As a proud CFC alum (Chicago, Class of ’11), I felt like I was pretty well prepared when I embarked on my journey to solopreneurship. After all, I’d just learned from the best in the biz about the importance of creating a business plan, measuring your sales cycle and prospecting the right type of client.
Fast forward a few months and—whoops!—I had already forgotten (er, more like ignored) half of the valuable advice I’d picked up at CFC.
Sure, I had a rough idea of who my target customer should be, but still spent time chasing down unqualified leads. I would get nervous about being $50 over or under in a price quote. And pretty soon, I realized I wasn’t having quite as much fun in my new career as I should be.
That’s when I realized that I had f***ed up as a new freelancer, even though I knew better. And, in hopes of saving you all from going down that same path, that’s exactly what I’ll be talking about during my 10 minutes of “Freelancers Speak on Their Best Business Practices.”
To hear all the ways I f***ed up when starting my business, and how I do things much better nowadays, you’ll have to wait to hear me speak in San Francisco. But I will tell you about one thing that I definitely did RIGHT from the very beginning: I set up my business for where I wanted to be in 2-3 years, not where I was at that exact moment.
You see, I always knew that I wanted to be more than a freelancer—I wanted to build a small marketing and design studio. (I never found the whole working-from-home-in-pajamas thing very appealing…) With that in mind, I took a leap of faith and immediately built out a studio space instead of working from my kitchen table. I bought office furniture for two more employees and hired an intern. I built up a network of contractors to help out with large projects.
The result? Every single prospect who I met with remarked that I gave off a much more professional image than they would have expected for such a small studio. That landed me several clients who would have otherwise been considered long shots, which then allowed me to hire two employees to fill up my studio. Self-fulfilling prophecy, eh?
So, no matter what your dream situation may be, plan for the future and start acting like that NOW. You’ll be surprised what comes your way when you start living your future dreams today.
Join Jen Lombardi and 3 other brave creative pros when they present at CFC June 22-24 in SF! Get $100 off (CFC only) if you combine promo code “ILISE” + Early Bird rate before March 15. Register here now.