One Year The Other Perspective - Seven Lessons
In February 2017, I started the venture The Other Perspective. Now that The Other Perspective is celebrating its first birthday, it is time for some reflections.
Starting my own business brought me a lot of new experiences. I am happy to share with you my seven lessons of this first year.
1. Create win-win situations.
Like all starting entrepreneurs, my dream was to quickly land my first deals and establish my brand. I had coffee dates with a lot of people, but nothing happened. I had to change my approach. But who in my network could I ask for help? It was really hard for me (and it still is sometimes) to end a nice chat with the question: “How can I help you and how can you help me?”
When I finally dared to, it did help me grow my network and land interesting projects. And it gave me a chance to help my friends as I now knew what they were looking for. We co-created win-win scenarios and I got the chance to join their consultancy and coaching networks.
2. Invest time in creating your brand.
Developing your identity as an entrepreneur takes time and is a continuous process. Make sure to take some time for it before your projects come flying in. What is your identity? Which audience do you intend to target? What will your logo look like? Who will build your website? and What do you put on that website?
For me, creating my website was a true journey and questions like the ones above proved quite hard for me to answer. My logo was eventually created by a designer from Indonesia, my website by a designer in The Hague and I created my website texts with the support of my fellow Executive Coaching students.
3. You are not on your own.
Starting your own business doesn’t mean you are on your own. A year ago, quite a few people who made a big difference to my first year, were not even in my network. And I am so happy they are now!
They help me sharpen my thinking, provide me with honest feedback and point me in the right direction for e.g. marketing, admin, product development. The way we share best practices, forward each other interesting opportunities and check in every now and then humbles me every day.
4. The journey will guide you.
It is important to understand that just having an idea is not all there is to it. An idea will only come to live if you take action on it. Did you know that only 10% of all ideas end up in great initiatives? That is just one of the reasons why trying out different ideas in parallel and piloting/co-creating these with people who will eventually benefit from them (prospects) is a good idea. When you trust your instincts, show perseverance and stay active, the journey will guide you to your next opportunity.
5. Surprise yourself: shut up and listen.
Individuals who truly listen to others are a rare species. When you visit a client, you can bring loads of models and products, but that is not always necessary. Sometimes, just being there is all you need to do. Next time, try formulating a great question & then just be quiet. You and your client might be surprised what happens next!
6. You are your key asset: invest in your own development.
Time flies when you’re having fun and the technology and science around us seem to develop at the speed of light. Therefore, it is critical that you keep investing in yourself. Take time to read (or listen to) a book, attend a good conference, sign up for interesting courses, get the right accreditations for your work and join relevant networks.
Make sure you know what your goal is, create a list of criteria and develop your own development plan to track your progress. Be your own boss and make your self-evaluation part of your structure.
7. The bigger picture: have fun, love your life and stay curious!
Remember that you started your business for a reason? Make sure you to enjoy the ride and see setbacks as valuable lessons. It is okay to sometimes hit a wall. That is a sign that you either need to thicken your skin or that you need to take another turn. And don’t forget: have fun, love your life and stay curious!
And before I forget…. if you come across someone who is looking for a professional coach, sparring partner or organisation development consultant, please think of me :-) Thx!
This blog is also available on LinkedIn (where you can leave comments).