Ten things I wish I’d known before launching my company that might help other start-ups - Juggling Sword | Edinburgh content marketing agency | Edinburgh PR agency
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Ten things I wish I’d known before launching my company that might help other start-ups

Jan 15, 2015 / by jugglingswords / In Business, Content marketing, Digital marketing, Uncategorized / Tags: , , , , , , / Leave a comment

We’re now eight months into year one of Juggling Swords’ existence and it has been a rollercoaster time (to use a lazy, tired and crap old cliché).

Launching a content marketing agency with no clients, no investment and no footprint in the industry for the last six years was stupid. I get that.

But, somehow, it’s working. We now have a great client list, we’re producing work that is making them happy and we are growing.

There’s so much free business advice out there but not so much useful, practical advice so, given that it’s Friday and you’re definitely not working, here’s some of the stuff I’ve learned in the last eight months as a first-time entrepreneur.

Be prepared to handle rejection… A LOT of rejection

I come from a media background, not a sales background. I wasn’t prepared for the constant rejection that salespeople get. Every other role I’ve ever had, someone else had won the contract for me. I just had to do the work.

If you’re a brand new business, no one has heard of you so expect suspicion, sometimes verbal abuse, and a lot of rejection when you’re selling your product or service to new customers.

Start your day with a to-do list AND a goals list

When I first started out, I’d get to my desk in the morning and feel utterly overwhelmed with the amount of work that had to be done. I didn’t know where to start in putting the business together, nevermind winning new clients.

It’s so obvious, but a to-do list and a goals list (for me it would be something like contact 10 new businesses today) make a massive difference and you get a sense of achievement when you see all the ticks at the end of the day.

Collaborate with people and companies that will benefit you

I thought I could do everything on my own at the start. I was worried that people might want to muscle in on my business or steal leads. But as a new business you don’t really have a choice. You have to collaborate with people and it really will move you forward, as long as they’re the right people.

Never rest on your laurels

As I said, I’m not a salesman, so every time a contract was signed, I’d feel like kicking back for the next four hours and basking in the glory. Nope, doesn’t work. There’s no time for that. Push on. Make sure your existing clients are delighted with your work, and keep pushing to win new contracts. It’s the only way you’ll grow.

Don’t doubt yourself or your business

This is good advice that I need to listen to all the time, even after eight months. To reference that crappy old rollercoaster analogy again, there are ups and downs all the time as a young company. When you’re in a trough, you’ve had a bad day or you lose out on a deal, keep reminding yourself that your business will work and what you’re doing is right. Doubt leads to negativity, which leads to your business going down the pan. Shake it off, as that whiny little popstar always says.

Become a puffer fish

You’re a small fish in a big pond so you have to defend yourself more often and you have to get noticed. Never lie about your capabilities but don’t be afraid to puff out your chest and really prove to people that you’re good.

Seize opportunities that come your way… even if they’re scary

I joined Entrepreneurial Spark – a business accelerator program – and at first it scared the sh*t out of me. I’m glad I did it though, because I learned so much about business and felt a sense of achievement for making it on to the program.

Don’t believe everything that successful people tell you

Successful businesspeople are amazing to listen to but don’t believe everything they say and definitely don’t assume that their path to success will be yours. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

Never fart in the office… even if you’re alone. Someone WILL come in 10 seconds later

This is quite possibly the biggest lesson of all. Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it.

The hard work will pay off eventually, just keep going

I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in the first three months of Juggling Swords’ life and made precisely zero money. Not a penny. Then, suddenly, we started winning business and that has continued. Work hard and it will all come together eventually if you’re committed and believe in what you’re doing.

John Durrant is the CEO of Juggling Swords, an Edinburgh-based digital and content marketing agency. Talk to him today about improving your digital, social media and content marketing.

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