Sharing insights gained from nearly 25 years as a serial entrepreneur, Catherine Jewell, The Career Passion® Coach, offered a wealth of tidbits and great advice during Freelance Austin’s recent lunchtime program held via Zoom on Wednesday, January 11.
A Journalism major, Jewell landed her first job as a magazine editor and then went on to work for 13 years with an advertising agency. At the age of 45, she shifted her career focus and took a position as a training manager.
In 1997, she relocated to Austin and used her training skills as a public speaker and presentation coach. Today, she has found her perfect niche in helping individuals make mid-life course corrections with their careers.
During her presentation, Jewell shared Eight Business Lessons she learned the hard way.
Start with your key talents is the advice she gives to those seeking either a job or in starting their own business. This can be done by looking back at each position held and listing the skills developed. Then, it is a matter of looking at how those various talents might fit into a new undertaking.
Define your business helps you refine who you are and your unique niche. This is how you create your brand and keep yourself from becoming too fragmented. As one business coach told her years ago, “Businesses fail because they don’t have a box; not because they don’t look outside of the box.”
Find a model and copy it saves not only time, but helps you develop your own course of action. You need to be respectful of copyright issues, but business models and techniques used by successful companies or service providers can help guide you in your own endeavors.
Turn services into products can make what you do more accessible and more attractive to your potential customers. Rather than an open-ended offering, think about developing (and naming) a series of packages. People like a choice and packages help to create a better understanding of what is and isn’t included at each price point.
Delegate what you don’t like so that you can focus on what not only provides satisfaction, but also is apt to be where your talents can earn the best return. For example, you need to be aware of your income and expenses, but your time may better be spent analyzing the numbers than inputting them into an accounting system.
Be agile but not spastic in how you seek out customers or develop new products or services. Chasing that bright, new shiny object may not be where your skills or talents lie or, even worse, where there is actually a viable market.
Balance big and small income to provide a greater degree of security. Going after just the big jobs or clients can create a feast-or-famine cycle. On the other hand, small accounts may bring in faster, easier income, but too many can work you to death or leave you without the time and energy to seek out larger opportunities.
Don’t skimp on tools! Certain programs or apps may be expensive, but well worth the extra cost. Yes, there may be a less expensive alternative, but do you have the time to undertake learning an all-new system?
As to getting more clients, Catherine reminded attendees of that simple, yet often overlooked rule: answer your phone. Similarly she recommended focusing more on people connections than marketing as well as the importance of under-promising and over-delivering.
In wrapping up her presentation, she delved into the need for every entrepreneur to take the steps needed to protect their mental health and their physical well-being. She recommends setting a daily schedule and making sure that you take the time to enjoy family and friends.
Most importantly of all, from her perspective, find where your passion lies and do what you love.
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