Jan 15, 2015 / by jugglingswords / In Business, Content marketing, Digital marketing, Uncategorized / Tags: Business tips, Content marketing, entrepreneur, John Durrant, Juggling Swords, SME, startups / 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is quite possibly the biggest lesson of all. Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it.
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.