Some of you may or may not know that once upon a time (almost 3 years ago) I worked for a Fortune 100 company. I secured my first (and last) corporate retail job before I graduated college and worked for this major retailer for 6 years. My reasons for leaving my job are my own and I do not endorse someone simply leaving their job because it does bring you joy. But then again... that was certainly one of the reasons I left. Nevertheless, there were bright spots that stuck with me that has certainly help set me up for success as an entrepreneur. Sometimes individuals with a corporate background get a bad rap; however, it's quite the contrary. Having worked with other creatives, I've certainly noticed that working a job with certain procedures and etiquette helped make the transition into entrepreneurship and the guts & work it takes to succeed less painful. More importantly, these lessons have helped take my business to the next level.
Maintaining a Schedule.
When working a 9 to 5, you become conditioned to know what time you need to head to bed in order to wake up and be refreshed for the next day. When you're an entrepreneur/freelancer sticking to a schedule is crucial to setting you up for success. When I first left my job, the first few months were certainly an adjustment; in the sense that I didn't have to wake up at 6-6:30am anymore. However, fast forward to today and I still set my alarm clock to 6:30. Why? Because there are things I like to do before truly starting my day: meditation, exercise and eating a really healthy breakfast. There are several creatives that don't wake up until 10, 10:30am who still feel tired, rushed or simply unproductive. Training or conditioning yourself to wake up at a time that allows you to do a little self care ritual and be productive in the early hours, vs having to stay up late and get zero sleep.
The Concept of Time Management.
If you're still in the corporate cog, then you totally get this next point. How many times have you had to juggle 3 meetings before 1pm, grab lunch and then have 2 more meetings before 4. I know I can't be the only one whose experienced this! Nevertheless, there were several meetings I had to tap out from because they were not crucial for accomplishing the day's tasks. More importantly, some meetings could simply be phone calls or email correspondence. When you transition to an entrepreneurial lifestyle, you seem to find you may have more time on your hands. Even more reason to be diligent and value your time. Very early on, I used to have introductory meetings with potential clients that could easily last 2 hours. However, you and I both know, that's lost wages and quite honestly doesn't do anything for your business, if said potential client isn't going to do business with you. Moreover, my schedule is beginning to fill up quicker, because business is great! With that being said, I really had to streamline and automate certain parts of my on boarding process, including adding a new client questionnaire. I highly recommend every creative or business individual take the time to create one. Check my last blog post for my reasons. This one thing has freed up my time to do more of the work that will bring my joy and also income.
The Power of Following Up
In this business when you're looking for clients, your follow up game better be strong. Gone are the days when I'm asking for orders from vendors or testing samples. But the follow-up game is what takes people to the next level. I. WILL. FOLLOW. UP. UNTIL. YOU. TELL. ME. NO. And even then, you may still get a follow up email within several months. Because a person's situation can change, etc. Following up with potential clients has certainly helped keep business flowing. But more importantly, it simply builds confidence. Years ago, I said to myself "the worst anyone can say to me is no." That has always stuck with me. Why? Because if no is the worst thing in the world, what's another email? There are many people who have originally told me no who are now knocking on my door. Because even though the moment wasn't aligned, they knew I existed to help service the need in the future. Reaching out simply puts you on that business' radar for future business opportunities. Don't sell yourself short by not sending out more than one email to follow up.