I’m often asked about my experience of setting up and running my own business. Now that I’ve been working as a marketing consultant for over 2 years, I thought it was high time I passed on some of the things I’ve learnt. If you have any thoughts on these, please leave a comment below.
Reputation is everything
Birch Marketing’s business has come from a variety of sources including contacts, recommendations, cold emails, networking and social media. I always ensure that I do the best for each of my clients, and as a marketing consultant I believe that this is paramount. Delivering against promises, bringing return on investment, and having a flexible approach are all key to my mind. It is great when I hear that my clients have recommended my services to other people, or when they provide testimonials and support case studies, as this all helps to bring new business.
People are great!
One of the best things about running Birch Marketing has been that people have been amazing! The support of friends and family was brilliant in my start-up period, when I wasn’t completely sure that I was doing the right thing, nor whether I was going to be able to gain enough business.
My clients have been lovely and appreciative, and we have built relationships based on mutual respect and trust. Being thanked for work carried out (a rare event in my corporate life!) and being invited to join them at events have been the icing on the cake.
My contacts have also been very helpful, recommending me to potential clients and helping me to open doors.
Variety and challenge are constant
I have always loved variety and new challenges, and my best employers realised this and made sure that new opportunities regularly appeared on my plate. In the last 2 years, I have been lucky enough to support a variety of businesses ranging from a retirement property start-up to a multi-million pound maintenance company. I find working with a number of clients at any one time hugely enjoyable and no two days are the same. This flexible approach also enables me to help a number of different businesses improve their marketing, communications and sales, which I find hugely rewarding.
Self-belief is vital
Feast and famine are very real for many small businesses and can be quite concerning. Self-belief is vital to keep motivated during quiet periods, and strategies are need to cope when the business gets very busy. I have found that using the quiet periods to focus on Birch Marketing, rather than just clients, is hugely beneficial, and re-energises me for the next period. When things get hectic, I now have trusted associates I call on for help.
There really is work-life balance!
There is a lot of talk about work-life balance in corporate life, but as I jumped on planes on Sunday afternoons or arrived home late on Friday evenings, I often wondered where it had gone. I have found that when you run a small business you can still be extremely busy, but you have choices. For me, there is nothing better than being able to take advantage of a sunny mid-week day to visit an interesting garden when it is quiet (hence the image), knowing I can make up the time when it suits me.
That’s my take on my first two years as a marketing consultant and overall it has been very very rewarding. What are your thoughts and experiences?