Happy Birthday Hey Angela!
Not trying to promote my business at all.
I just wanted to take a look back at my first year as an entrepreneur and offer some thoughts. Thought I might also be able to get some insight from other entrepreneurs or service-based business owners.
First, the back story: I previously was an executive assistant for a few companies over the last 15 or so years. Then a year ago I got up and went to work at my corporate office and life changed, I was laid off because my bosses were fired and the guy replacing them had an admin and didn’t need me. I thought OK I can do some freelance for a while as a virtual assistant.
I landed a few clients and got busy.
Feels good. Obviously, still a lot of room for growth. But I feel great about the progress that I have made so far, and it feels like I am on the right path.
I’m not a sales person. So, I did what I know. I started sharing my personal brand on various sites. In total, I have had 15 inbound inquiries throughout this first year.
Of those, most were not a fit. I turned away most of them after having initial conversations.
Two I have signed long term contracts with.
Some things I have learned and keys to what I am considering a success so far.
- I want to build a network of full-time professional entrepreneurs to work with on long-term projects. This helps the entrepreneurs by delivering consistent work at a guaranteed rate.
- I have experimented and done some project work and one-off content campaigns. In most cases, though, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. I actually end up losing money a lot of times because the initial startup phase with any new client is time consuming.
- Retainers are king, in my opinion.
- There are virtual assistants cheaper than me, but I focus on generating real results for my clients. It has been my experience you get what you pay for.
- All of my clients pay a flat monthly fee for a pre-defined scope of work. I’ve scoped/priced different types of content and built it into a package based on their specific needs/goals/strategy.
- The biggest risk for any service-based business (in my opinion) is having horrible clients. This could be clients that just don’t pay, clients that put you through a gauntlet of reviews/revisions, or clients that just don’t have the same strategic vision for what you’re trying to accomplish together.
- These relationships suck for everyone. They kill morale, cause tons of stress, and usually waste enormous amounts of time/money.
- So, it’s super important to try to identify these red flags as soon as possible in any client engagement and then end the relationship as soon as it becomes apparent that things are not going well.
Obviously, this will never be a billion-dollar company. But I’ve had great results for my clients.
It’s been exciting and fun. Honestly, the best year of my life.
So, I’ll leave it there.
Would love to hear from other people. Ideas, thoughts, questions.