Yes, you read it right; I seriously don’t believe that I am the first entrepreneur who has been overwhelmed, on the verge of an astonishingly senseless meltdown, or suffering from too-much-to-learn syndrome.
My particular problem is the constant cry for attention on the internet and the fact that I must succumb or die. I have to ‘put myself out there’ at an alarming rate and it’s not something I’m decidedly comfortable with.
The plan is to share the lessons I’ve learnt over the last year and a half or so:
- the frustrations,
- the victories,
- the good lessons,
- the bad lessons, and
- the often pure enjoyment.
I’m hesitant as to which topic I should start with. You mustn’t be disinclined to read the rest of the articles if the first one is about something too negative.
So let’s begin with the Good Lessons.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
I am truly amazed at how eager people are to offer advice and guidance. All my friends, all my family, and my peers, have enthusiastically responded to desperate shrieks for help. Clearly you are not going to ask your language friend to help with designing and vice versa, but everybody has something to offer. (Always good to remember when dealing with people.)
I’m perhaps more fortunate than what I realize, but in my inner circle I have a designer (Linda), a language specialist (Carlin), a business manager (Helé), a web developer (Retha) and a fabulous peer group (the Professional Editors’ Guild), all of them ready to share their expertize.
Remember to say thank you!
2. You are better than what you think you are
When I look back on my journey I’m aghast at how ignorant I was. Frankly, I knew nothing.
I understood that I wanted to establish a company that offers professional CV writing, copy-editing, translation, and Web content. I imagined that all I needed was a name, corporate identity, and a website. Seriously, is that what I thought?! ‘Oh you poor girl’ you might reckon.
But now, let me tell you, I can manage social media, make minor changes to my websites, understand the importance of keywords, and how to increase an online presence for The Language Tree and The CV Branch. And most of it is autodidactic.
So remember, your ability to grasp new concepts and skills is limitless.
3. Customer service, customer service, and then some more customer service
I suppose this is not really a lesson because I have always been in the client service industry. And I am confident that the foundation of any successful business is offering clients, both new and existing, a satisfying, professional experience.
Answer enquiries immediately, realize that when you work for yourself, normal business hours do NOT apply. Having said this, I strongly believe that the client is not always right but…the client is king.
4. Remain current
Be intimately familiar with your subject and be in a position to present your client with the most current and best advice possible.
Don’t think that because you know how to do something extremely well today, that the same will apply tomorrow. Read, subscribe to blogs that offer the kind of content that you need, attend workshops, network, and never, ever assume that you know everything. Set aside some time to research your industry every day.
Years ago, I was advised to know your opposition, but not to become obsessed with them.
5. Remember to give yourself credit
Try not to become mired in your problems or your perceived shortcomings. If you have achieved something great, be proud of yourself. Perhaps treat yourself with a little grandness (I have a bottle of champagne in the fridge, permanently).
And be kind to yourself, always.
Look out for the article on frustrations!