I NEVER SET OUT TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR, NEVER! As far as I knew, I was not cut out for navigating the business world on my own. I was a good employee at a decent place with a steady income. I was fine until I was not fine anymore. I wanted to use those gifts on my inside the way I wanted, I wanted to optimize them. You know, those gifts that show up as tiny glimpses in moments of inspiration. In December 2015, I suddenly decided to take the plunge and not start my business but work with the family business for a bit to enable me re-discover some things, see things from a different perspective.
After a bit, I became restless again. I still wanted more so I asked myself “ What innate and acquired skills do I have that will provide more self fulfilment and earn me additional income?" I decided to offer my brand building, marketing and creative skills to businesses who can't afford an agency. Believe me, the day I wanted to launch, I was terrified! I postponed that day several times, asking myself deprecating and needless questions but I’ve so evolved….. below are few of the lessons I have learnt and re-learnt.
1.Your thinking determines your turnover. Think big and get just that, think small, get small. When I started this consulting service, I thought small, I charged peanuts and was terrified to ask someone for 6 figures for a project, believe it or not. Turns out the figure i was afraid to charge but still was even low! Each time, I got what I asked for. With time, I discovered small or “reasonable “would not pay the bills and compensate for the volume of work my Client demanded of me. That’s history now. I learnt and I’m still learning to understand my worth and charge accordingly and even add tax. When I started thinking big, I also got what I asked what I asked for. I’ve gotten better and still have some journey to cover. I’ve learnt to turn down jobs and both parties are the better for it.
2.Be Flexible with offers to your Clients. A lot of these thoughts I’m sharing are not new but I add my personal experience to make the point. Honestly, I’ve recently had some table shaking of my own in business and I shared it on my page this past week. (Are you following me on social media?). I discovered that SMEs I'm passionate about could not afford some of my packages.
I learnt fast that you will have various types of customers and one size will never fit all. Why not create different flexible packages for the different customers in your space. If you remain rigid, forcing it, you will struggle. I struggled until I learnt this.
Segment your different customers or prospects that have reached out and pulled back when they heard your price, lol. Can you create a package that meets their needs but which you can offer profitably? For example, my full management package may not work for most but can I set up your social media pages, show you how to create your content sustainably, charge a more affordable rate and be on my merry way? Or teach you to use Canva to design practically all your graphics and move on? “Your clothes are too expensive” customers say, can you create or stock a more affordable line in addition to what you have? If fashion retailer, Zara can create Zara Basic (more affordable everyday items), you can create a more affordable product too. Even Peak milk had to create sachets for its evaporated milk so as not to lose chunks of the market. It’s also the reason why big brands will have the sammmmme products with the same taste and even quality in their portfolio with various brand names targeted at different categories of people. This is something you we can learn by the large FMCG(Fast Moving Consumer Goods) manufacturers.
3.Remember/find ways to breathe. The hustle when you are on your own is times 10. Let no one tell you the lie that suggests that when you leave 9-5, you will enjoy working for yourself because will have the time. You will not have the time, every day is a workday. Approaching weekends really don’t mean much to me anymore.
But you see, each day comes with its own challenges, at the end of the day, take some time out with your loved ones. Nobody will die, at least for most industries, if you drop your phone or laptop from time to time in order just be a human being, lol. You live to continue tomorrow.
4.You prayed for more, “more” comes with challenges at every turn. Every level with its devils but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world, you need to keep going! If you are afraid of challenges, insults, backlashes and more, you are not ready to succeed because success puts you on a pedestal and not everyone will like you or appreciate you. Furthermore, the more success you have in your life, the more you need to deal with. Challenges are part of the package deal and you need to make your peace with challenges and press on regardless. You should catch an old article on mine on this issue. Link here Too blessed to be stressed
I’m realizing this more than ever. Experience may not be the best teacher but it’s a damn good one.
5.Life is full of discovery, learn to explore. I never set out to become an entrepreneur but when I opened that door, I discovered another and another and it keeps going this way. In this journey, I discovered some many gifts buried on my inside. Me? Teach? But today, I enjoy it so very much. I never knew I would design graphics myself for even or for the calibre of people and projects that I have. When you are curious about something on your inside, take time to explore it. The worst that would happen would be that you would fail forward and then move on with life.
Entrepreneurship is such a school, it teaches you to be strong, brave and to wear your big boy or girl pants because you will face money hurdles, people hurdles, government hurdles and more. The good news in the end is, it will be worth it, if you are cut out for it.
These are just a few of my lessons. Look out for more, coming soon.