Just a little over three years ago, I happily left my corporate career in commercial real estate to embark on an entrepreneurial journey we now proudly call Seven5 Seven3 Marketing Group. Although it’s been incredibly challenging at times, the payoff has been tremendous and I would not change a thing. Entrepreneurship has taught me so many lessons in life and business.
1. Market Your Business on a Consistent Basis
I was very fortunate to land a great client within just a couple of months after starting my company. I set them up on a six month retainer and was paid fairly well for performing their marketing services. I still remember the thrill of flying down to meet with the Vice President and President and sealing the deal.
I felt like this client was my baby – I spent all my time working on their projects and nurturing the relationship, ensuring any and everything they required was attended to promptly. I gave them my all, literally. I fell into the inexperienced entrepreneur trap; I was acting like an employee versus a business owner. As this was my only client, I only worked on their projects and completely neglected to market myself or my new company.
After six months, they didn’t renew my contract and I was basically clientless! A very bad place for an entrepreneur, wouldn’t you say.
Lesson Learned: No matter if you land a whale of client like I did, you have to continually market your business. Develop a marketing plan that will allow you to market your company in various ways, social media, print, email marketing and so on to ensure you won’t end up clientless.
2. The Power of Positive People
When I started my company I had total support from all of my people – from my husband, sister, mentor and friends. They encouraged me in so many different ways and even in the early days gave me referrals and passed out business cards. The support that I received has been invaluable. I’ve been able to share my trials and tribulations along with my many successes with this great group. They have been my cheerleaders and given me much needed critiques when I was off course. These incredibly positive people have not only helped my business grow but also my heart. Being a benefactor of the power of positive people in my life, I pay it forward and try to be that for others who are just starting out in business through this blog.
Lesson Learned: Surround yourself and business with positivity, it is the lifeblood of a new entrepreneur. There are days I know I would have completely lost it if I did not have the encouragement and support of my people. Some of you may not be as fortunate and find that your people aren’t supportive. Please, don’t let that stop you! Join an online community, mastermind or a MeetUp group to find the support and encouragement you need to continue your journey. The support you get will not only be great for your budding business, but for your soul.
I have to admit there were a couple of times that I truly thought about going back to corporate in the first year and a half of starting my business. It wasn’t necessary for the money, I was bored and frustrated beyond belief and couldn’t figure out how to get any traction in the business after the recession started. I felt like I had tried everything to get business and NOTHING was working. To keep my skills sharp and to stay active in networking, I took on a few pro bono clients. This still did not yield the clients I really wanted. Even though I always had at least one client for the most part, it was definitely challenging beyond what I ever anticipated. Through a deep self evaluation which started with the question “Is this really what you want to do?” and a lot of encouragement from my “people” I pressed on. And I’m glad I did. It took just a few tweaks to my business and services and just a few more months before I started receiving more business than I could handle.
Lesson Learned: The successful entrepreneur is certainly resilient and you have to believe and trust that your day will come as long as you’re putting forth the effort to make it happen. Maybe it’s just a few adjustments you need to make to your business or just timing, if you remain focused on your business goals and marketing, you will ultimately build the business you desire.
About Author: Bianca B. King, is Founder and President of Seven5 Seven3 Marketing Group. She has been featured in several on and offline publications, including JET Magazine, One Million Entrepreneurs.com, National Association of Women on the Rise and Brand Maker News.com. Bianca is responsible for planning and executing all aspects of marketing for Seven5 Seven3 Marketing Group’s clients. With over 15 years of marketing experience and an MBA in eCommerce Marketing, Bianca brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her clients. She consistently meets and exceeds her clients’ goals and expectations.