My email inbox has been inundated this week with dozens of “congrats on your work anniversary” messages from my LinkedIn contacts. Work anniversary? I am a self-made entrepreneur, but in this social media network’s eyes that seems like the same thing.
The main difference for me is the fear involved in owning my own business. Don’t get me wrong. Fear is a good thing. Without it we become complacent and complacency is the first egotistical step on the way to failure. I don’t want to fail. I can’t fail. My family needs me to succeed. That is a real light-a-match-under-your-pants fear and that keeps me on my toes, day in and day out.
Fear pushes me to work harder for my clients to help them to consistently succeed with media coverage, email marketing, internal and external communications and graphic design. Their success helps propel my business. Add in my intense people-pleasing personality and you can see how my first three years in business has been consumed with making a name for myself in the greater Philadelphia public relations world.
Back to those LinkedIn messages … Owning my own business is such a whirlwind at times, that, without the messages from my network, I probably would not have realized that February is the three-year mark for Katalinas Communications. Of course, back then, I was still figuring out this whole business ownership thing and I hadn’t officially named my new venture.
I had my first client within two weeks of losing my job as a reporter and editor. It’s sort of like the business found me. Thankfully, one client led to many more – all through referrals – and I have had the luxury of working as a marketer and public relations pro without having to actively promote my business.
It’s kind of weird when you stop and think about it, right?
All of this has been a journey for me. I have learned and continue to learn lessons along the way. Several people I know have reached out to me seeking advice on starting their own business. I am nowhere near an expert, but I will share some key things that have stuck with me.
- Set boundaries
Entrepreneurship can mean 70-hour work weeks – if you let it. To keep your sanity, figure out work hours that make sense to you. For me, that means carving out afternoon hours when my daughter is home from school to play with her, help with homework and just be a mom.
- Work on your business, not just in it
This is perhaps my biggest pain point. I want to keep up with my blog and dedicate more time to my company’s social media and marketing in general, but it remains a challenge. Just like the cobbler’s children have no shoes, this PR company’s promotion and marketing is lacking.
- Be a master networker
Whether you excel at in-person networking opportunities or if social media is your forte, seize every opportunity to get your organization in front of prospective customers. People do business with individuals they like, know and trust. Making those stars align will help you increase business, particularly during those key early stages.
- Ask for help
Entrepreneurs tend to be ripe with ideas, but not necessarily able to execute each one of them. That’s OK. Do what you know and seek out assistance from friends, experts or employees to fill in the gaps.
- Be a perpetual learner
We can be an expert and not necessarily know everything. A willingness to learn will keep you up-to-date on your industry’s trends. Scope out what your competition is doing or consider tuning into Webinars or continuing education offerings relevant to your niche.
- Know when to jump ship
In retrospect, this probably should have been #1 on the list. Granted, I am overly cautious, but I worked a full-time job that I absolutely loathed for 18 months while getting my business up and running. Why? I knew there would be some early months with uneven income levels and I needed the security (and savings cushion) of two incomes. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
What about you? What lessons have you learned throughout your business journey? Please share! Join our email list to keep up-to-date on news and special offers.