Exactly one year ago today, I made possibly the scariest and bravest decision of my life to date – to quit my full time job and become my own boss – Happy Birthday MiTSO.
I have had the most wonderful, challenging, exciting and nerve-wrecking year since then and I have been truly shocked at how successful the first year has been.
I’ve managed to win major contracts, looking after marketing and business development for some hugely successful companies and truly impacted small businesses alike…all from the comfort of my own home.
I am not writing about this to tell you how great I am, but to encourage others to just go for it. Many of us have the right skills and knowledge, but it takes belief. Belief in your own ability, belief that you have enough knowledge and that you have just as much right as anyone, to sit in a room full of CEOs and Directors imparting that knowledge.
Whilst that’s been the most important thing (for me anyway), here are the top ten things I’ve learned in my first year running a marketing consultancy:
- Love what you do – apart from fulfilling my dream of becoming a professional dancer, this is the happiest I’ve been in a job, ever. If that’s not the case, don’t be afraid to quit your job or your business, because for me happiness is everything.
- Get good at multi–tasking – you will essentially become your own HR, Finance, Marketing, Business Development and ‘everything under the sun’ department for your business whilst managing a number of clients so be prepared to multi-task.
- Many people will not understand what you do – some of my closest friends and family still don’t understand how I make money. They may appreciate my hard work, but don’t really see it as a proper career. Don’t take offence, they mean well.
- The customer is always right, but may need guidance – I’ve worked with some clients who want to do things that I know won’t work. Don’t be afraid to challenge your clients to ensure they do the right thing for their business and get maximum benefit from marketing.
- Keep learning – it is important not to mislead clients and to acknowledge that you are only a true expert in one or two areas, we’re all “T-shaped marketers” after all. I outsource specialist work but I work damn hard to enhance my knowledge in all areas as I grow my business. Knowledge is power.
- Know your worth – don’t accept any lower than your set rates because a client doesn’t appreciate your value. If you went to a solicitor, accountant, hairdresser or availed of any professional service you would be prepared to pay. It’s no different with marketing and you shouldn’t work for free, just to maintain business.
- Networking is key – there are so many free services and support you can avail of. I’ve got so much support and won business from many simple encounters at industry events. It’s also important to get out of the office regularly to refresh your mindset.
- Be strong, but nice – this is a challenging job and you need to work your socks off to be successful. You need to be strong to deal with difficult situations and to negotiate. But for me, you can be strong and successful and still be nice.
- Don’t neglect your own marketing – one of my biggest downfalls this year is getting so caught up in client work that I neglect my own marketing, so you’ll be seeing a lot more of MiTSO this year.
- Don’t shy away from ambition – I have ambitions to grow my company in England and the south of Ireland, to move to a new office and potentially recruit. I’ve had to overcome the fear of growth and I’ll continue working as hard as I can to make it the success it deserves to be.