I am coming to the end of my first year of trading as a sole trader. As mentioned in previous posts, it’s been a year of ups and downs. I would say currently client project work is at a bit of a low ebb andI am worried about achieving my business goals for 2013. However I am determined to stay focussed and succeed, but when the market is low, and you are trying to build your reputation outside of your old corporate identity it is somewhat had to pick yourself up, and see that there may be an opportunity staring back at you.
My strategy for beating this low is remembering just how good the feeling of a new client project is, and working hard to then find these clients and their elusive projects. I’ve had to push my well polished procrastination techniques out the window and instead dust off the assertive side to my personality which I found lurking at the back of a cupboard. Clients won’t come to you. They need to know about you and what you can do for them. Therefore it’s it’s about being hard on yourself, using your contacts to make other contacts, and getting the word out there through your network about your product and services to your chosen industry. There is only you in this company remember.
However my other tip for beating the low ebb is that I’d also recommend asking for a helping hand. Mine has come in the form of asking for help from a mentor and training coach to help me get through this stage of my business development. I’ve found my mentor in Michael Heath (@1mheath). Michael has started to give me the direction that normally would have come from inside a corporate organisation from managers, colleagues and training courses. When you work on your own, you miss that link and don’t realise the support that these groups bring. Michael has started to help me look at my personality, challenge my assumptions about myself and also work with me to look at my business strategies and is gently taking me down a more positive path of having to do it on my own.
I am recently found this quote, but it sums up my new working life:
Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail Ralph Waldo Emerson
2012 End of Year Quiz
It seems traditional at the end of the year to have a yearly review and quiz. My quiz only has one question. Was I crazy to embark on being self employment in 2012? I took advice and counsel from many people, and most all adopted the initial positive stance, of “go for it, but it will be tough” some said, “are you sure you can do it?, however it was primarily the group of self employed friends and colleagues who said – “life can be what you want it to be when you are self employed, it’s hard, hard work. However it seems that the majority of self employed people wouldn’t want to go back into full time employment – why? well that’s for another post.
I did take the leap, and it has been hard work and a constant onslaught on the nerves. I never expected to find myself so in charge of my own career path. That sounds wimpish, but I now no longer rely on others to help promote me or congratulate me. I have to find the inner strength to do that myself. It will continue to be so, because what you don’t really appreciate when you are planning to do something of this magnitude, is that it is about having confidence. Not about having confidence in the markets, or the industry that you work in, but about confidence in yourself. Confidence to keep that smile firmly fixed on your face every day of the week, even when you don’t know where the next client is or when the phone is going to ring. Having the confidence and resilience to shake yourself down each day, and move on to the next opportunity.
So to give my ego a boost and the morning shake down I thought I’d review Venture Space’s first year ( to be updated in the projects section). I need for myself to consider the highlights to confirm to myself how far I’ve come, but I realised that at all contracts when you start out are highlights. All the client contracts I’ve completed this year, have all made me excited, and made me come home to my husband with a smile on my face. Why, because they’ve added confidence to my very fragile ego. All my new contacts and clients have all given me extra mileage to keep going into 2013. So be it counting chairs, fixing chairs or installing chairs, I’ve loved every minute of 2012.
So to answer the question, was I crazy to embark on self employment in 2012? Crazy no, where will 2013 take me, I have no idea, but bring on the adVENTURE.