Over a couple of glasses of wine to many several years ago on New Years Day, I set my five year plan which would lead to me leaving the comfort and security of my well paid job and go it alone as a freelance leadership, strategy, culture and customer service expert. I did wonder if I was doing the right thing, It’s a bit scary when you are the main breadwinner, your son’s education and tonights dinner relies on you bringing home the bacon…. Literally.
Having decided on my “cunning plan” I set about putting it into action. I brought the company name and the web site address mjinspire.com and sat on it. Then I set up a Twitter account under the same name which I launched immediately and slowly built my followers. Yep 1100 in five years.. So not the dizzying heights of Kim Kardashian or One direction which is surprising given the fact I am going in one direction and can be a bit of a diva.
I embarked on a psychology Hons degree course to build on my knowledge and development skills. No one told me how tough studying, being a mum and working would be and that I would need therapy by the time I finished and at this rate I will get my ‘ology ‘ with my free bus pass.
Then a year ago on Jan 1st 2016 I took the leap. I kept my old employer as a client to retain some security and because I did not want to let them or my existing clients down. Then I set about building my own customer base. To be honest it’s been a roller coaster ride and has taken sheer determination, damn hard work and guts.
So what have I learnt:
- Relationships are everything, cherish them. Never underestimate the power of relationships and all the goodwill you have built over the years. Make friends, do favours and NETWORK.
- All the ground work and planning pays off, when you finally go it alone, announcing it to the world is easier and cheaper.
- It’s lonely, and unless you want to bore your husband and friends rigid find a business buddy or two and arrange to meet monthly to share the highs and lows.
- A good accountant with a huge dose of common sense is essential, ask around, interview them to ensure you are a good match. Do not just google accountants.
- The highs are even higher when you go it alone, even the smallest victories make you want to do the happy dance, remember those moments, because the lows are even lower and you question your very being.
- Being able to set my own schedule and priorities, especially as a working mum gave me more benefits than I ever imagined, especially as my office is a beautifully bespoke building half way down the garden. Washing on, chicken soup when my son gets in and available to help with homework. I am currently, though I suspect temporarily, polishing my good mum halo!
- Be good to yourself, make your office space somewhere you can walk away from and close the door. Find a hobby that allows you to switch off, mine is sewing.
- Find a business mentor to bounce ideas off and help you prioritise
- Take time out to think, strategise and be creative. One of the best prices of advice I have received is keep going until you see a stop sign. Some of your ideas will work and some will not. Drop the ones that don’t and never look back then build on the ones that do and keep moving forward.
- Above all and probably the most important, care. Care about your clients and what they care about. Care about the work you do, it will ensure you make it the best it can be and care about the partners you work with.
So here we are 2017 and one year has passed. I have already secured several world renown blue chip companies, I have build great relationships and have some on-going projects with several others and I have several proposals winging their way to prospective clients. My original employer is continuing to outsource to me. The future look inspiring…. mjinspiring.
Watch for my next blog….. Top networking tips.
If I can help your business become even better give me a call, together we will develop the cunning plan. Happy New Year.