Entrepreneurship. So many people dream about it. The freedom to choose your own hours, the relief of not having a boss, and getting paid doing what you love to do the most.
Yes, entrepreneurship is all that. And more. Much, much more.
More than I’d ever realized.
One year ago this month, we launched The Editor’s Desk as a full-service writing and editing business. Has it been a year of success and growth? Indeed. Has it been a year of mistakes? For sure. And have I learned from those mistakes? Without question.
If you’re in the corporate world (like I was), you’ve probably become accustomed to doing your job and collecting your paycheque. No problem, right? And you might expect that running your business would be much along the same thing, except that get to keep 100% of the profits your business earns.
As any entrepreneur will tell you, running a business not as easy as you might imagine. And as cognizant as I was of the challenges of entrepreneurship, I still thought that it would be easier than it turned out to be.
Late nights with little time off, endless networking, constant marketing, and always chasing that next big contract. And that’s just scratching the surface.
But would I have it any other way? Not on your life.
[tweetthis]Five things I learned after 1 year of entrepreneurship #entrepreneur #business[/tweetthis]
So if you’re thinking of starting your own business, you might be interested in the top five things I learned about entrepreneurship.
1) Strategic partnerships are paramount. Entrepreneurs need other entrepreneurs to partner with. You don’t need to try and partner with everybody, stretching synergy until it nearly snaps. A handful of talented folks with whom you can trade referrals, work together to serve customers, and consult with to solve problems goes a long way to giving you the support you need for success.
2) Networking is essential. And how do you find the aforementioned strategic partners? By networking, of course. You can network anywhere, from within your personal social circle to an organized networking event. Most of them are attended by other entrepreneurs looking to do the exact thing you are: develop new business.
Sometimes you need to think out of the box when finding places to network, even if it means speaking to people in line at the office supply store. Chances are, if they’re buying office supplies, they’re in business too!
3) The books contain your lifeblood. It goes without saying that cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. But for some new entrepreneurs, the thoughts of doing the books can be daunting (unless you’re a bookkeeper by trade).
If hiring a bookkeeper isn’t in the budget right now, consider using an online tool like Freshbooks. If you can dedicate a certain time every week to update your records (say, Sunday night at 9 PM), it’s pretty easy to manage.
But try to keep on top of it, or it’ll get ahead of you. I let it lag for several weeks once, and it took me hours upon hours to catch up.
4) Market, market, market! You can have the world’s greatest website, but if no one knows it’s there, what’s the point of having it? So how do people find out you’re open for business? Marketing, of course.
From traditional media to digital channels, including social media, you need to get the word out. Networking is great, but you’ll only get in front of so many people at a time. With marketing, you’ll reach hundreds, or even thousands, all at once.
5) Above all, be authentic. Your marketing efforts need to reflect not only your business offerings, but also your core business values. And, chances are your core business values will also represent your personal values.
So, you need to be authentic. You are your business. If people like and trust you, the better your chances of success.
What did you learn in your first year of business? Let me know in the comments below!
Richard S. Todd is President at The Editor’s Desk, providing professional content management and business copywriting services, as well as comprehensive manuscript editing and proofreading.