I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and self-starters. I’ve been in business for myself for a few years and have learned some important lessons. Here they are:
- Set goals and make a plan to achieve them. You’re not going to get what you want by simply manifesting ideas. I believe manifesting is only wishing, and will keep you stalling. Instead, it’s important to have an end goal in mind, then do the work to achieve each step.
- Make manageable goals with a due date. Your big goal might be to speak at a workshop for 10,000 participants. Start with smaller speaking engagements that occur monthly and be sure to book as many as you can.
- Treat yourself like a top client, and your work like a real business. Imagine: if you were working with a recurring client or potential customer, you’d likely give them your full attention. You’d manage your calendar so you would show up on time and then do all the requisite work in a prompt manner. Do the same for yourself. This includes giving yourself ample time to work on tasks for your business, including the things that don’t make money in that moment. For example, if you’re a graphic designer and need to design your own business cards, do it. This will pay off later, especially when you meet someone who asks to see your work. You’ll have a great sample on you that moment.
- Speak favorably about yourself. Rather than putting yourself down or using self-deprecating humor to describe your work, remember the work you do is unique. Try complimenting yourself and you work.
- Pay yourself! Pricing can be tricky. Set your fees and prices so you can live comfortably. If you’re new to the business, it’s challenging to know how much to charge. Researching competitors and other similar products will help you.
- Allow your brand and collateral material to tell your business story. The marketing materials you show people (your business cards, your website) help round out your product. If your product is a service, it’s important you present yourself in a way that’s easily understood.
- Know your pitch. Know what you sell, what you offer, and how to explain it with confidence and excitement. You don’t need to sound “sales-y,” but you do need to recruit potential clients.
- People hire you because you’re you. You’re selling yourself as much as you’re selling a product. It’s important to be yourself and keep believing in yourself. Remember, your clients want you to be your authentic self.
- Plant seeds. Invest your time with quality people and use your time wisely. The seeds you plant might take a while to bloom, but they will. I wrote about this last week.
- Do the ONE thing you’re setting out to do. If you’re building a company selling chocolate, make the chocolate. Don’t start adding another item until you’ve perfected it. Get great at what you’re doing. Rather than multitasking and doing five mediocre things, do your one thing exceptionally well, then expand.
- Stop scrolling, trolling, and browsing social media. With the time you’re mindlessly glancing at friends’ news feeds or going down the Instagram maze of photos, you could be setting in motion your business. Also, it’s really hard to connect in person with people whose faces are buried in their phones. Please look up and connect with the people in front of you rather than the screen.
- Work in uninterrupted blocks of time. If you had a meeting with a prospective client, you’d devote full attention to him or her for the duration of your meeting. Do the same for yourself by setting a timer for one hour to get something important done.
- Get a mentor. Ask around and keep your heart open to finding the best person. Mentors provide excellent feedback and invaluable professional lessons for you to learn from.
- Be open to friends. Old friends want to support what you’re doing, so it’s super important you share what you’re doing. You might have a built-in client base just from the people you know. New friends could also be business leads.
- Commit to your business for a year. It might be challenging, exciting, it might suck. Hustle! Do it full-throttle for a year before you decide to give up. Projects, leads or money may trickle in at first before it flows. You might question what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and think it’s not for you. It might not be for you. But the business you’re doing might bring you joy and give you purpose. Only time will tell, so give yourself enough time to test the waters.
- Remember your why. Why did you do this in the first place? You had an idea, you decided to take a risk, you’re courageous to go on your own. If you need to post a sticky note on your computer or mirror to remember your mantra, do that. You’re an entrepreneur. Keep going.
I’ve been in practice for nine years, seven as a therapist, two as a Life Coach. There were definitely some tough moments, but I’m now better equipped to deal with them. This list is something I use regularly.
Please visit my website to learn more about me and to work with me.