Fellow business owners, business start-ups & entrepreneurs,
I salute you.
Like, Hunger Games style, I salute you. You deserve a vast crowd, kissing their fingers and holding them up to you in a gesture that condones your damn hard work, persistence and ambition.
I feel your pain.
My business has been going officially for around 6 months now, unofficially for about a year, long before I graduated. There I was, stressed about my dissertation and obsessed about not being able to get a First (which I did, by the way – not showing off... Only joking, totally showing off!). I was stressed about grades and deadlines and early mornings and late nights…
How oblivious I was.
You, my beautiful fellow business people, or you even more lovely people just nurturing the idea to start, will understand what I mean when I say I now laugh, yes, LAUGH, at the worries my past self had to deal with.
I never thought it’d be easy. If it was easy everyone would become their own bosses, am I right?! But never on God’s green earth, would I ever, ever have thought it’d be this difficult.
And I’m not saying I’m not confident in my business, I am. Ask anyone. I think myself and my business partner make damn good videos and I’m pretty sure we’re awesome people to work with as well, just to add the cherry onto the metaphorical cake, if I may say so myself! :)
It’s the selling part I’m not good at. I’m pretty sure you’ll understand what I mean when I say this, especially with the creative businesses – I feel like my work should do the selling, while I sit in the background, leaning back in a chair, stroking a fluffy white cat, all smug and broody and having to hire someone to answer the phones because just pretty much everyone wants a video from me because I’m just so bloody great at them.
Ahem, that’s definitely not the case.
Business isn’t about just being good at what you do. It’s, at the start at least, being good at SELLING what you do.
My business partner’s dad owns a very successful business. Seriously, we go out, it’s like a film - he’s constantly on the phone, often arguing in the background of generic dinner scenes with his clients or contacts about business. He’s just that wanted. But he didn’t get there by sitting on his backside and waiting for people to figure out just how good he is at what he does. No. He went out, and MADE people aware of him and his business’s presence, and MADE them want him.
That’s the part I struggle with.
So, after much gentle persuasion (and some much harder persuasion), I was talked into attending a 6.45AM business breakfast meeting last week. What happens at these breakfast meetings, you ask? Well, friend, I’ll tell you. You go in, you network, you network some more, you eat breakfast (or just drink a hell of a lot of coffee, if you’re me), and then the fun begins…
You’re asked to stand up, introduce your business, speak about work you’ve done in the past and then finally talk about work you wish to do in the future. You ask for referrals; so, if any of the business people in the room have any connections with the referral you’re asking for, they’ll help you out.
Little old me didn’t know any of this structure. So, I rock up at 6.45 on a Friday morning, prepared only with a load of business cards and my elevator pitch. I get chatting to a long-attending business breakfast person at the beginning, and he says ‘so who are you asking for during your referral?’
‘I’m sorry, what?’