We always say “if I only knew then what I know now…” when we look back on how little we knew in a situation. As an entrepreneur, there’s plenty I wish I could tell myself seven years ago…
1. You’re More of an Expert Than You Think. Early on, I felt so new. There were so many other marketing professionals I compared myself to, and I felt that I didn’t know a drop of what they did. It was probably true, but I lacked the confidence to consider myself an expert. Hey, everyone knows more than at least one person out there, right?
2. Don’t Waste Time on Bad Leads. My heart would soar any time someone called asking about my marketing services. But I wasted hundreds of hours preparing proposals for people who really didn’t want what I was selling. Now that I’ve learned that lesson, I waste less time.
3. Blog, Blog, Blog. After being in business for about a year, my husband told me about these things called “blogs.” I was skeptical and didn’t jump on the bandwagon. Now I make my living from them. If only I had known they wouldn’t be a fad…
4. It’s Okay to Ask for Help. I wanted to be so self-sufficient early in my career, so I tried to do everything on my own. Now I know the benefit of partnerships, so I’m more inclined to find someone who can help make something easier.
5. Competitors Aren’t Competition. They’re potential partners. I changed my thinking about this and started getting work from other marketing firms.
6. My Passion is My Best Marketing Tool. I love marketing. I live it. I can talk about it all day. When potential clients see my enthusiasm, it’s infectious. And I close the deal.
7. Make Processes Early. Whether it was my erratic invoicing system or the lack of training documents for new employees, I was all over the place early on. Now I have processes in place that make everything seamless and less time-consuming.
8. Market Your Own Business. It’s easy to get bogged down in working on a project, so sometimes I find it hard to come up for air and actively market for new clients. But that’s exactly the time I need to be doing so.
9. Invest in Your Company. I pride myself on spending little on marketing, but occasionally I find a great tool that is worth investing in. I wish I had started doing that earlier on.
10. You Make Up the Rules. I had such a 9-to-5 mentality when I first started my company, and I couldn’t get my head around the fact that I had no one to answer to. Now, if I want to take the day off or work from Timbuktu, I totally can.
Photo: Cayusa on Flickr