August marks the 10th anniversary of Flex Marketing!
Reflecting on the past ten years had me thinking about what I have learnt during this time. Just in case you are in the early days of your business or just want to see if your learnings mirror mine, take a look at the list below, as there may be some tips and reminders in these nuggets!
- Network, network – in whatever form that takes. I have spoken with quite a few business owners who cringe at the idea of going along to networking events. I am always quick to point out that the benefits of networking can be found outside formal groups or events by utilising whatever tools and resources suit them most. Linkedin is a useful networking platform loved by many, but some reject it for the same reasons as networking groups – it can feel awkward and unnatural. People forget that they belong to groups and clubs in their personal lives that can cross over and open business opportunities through ‘word of mouth’. Golf, sailing, tennis clubs, school associations, committees, charity involvement, church – these are all chances for people to get to know and trust you. These situations may feel more spontaneous for some people and therefore they don’t think of them as ‘networking’ activities…but they are!
- Make services tangible. Early on a business coach I met offered me one simple piece of advice – create packages. This was a really worthwhile tip because I discovered how important it is for clients to understand what they are getting, even when they don’t know themselves what kind of help they need from you yet! On the other side of the fence, I have also noticed how frustrating it can be trying to get work underway with a supplier when they have not been specific with ‘deliverables’ in their proposals. If you are providing services it is not something that can be physically picked off the shelf, so you need to make it as concrete and tangible as possible. Packages help reassure customers that they are paying a fixed and agreed price, making it easier for forecasting and budgeting.
- Stay in your lane. It’s tempting (especially when starting out) to put your hand up to do everything and anything, however this could easily lead to disappointment. It is important to not only have the skills to take on particular projects but also have passion for it. If it is not something you enjoy doing, be honest and find someone else to do it. Marketing is a very broad subject and there are certain specialties that I am sure to not get too involved in, either because I don’t have the depth of knowledge required or the desire. And that’s ok!
- Adaptability, flexibility, agility or whatever you want to call it! To be true to my goals of having a business that offers flexibility in my work-life-style, getting that balance right is a big priority. This means keeping an open mind, following my opportunities and welcoming change. Putting my yoga hat on, it is practicing non-attachment and gratitude for where things are at.
- Appreciate the benefits of being self-employed. Whilst at times it can feel less ‘secure’ than being an employee, it is useful to remind yourself that security even in employment is an illusion! Self-employment allows you to put eggs in more than one basket – as anyone who has been made redundant will know, an employee can be out of a full time job in an instant! Many self-employed people enjoy less time ‘at work’ if they are working from home because of reduced travel time – don’t be tempted to replace that by working extra hours. I am very aware of appreciating any time I get to help out family or attend a school trip when I think about how it may have otherwise been difficult to do if I was someone else’s employee.
If you would like to book an appointment to discuss your marketing journey to date and how Flex Marketing could help, please get in touch.