13 years online and self-employed: considerations and advice
It was November 1994 when I left the European Space Agency to start a new life – that was 13 years ago, I was 32 at the time and just back from the 2nd World Wide Web Conference held in Chicago. That’s so long ago; the website is no longer online (the event was hosted by the NCSA).
I was preparing for this anniversary, wanting to write a long post but then my father was hit by a heart attack and my plans had to change … nonetheless I am finally finding some time to celebrate this anniversary.
13 years in any business is a long time, on the internet it sounds like a geological era doesn’t it ?
From PC to PC I carry along records and documents of the different geological eras that have crossed the web. It’s so strange to read newsletters and web pages I saved only to make return to those flaming websites only to find … they do not exist anymore.
This post is dedicated to the young entrepreneurs venturing into the world of business for the first time
When I started my own business an uncontrollable enthusiasm and will to succeed were (and still are) my drivers.
It was a very hard time, twice as hard because my new business was in a completely new field: little did I know just how hard it was to build a new market place …
From one day to the next I was on my own without the security of a pay check, without any customers – it was me and my business plan and no Clients.
Here are some considerations I’d like to share with you and hope that others with more experience than me will add to this list:
- Make sure you’re really cut for self employment
If you feel unsatisfied, like you haven’t accomplished anything after a days work at the office, if you have a problem with bosses and the organization you work for (no matter how many times you change jobs) you might have the stuff of an entrepreneur
- Be passionate put all your heart and soul into it !
Do you look at your watch to see how long you have been working ? If so then forget going out on your own – it just won’t work. Out here there is no difference between work and off work. It’s a lifestyle that has nothing to do with the 8 to 5 outfit. Work is at the center of your attention and it must be for you to succeed. If you don’t feel like that about your job then stay put where you are.
- Concentrate on your core business
How many times have I been side tracked by passer-bys – don’t listen to them. It’s hard going in the very beginning and you’ll be distracted by opportunities that might not be what you are really interested in: resist temptation.
- Choose the right business partners
I wish I knew how to judge people way back then the way I can now ! You’ll see confident dudes promise you the moon and more, don’t believe them unless they can prove what they are saying and put their money where there mouth is.
- Do it one step at a time
Don’t be in a hurry – it takes time to build a business – a lot of time, and you can’t cut corners. (works the same way for websites and organic placement …)
- Business and self employment is a family matter – a way of life
If you’re in a relationship with someone they need to be informed – well informed – about your decision and all the implications. Self employment isn’t about the job it’s about your life and your lifestyle that will change along with friends and people you normally see.
- Plan for the worse
Think of a worst case scenario and keep in mind that if things go wrong they’ll probably go far worse than you had ever planned or expected – when it rains it pours …
- Be yourself
Business is about relationships between people – birds of a feather flock together: be yourself and make your stand when necessary. You can’t do business with everybody.
- Be Realistic
Don’t kid yourself, if something isn’t working take swift action to correct it – there’s no time to loose when your livelihood is involved
- No competition is a bad thing
If you find yourself entering a new market with little if no competition think twice: no competition means no marketplace.
- Be honest and upfront about your fees
There was one thign I had completely underestimated when I started my own business: How to ask people for money. I turned out to be so difficult in the beginning. People can be very cruel and selfish – they don’t care about you, they care only about themselves
- Be nice to people
In 13 years I have met a lot of people and left most of them saying nice things about me – take business personally, you won’t get rich with this attitude but you’ll gain the respect of those surrounding you – but it’s your call at the end of the day … remember what goes around comes around.
Happy anniversary to me.