One Year as an Entrepreneur
One year ago today, I worked my last shift at my former job. I left my grocery store management and internship position to start a social media marketing agency. I have used the platforms for many years for marketing and knew I could sell my learned skills. I am not where I want to be yet. However, a year ago, I didn't have the insight I have now. Maybe these lessons will help some of you budding entrepreneurs in your first year.
1. In business, there is no such thing as being over-prepared.
Preparation and organization show dedication, commitment, and work ethic. To clarify, take action. Reframe the way you see “prepared.” “Perfect” is not prepared, it’s not an achievable metric. Don’t suffer from a perfectionist mentality— waiting to take action certainly won’t help. Show up to meetings with more preparation than others normally would. It’s unlikely for someone to think that you over-prepared.
2. No one cares about your business as much as you do.
Clients, leads, prospects, employees, friends, and family will not care as much as you do. So, care A LOT. Follow up early and often. Never expect anyone to work harder than you on your business. Be relentlessly involved with your business.
3. Talk is cheap.
Lots of people will say they want to hear more but do not have the desire to ever work with you or even need your product/service. Don’t take it personally. Move on, but take note of that type of person.
4. Say things that make you confident.
“Interested,” “just,” and “no problem” are all words I've made an effort to remove from my vocabulary. Speak with confidence. Never joke about your business or goals. If they're serious, don't bring them down. There are plenty of other people who can do that for you.
5. Have very clear goals.
Use numbers and deadlines, then find ways to gamify your goals. Without clear goals you end up exactly where you have headed; someplace you didn’t have the clarity to see. Running 100,000 miles in the wrong direction is far better than standing still. Pick a goal, and stick to it.
6. You don't have to work for your mentors without pay.
A good mentor should want to and have the ability to pay you. Be willing to accept lower pay in exchange for connections and knowledge--but working for free when starting a business isn’t sustainable, try to avoid it.
7. The first week of working with a client matters more than the first 3 months.
Within the first week or so of working with you, a client/customer already knows whether or not they will continue working with you. First impressions do matter. It's the nature of the beast. Get your customers a win as soon as possible.
8. A “No” isn’t a never.
It just means you didn’t articulate the value of your offer well enough. Ask questions to see why they actually don’t want to work with you. Use it to prepare for your other meetings and improve your offer.
9. If you truly believe in your offer, you’re doing a disservice to others by not selling it.
If you can actually help someone, there is no reason you should feel bad or weird about selling. Have confidence in your product. If you don't, stop selling it.
10. If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.
(In life and in business) Your best experiences will come from running straight into discomfort. You'll learn the most by going for it. So... GO FOR IT!
11. Have contracts in place as soon as possible.
Don’t do handshake deals. Remember, a contract is for both parties and you put contracts in place because you do trust them. You wouldn’t be willing to hold yourself accountable to someone you don’t trust.
12. Put yourself in situations that create luck.
When you put yourself in situations and surround yourself with people who know more than you, make more money than you, and work harder than you, it'll look “lucky” to other people. Luck can be created by showing up every day and putting yourself in the right rooms. Find a way to get your foot in the door.
13. Be willing for it to take time.
Anything worthwhile isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes time. Persistent action, pivoting, and challenging beliefs will help you grow and level up in business. Break down your limiting beliefs. Focus on self-development and discipline. Your business grows when you do. But grow as fast as you can. Fast action day-to-day and long-term patience are key.
Thanks for Reading!
I still have a lot to learn! Before starting my entrepreneurship journey, I heard some of these lessons. However, looking back on the last year, I saw them in action. Maybe a few years from now, I'll look back on these and question how I was even making money. I would love your feedback.