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I don’t know about you, but I love getting advice from entrepreneurs who have been in business longer than me. Whether they’re sharing what to do…or what not to do, I squirrel away that information for when I need it.
I’ve been running my own content marketing agency for 13 years, so I might have a thing or two I can share with you! I hope that at least one of these tidbits of advice will help you on your own entrepreneurial journey.
Stop trying to be all things to all people
This was a hard lesson for me. In the early days of running Egg Marketing, I’d get approached by someone looking for help with an annual report, a resume, or something else I’d never written or edited. I was hungry, so I usually said yes.
And more often than not, the work turned out great. But there were two problems with taking on work that wasn’t my core focus: I had to invest the time to understand how to do this particular task, and it was taking me away from building a portfolio around a single speciality.
Over time, I started saying no to projects that didn’t feed that focus, and as a result, I built a really wonderful portfolio of blog content for B2B clients and software companies!
Having a focus will help you attract more of the business you really enjoy doing.
Hire for what you’re not good at (or what you don’t have time to do)
One of the things that brings me great joy is when I’m speaking with a potential client and I hear an audible sigh of relief when they realize they don’t have to worry so much about content anymore. I relieve them of that burden.
At the same time, I have my own burdens in this business that I’ve had to learn to hand to someone else. Take filing my taxes as an example. I don’t mind managing my accounting, but I really. Don’t. Want. To. File. My. Taxes!!! So a few years ago, I invested in a CPA who manages my taxes and frees me up to focus on other aspects of running my business.
What do you dread doing? Realize that you might be doing more harm than good in trying to do everything yourself in your business. Hiring a professional, while an added expense, can take that task off your plate and benefit your brand. If, for example, you’re not an expert at graphic design, why not let the pros make you look good?
Take time off
I’ve never understood people who work 70 hours a week, including weekends. I value my time off, and it helps me recharge to tackle the day tomorrow. The work will wait. If you prioritize your time, you’ll get what you need done… or it’ll still be there tomorrow.
If you genuinely have 70 hours of work to do, congrats! It’s time to hire help!
I’m a fan of taking several week vacations. I plan ahead and get my work done in advance. I let my clients know. No one has ever fired me for taking time off, and I think it’s important to realize that the world won’t fall apart if you go on vacation.
Can’t take that much time off? Start with a three-day weekend.
Relationships are the most important thing
If you call me to discuss marketing, you’ll soon realize that I’m not going to try to sell you on the biggest marketing package I offer. I listen to what you tell me and find a solution that fits your needs and your budget.
I pride myself on being personable. I’m friends with some of my clients on Facebook, and we chat about kids, travel and life in our emails. It’s not a deliberate tactic, but I’ve had professional relationships with these clients for over 10 years.
Be human. Be relatable. Realize that, even if you’re selling B2B (especially if you are), there’s a human at the other end of that email or phone line. Set aside the work talk when you get started and just ask how the other person is doing, and mean it. Remember things about them to work into your conversations.
It’s that humanization that really connects people in business, so remember that.
You have to get yourself out there
I’ve done my fair share of networking over the past 13 years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that networking and marketing look different for everyone. I’m an active member of my neighborhood business association, though I rarely have gotten business from it. I just love my community and want to stay tapped in.
For me, my best marketing is through my guest blogging. I share advice and people often reach out to see if I can help them with content.
For you, your best strategy might be volunteering at a charity event. Serving on the board of an industry group. Attending conferences. Showing up at the coffee shop when other entrepreneurs are around. Find what fits and what feels natural to you.
That’s all the advice I have for now! Over time, I’m sure I’ll have more tidbits for you.