Lessons from my two-year self-employed anniversary

Author: Claudine Weeks   |   Date: 29th October 2018

I still can't quite believe that I will have been running my own copywriting business for two years next week - the time has flown by! So I thought I'd share some of the highlights and lessons learned from being self-employed over the past 24 months.

Two years ago I started a tiny side hustle writing articles for one of these writing farms in the evenings and weekends, and I was earning the grand total of £50 a month from it, while working full-time at the same time. I just wanted to see if I could do it really and had no anticipation of becoming self-employed and running a full-time business.

Then my life changed when one of my tiny side hustle clients asked me to write for him full-time, from home as he was based in the USA. He offered to put me through several training courses online to get me up to speed with his business which was finance. I agreed, started the training and went full-time from home in April 2017.

After that I managed to attract several more clients and my business was officially born. Unfortunately my American client started to treat me more like an employee than a fellow business owner and was sending me emails on Sundays and asking me to do work outside of my writing remit, so I decided to cut my losses and end that relationship a year later.

It was a big decision and one of the big lessons learned – sometimes it’s okay to let a client go because it opens the doors for new business to come in. Particularly if the relationship has become challenging and perhaps less than fruitful.

Another issue which I dealt with early on was I signed up to lots of business groups and networks and tried to follow all of the advice given. I was told to create a Facebook group, that I needed an email list, that I needed to create resources for people to download to get their emails, that I should be running workshops, that I should be selling online courses – all of these things were apparently essential to businesses today.

I started trying to keep up with and run all of these elements but I just ended up completely stressed and spending way too much time trying to create all of these things, rather than actually focussing on clients who would bring money into my business. So I stopped, took a step back and stopped doing all of it. Yes, all of it.

I focussed on finding new clients and looking after existing clients. No email list, no courses, no Facebook groups, just quite clear and simple marketing processes and it worked. I brought in new clients, freed up my time to work for my clients and ended up far less stressed.

So that was a valuable lesson – build your business how you want to, and do what is right for you and your clients – I don’t need any of those gimmicks, I just need to provide high quality services for my clients. Simple. So I have continued building the business and worked with some incredibly interesting businesses over the two years.

Moving from mainly finance writing (yawn!!) to working with life coaches, nutritionists, luxury travel companies and childcare provicers has been an awesome experiences and every article I write for any client opens new learning processes for me.

It has been an amazing two years so far and I’m planning a new highly creative venture to be launched alongside this business for 2019 so the future is also looking incredibly bright!

As an entrepreneur the key lessons I have learned are:

  • If you get the chance to work for yourself – just do it
  • Never be afraid to let go of a client if the relationship isn’t working for you
  • Ignore all the hype around what you should be doing, and do what is right for your business
  • Don’t be afraid to branch out and add new elements to your business
  • Focus on looking after your existing clients
  • Focus on delivering good quality service
  • Know when to walk away

 

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