Secrets of Entrepreneurship #8 – Business Development
The first thing I would tell anyone looking to start their own business is – if you have a day job, do not quit that job without some business in place to kick start your new business. The main reason is having a client, even one, will make it a lot easier to grow and build your business. I have a top 4 list of how to grow business based on one client – and, I’m going to spill it for you right now!
Top 4 reasons to establish at least one client before you start:
1. Having clients will give you CONFIDENCE. This is HUGE!! When you are responsible for delivering a product, or service, having at least one paying client will make sure you are getting up and working on your craft. Getting paid, even a little bit, will give you the confidence to go forward.
2. Having clients will allow you to TALK about them when other POTENTIAL clients ask what you are working on or who you work with in the industry. Very important!
3. Having your own clients will allow you go grow your portfolio, and show current work, that you created under YOUR OWN new company name. This creates a great feeling of pride when you are first starting out.
4. Having one, or two, jobs established will allow the clients you are working with to see how you work, and then (hopefully) CONTINUE to assign you more work.
Voila, Business Development!
As an entrepreneur you have to always be looking for the next project and making sure you are covering your expenses. Having clients that can help you grow you business will make the process smoother (notice how I didn’t say easier!!! There is nothing easy about this).
When I first started I had exactly 2 clients. One paid me $350/month and the other was unpredictable (as the publications varied) but averaging out around $1500/month. Now, anyone who has a mortgage, car, living expenses, etc will know that this is not enough to live on SO I had to hustle to get business. As a writer I can have a variety of different clients and I worked that to my advantage. I went after two different markets – real estate agents and life/business coaches. I knew a lot about both of these areas, and they are passions of mine, so researching and writing about those subjects would be a joy for me. I also worked mainly with entrepreneurs as we speak the same language and I was ready to step away from large corporate businesses.
Part Deux: I was flexible and also willing to LEARN….and I mean QUICKLY. YouTube became my new best friend and I managed to grow my business little by little. In 4 months I had 7 established clients with monthly commitments and therefore monthly income.
Out of all the things I did in the first 3 months to establish and grow business these are the best tips I can offer to help with your own Business Development:
Treat your clients well – show them how appreciative you are of their business – and tell them often!
Jump into your clients business…shadow them for a day, interview them about their experiences, follow them on social media – and follow the people in their industry that they admire, read the books they like to read so you are familiar with what makes them tick and what drives them.
Treat all client as individuals. Each client has different goals and objectives – know what they are.
BIG ONE – Admit your mistakes right away! And, just so you know, you will make mistakes, but it’s ok. What you need to do is fix them right away and do better next time.
Let your client lead. You are there to make their lives easier. Period. Creating obstacles for them is a good way to get you fired.
Pass business to your clients. Make your relationship a give and take of business needs and contacts.
Know their coffee order and always bring them coffee/tea to your meetings! A little goes a long way.
THE #1 rule with clients – RESPECT! You respect their business and you also GET respect or there is no reason to continue working together (this is supposed to make your life easier!)
Until next time – dream, experience and love your life.
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