Building a Business? Heed This Advice.

No Comments Yet | by Elise Perkins

One of the best things about digital networking is crowdsourcing advice. You’ll find that plenty of people are more than willing to help if you ask. As I look to relaunch my online course, The Savvy Soloist, I inquired what their best piece of advice is for new entrepreneurs. Here’s what they had to say:

“Build a community of people who support you. There will be difficult times and it is those people that will help you through it. And also – put away 30% for taxes – the less inspirational but highly necessary advice.” – Stacy Kleber Jensen

“Find 3 great things – a great mentor, a great CPA, and a great first client. Give them nothing but respect and honesty.” Christopher Breene

“Prioritize time management and self-care in a real way. As your own boss, you are in charge of making sure that you have allotted the appropriate amount of time to do your work well but also that you don’t overcommit, and you are going to have to practice saying “no”. Work with your schedule and your client’s schedule(s) to designate clear and consistent working hours for that client. It’s SO tempting, but don’t offer flexibility in an urgent moment if it cuts into your off time or other client time. The clarity and consistency will help you focus and track your hours, help your client with expectations, and will keep the hustling lifestyle sustainable with room for growth for you. The last thing you want is a client for whom you’ve bended before who then expects you available at their beck and call 24/7! In that same vein, and this is huge – designate a few hours a week for rest/rejuvenation/exercise/networking/professional development/appointments and keep it precious. Again, you’ll be tempted, but don’t take meetings during this time. Block it off on your calendar and treat it as you would a meeting or task. Especially as you’re getting your sea legs, this is the time for you to step back and evaluate and learn, and once you’re busy and on a roll, you’ll need this time to attend to the other things in your life.” – Alison B Waldman

“Get good at sales. If you can’t bring in clients, it doesn’t matter how good your skills are, you won’t get to use them.” – Dave Kaiser

“You’re going to fail and that’s ok. But you can’t let it get you down, you can’t please everyone no matter how hard you try. Get realistic with your time and schedule, up your rates not your clients. I could go on but I’m also still learning.” – Liz Whiting

“Start with 3 month contracts with scheduled evaluation checkpoints so you & your clients can mutually evaluate if it’s a fit.” – Bobbi Russell

“Network network network -and do good work!” – Will Sykora

“Brand yourself! Intentionally curating your portfolio and personal brand helps others identify the valuable skills sets you have to bring to the table.” – Colleen Tan

“Stay healthy! You are good to no one, your clients or yourself, if you are not sleeping, eating properly, and exercising. Early on I realized that I was eating only crap food, sitting almost all the time, and sleeping way too little. This is the road to burn out. I started being thoughtful about what I eat, working out 2-4 times a week, and began to militantly insist on enough sleep. This really helped me be more productive and also build sustainable habits/practices.” – Beth Soderberg

And, if you want to read more from Lisa Kaneff, the woman who started the online community, Freelance DC, check out this recent Forbes article, “Three Secrets to Building a Six-Figure Freelance Business.”

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About Elise Perkins

Elise Perkins founded ep communications in 2014 after seven years of working for trade associations and think tanks. Today she focuses on building brands for businesses and people, using a savvy mix of content and influencer strategies. She sits on the board of Washington Women in Public Relations.

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