move and go it alone, I knew that I wanted to stay in the industry of Marketing where I have worked for years and enjoyed the job. My intention when starting up Elevate Marketing was to be able to provide Marketing services to small businesses who needed support and promotion but don’t want to hire a full-time member of staff. I was also looking forward to the flexibility and independence that being self-employed offered.
However, there is also the fear that came with the security of working a 9-5 would be gone and having a solid wage coming in but I was at a point where I wasn’t feeling the enthusiasm and really needed a new challenge. Since setting up my business, I have met people that made me look at life in a new way. I’ve worked on some great projects so far and learned every day. I’ve also met people who thought I was an easy target to try to take advantage of, so I learned the hard way very quickly.
What I’ve learned in my first six months in Business:
- Just Start – There will never be a right time to do it so just Start now!! Making that jump is the hardest part but once you do, you’ll be glad you did.
- Network, Network, Network – Join local groups for business networking. They are a great way to meet likeminded people, get business and support from your peers, a lot of people in these groups will have been in business years and will have experience in a lot of areas so will be a great source of advice. Also, no matter what industry you are in, everyone has the same problems so it’s good to talk and get a fresh perspective on things. You’ll also drink loads of Coffee – If you join a networking group and expect to get loads of business you are coming at it from the wrong angle. Go drink coffee, talk to people and get to know them and their stories. Once people have built a relationship and trust with you, they will be much happier to do business with you, when and if they need your services.
- Start at X and you’ll probably end up ay Y. I can already see in the first few months that my offerings are changing. When I started out, I planned on being everything to everyone but learned very quickly where my strengths lied and while I still provide a complete service, I will let other freelancers who specialise in areas I don’t collaborate on projects. This way the client gets the full package done properly and I also save time by not trying to do everything.
- Know your worth!! It’s a scary place to be starting off a new business and not having a solid wage coming in every week so it can be easy to take what work is offered to you at the start but always remember your worth and don’t be afraid to say no. Go with your gut and if you get a bad feeling about someone don’t be afraid to walk away.
- Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help when needed. You will grow as a person and will need help along the way, and you will become stronger for it.
- Read every book you can get your hands on – So you’ve worked in the industry for years but there will be so many things that will be constantly changing and areas that you won’t have had to work with every day so you’ll need to constantly upskill and keep up with changing trends.
- Get deposits for everything – Not everyone is nice, and some will be out to take advantage of you. As I said in an earlier point, know your worth and make sure you get a payment plan in writing from the start. Some people will think they can get the better of you as you are only starting out but securing a deposit means you are at least someway covered. Also if you have a deposit your client is already finically involved
- Set hours. The 9-5 has gone out the window and you will be working all the hour’s god sends at the start but make sure you have a work/life balance and make time for family and friends
- Practice what you preach – I tell every client they need a clearly defined strategy for them, but I was so busy trying to work for other people, my own strategy was letting me down. Know where you are and know where you want to go so that you can make a plan to get there.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. I will admit to being super hard on myself and not giving myself credit where it is due. I worked in Marketing for years and managed offices and staff in the past but being self-employed is new, so I needed to learn that mistakes are all just a good learning curve.
Overall this has been one of the best things I have ever done, and my only regret is that I didn’t do it years ago. For more information on how Marketing can help your business to grow please contact www.elevatemarketing.ie