It's now been four months since I took the plunge and decided to drive my own professional writing business. So how would I describe my past four months in business?
I'll be honest: it's been a period of lessons. From learning how to network well, to figuring out my ideal client, to quoting and sticking by my pricing... anyone who tells you starting your own business is easy, is downright fibbing!
I believe it's incredibly important for us all to share our stories. The entrepreneurial journey can be incredibly tough and at times, lonely. From my perspective, as a 28-year-old, I'd love to be having a big night out on a Saturday evening instead of tapping away on my laptop. I've had all of those kind of moments in which I've questioned why I don't just get another job like most other people.
I shared my experience so far with Rebecca Gordon on The Coaching Lounge earlier this month:
Let's cut to the chase: owning and running your own business isn't easy and that's exactly why I'm a big believer in sharing the highs and lows and being as transparent as possible.
As a sometimes grumpy, sometimes happy, sometimes stressed (you get the drift) business owner, here are my top 5 reasons why I love hearing stories from other business owners.
#1 - I'm genuinely interested in other people's 'why?'
At the end of the day, we buy people, not products or services. As a business owner, I know my own why? but hearing other people's stories has often made me think about someone (and their company), in a completely different way.
Most entrepreneurs I know are working 24/7 and their desire to live in a way that often sees them sacrificing the things others wouldn't, all relates back to their why.
#2 - I need to know there's light at the end of the tunnel
I've had times when I know I'm in for a 3am evening to finish off work that's due the next day. Sometimes, during moments like these, it all just seems to hard. To have that ability to keep on keeping on in the face of an excessive workload, setbacks, rejection and fear of failure, is tough.
We need to hear from successful business owners who've struggled their way through business. The kind of people who've been there and done that. Often, we hear about people once they've made it but I think we need more stories from lesser profile people and even those still struggling to get their business formula where it needs to be.
#3 - I want to hear about things I may not have thought about or considered
I've always felt that what makes me a potentially great business owner is my ability to listen. I don't need to have the spotlight on me and since taking this leap of faith, I've learnt so much just from listening to people's take on things and how they may have tackled a situation differently.
Strip away all of the talent and ability in the world and there's one thing no amount of money can buy: life and business experience.
I've been to quite a few networking events where certain people are obsessed with taking the floor to sell themselves and what they have to offer. Sometimes though, it's really in our best interest to let someone else do the talking... you never know what you may learn!
#4 - I want to hear the everyday hero's story
We're all aware of the stories behind Richard Branson, the late Steve Jobs, Arianna Huffington and so on.
I want to hear about the local business owner's journey - how they managed to take a business from a start-up to a company that now employs their fair share of staff. The story that sees the everyday hero speaking with that contagious passion and energy... In my books, this story is equally as important as hearing about a billionaire's rise to the top.
It's not all about the stories that are just glitz and glam!
#5 - I want to hear about the ups and downs and all of those nitty-gritty bits in-between
People have a way of skimming over the troubling times and fast-forwarding to the triumphant portions of a story. I'll never forget the impact Daniel Flynn, Managing Director of Thank-you, had on me when I attended his speaking event earlier this year. Overwhelming start-up costs, setback after setback, moments when they all wanted to throw in the towel... it's all part of the average entrepreneur's journey.
So to all of those budding and established entrepreneurs out there: please share your stories!
Blog about it, speak about it in person, talk about it on a podcast... use whatever platform that makes you feel most comfortable. Just get it out there!