Tag: entrepreneur


Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You (Re-post)

As a career coach, I’m always responding to career-related questions with various tips and career advice. I recently received a question asking,

“What are a few unique pieces of career advice nobody ever mentions?”

This is a good one because there are a lot of possible answers to it, but I chose two answers to reflect what most of my clients don’t know when they first come to me.


Career Advice Tip #1:

If you work for someone else, you still need to think like an entrepreneur.

Why? Because no one’s job is secure.

You have to view your employer as your client. And if your “client” decides not to continue working with you, you have to be in a good position to quickly land your next client.

You do this by becoming a good salesperson of your skills.


Career Advice Tip #2:

If you work for yourself, then you need to think of each meeting with potential clients or potential investors as a job interview.

For instance, I have several consultations with potential clients each week. Therefore, I’m going on job interviews EVERY SINGLE WEEK of the year!

I know I have to clearly express the benefits of my skills as a career coach.


Determine Fit

In either scenario, you not only need to sell your skills.

You also need to treat the situation as a two-way street. You need to find out if your next job or your next client is going to be a good fit for you.

This is why I always suggest job seekers ask their own questions during a job interview.

These questions should be ones to help them determine if the company (i.e. “the client”) is who they really want to spend 40+ hours a week with for the next several years.

**Check out The One Surprising Tip That Guarantees a Good Interview for sample questions to ask when being interviewed.***


Be Selective

For me personally as a business owner, I’m selective in who I take on as clients.

Therefore, not only do I present the benefits of my services and make sure they’re a good fit for the potential client’s goals, but I also ask questions to find out if they’re the type of client I’ll want to work with.

I start with questions in my intake form and ask additional questions during the initial consultation.

I’m looking to see how serious the person is about my coaching program.

I’m also looking for someone with a teachable spirit, an open-mind, respect for others, courtesy, and professionalism.

Someone who doesn’t possess these qualities is not a good fit for me or my company’s mission or programs.


You need to be selective too.

If you’re a job seeker with multiple job offers, be selective.

If you’re an entrepreneur with multiple potential clients, be selective (even when you feel like can’t afford to be!).

Here’s how.

Before walking into an interview or a meeting, take some time to do an inventory of:

  1. your skills and strengths,
  2. how you uniquely demonstrate those skills and strengths,
  3. the benefits of your skills and strengths,
  4. your needs and wants,
  5. your deal-breakers,
  6. and the questions to determine any potential deal-breakers or to determine if the other party can meet at least 60% of your needs and wants (because you’ll rarely find a case that meets 100% of them! — BE REALISTIC!).

Choose only those opportunities that are at least 60% compatible with your inventory.

Keep in mind also numbers 1–3 will give you leverage to ask for numbers 4–5.

Following this advice will help you develop good habits and preparedness for those times when you find yourself at a career crossroads.

career advice

10 Lessons I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Freelancing

Last week I posted an announcement about the celebration of paNASH’s 10-year anniversary. In it I told how I started my freelance business, the fears I faced in leaving a secure job to go out on my own, and how my business’s mission has evolved.

Today, I want to share some of the freelance lessons I’ve learned over those ten years in working for myself. I hope they will serve as an encouragement to those who are thinking about starting their own thing, are new to the freelancing world, or have been in it long enough to have faced some common struggles.

Freelance Lesson #1

I had to be disciplined. Being your own boss requires A LOT of discipline. Why? Because there’s no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re showing up on time or getting your work done. Discipline has always come naturally to me, and I was raised by a former Marine Corps officer who further instilled this trait in me. This is not to say that discipline can’t be learned later in life. But the discipline required to work for yourself will make things easier if you’ve already mastered it through other methods such as playing a sport, sticking with a commitment, etc.

Freelance Lesson #2

I had to use my love for life-long learning. I’ve always loved learning new things. And I realized the need for constant learning when starting a business because “a skill does not a business make” according to my friend and colleague Melody Bowers, co-owner of VirtualCollective.

You need to either already have some business sense, or be disciplined enough (see lesson #1) and have the ability to learn it as you go while managing your other responsibilities. If there’s something you can’t learn, there’s always someone else who has the knowledge you can pay to either teach you or to do it for you.

Freelance Lesson #3

I learned it was normal to question my decision almost every single day. I also realized it was normal to feel like giving up on a regular basis when things got hard. But, once I began working in a way that was true and authentic to my own personal mission in life, those doubts and insecurities started to diminish. I became okay with the discomfort of a process that isn’t linear. Instead, it looks more like this:

freelance lessons

Entrepreneur Darius Foroux further explains the figure above in his encouraging article Don’t Quit When It Gets Hard. I love it when he says, “If you never feel like quitting, that means life is too easy and you need to take action in your life.”

Freelance Lesson #4

I learned I had the ability to figure out the logistics. It turns out the things that seem intimidating at first (i.e. getting a business license, paying for your own health insurance, tracking your income & expenses/P&L, etc.) aren’t really all that scary. In fact, a lot of this not-so-fun part of having your own business is easier than you think.

And Freelancers Union has made a lot of it very simple. They provide tips and resources on the logistics of running your own freelance operation and even provide access to affordable insurance.

Freelance Lesson #5

I learned what I’m worth. The toughest thing for me was figuring out my pricing. At first it was hard to know how much to charge. And even when I thought I knew, I then had to figure out which pricing model worked best. An hourly rate? A day rate? A package or retainer rate?

Like most people first starting out, in the beginning I was devaluing my skills and expertise. But, after I started getting clients and began listening to their feedback on the services they received, I started to better understand my worth.

Yes, it helps to look at your competition and the average rate others charge for the same service or product to get an idea of what you should charge. But, what helped me most was asking current and past clients if they would’ve paid more based on the value they’d already received. To my surprise, most of them said yes, and even some told me flat out I was undercharging.

Now, most people (both potential and current clients) say my pricing is reasonable and fair. It took some tweaking and trial and error, but now my pricing structure is in harmony with the service I’m providing.

Freelance Lesson #6

I learned when to say no. This included being selective of potential clients, turning down certain speaking gigs/presentation requests, not wasting my time with potential contacts who only wanted to talk about themselves but never wanted to listen or make the relationship mutually beneficial, discontinuing professional relationships when trust had been broken, etc.

This is difficult to do when first starting out. Especially when it comes to turning away money. But, I can tell you the times I listened to my gut and turned away the opportunities that weren’t the right fit for my business, I was always glad I did. The times I didn’t listen to my gut, I always regretted it.

Freelance Lesson #7

I learned not to compare myself with others. My pastor’s wife always says, “Comparing yourself to others makes you either small or smug, and neither of those are good.” I realized because I do what I do in my own unique way, comparing myself to my competition is a waste of time because it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

The same is true for you because you also have your own unique way of delivering your service or product that no one else can duplicate. Instead of comparing, focus on what makes you and your brand solely yours. This is what becomes your selling point!

Freelance Lesson #8

I learned (and am still learning) when it’s time to shift gears. When learning to drive a stick, you start to develop a feel for when it’s time to shift gears. This doesn’t mean you won’t grind your gears on occasion.

The same is true in running a business or working as a freelancer. You’ll start to learn when to give something a little more time to grow before uprooting it. When to pull the plug on what’s not working. And when to simplify if you’re trying to do too much or be too many things.

This type of self-awareness can mean the difference between success and failure.

Freelance Lesson #9

I realized the real risk. At first I thought the obvious risk of starting my own thing was leaving the security of a full-time job with benefits. I was wrong! Since leaving my job at a prestigious university where there were constant hiring freezes and multiple firings, I’ve had more job security than ever before.

I’ve been able to develop the grit and skills required to work for myself and bring in a steady stream of clients, to supplement my income at times when the stream was unsteady, and to eliminate the salary cap I had at my previous job.

The only real risk I faced was potentially losing any or all desire to work for someone else again. Let’s face it. It’s pretty hard to go back to working for someone else after having worked for yourself. But if I ever had to again, I’d be very selective in who I worked for (see Lesson #6).

Freelance Lesson #10

I learned fear is inevitable. Fear is not a reason to not venture out on your own if it’s what you truly desire. Instead, it’s often an excuse. Everyone who’s ever done this has had some level of fear.

Do your research. Prepare (but don’t wait until you feel fully prepared because that will never happen!). Then push through the fear.

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Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You

As a career coach, I’m always responding to career-related questions. I recently received a question on Quora asking, “What are a few unique pieces of career advice that nobody ever mentions?” This is a good one because there are a lot of possible answers to it, but I chose two answers that reflect what most of my clients don’t know when they first come to me.

Number 1:

If you work for someone else, you still need to think like an entrepreneur. Why? Because no one’s job is secure. You have to view your employer as your client. And if your “client” decides not to continue working with you, you have to be in a good position to quickly land your next client. You do this by becoming a good salesperson of your skills.

Number 2:

If you work for yourself, then you need to think of each meeting with potential clients or potential investors as a job interview. For instance, I have several consultations with potential clients each week. Therefore, I’m going on job interviews EVERY SINGLE WEEK of the year! I know I have to clearly express the benefits of my skills as a career coach.

Determine Fit

In either scenario, you not only need to sell your skills. You also need to treat the situation as a two-way street. You need to find out if your next job or your next client is going to be a good fit for you.

This is why I always suggest job seekers ask their own questions during a job interview. These questions should be ones to help them determine if the company (i.e. “the client”) is who they really want to spend 40+ hours a week with for the next several years.

***Check out A Proven Interview Hack for sample questions to ask when being interviewed.***

Be Selective

For me personally as a business owner, I’m selective in who I take on as clients. Therefore, not only do I present the benefits of my services and make sure they’re a good fit for the potential client’s goals, but I also ask questions to find out if they’re the type of client I’ll want to work with.

I start with questions in my intake form and ask additional questions during the initial consultation. I’m looking to see how serious the person is about my coaching program. I’m also looking for someone with a teachable spirit, an open-mind, respect for others, courtesy, and professionalism. Someone who doesn’t possess these qualities is not a good fit for me or my company’s mission or programs.

You need to be selective too. If you’re a job seeker with multiple job offers, be selective. If you’re an entrepreneur with multiple potential clients, be selective (even when you feel like can’t afford to be!). Here’s how.

Before walking into an interview or a meeting, take some time to do an inventory of:

  1. your skills and strengths,
  2. how you uniquely demonstrate those skills and strengths,
  3. the benefits of your skills and strengths,
  4. your needs and wants,
  5. your deal-breakers,
  6. and the questions to determine any potential deal-breakers or to determine if the other party can meet at least 60% of your needs and wants (because you’ll rarely find a case that meets 100% of them! – BE REALISTIC!).

Choose only those opportunities that are at least 60% compatible with your inventory. Keep in mind too that numbers 1-3 will give you leverage to ask for numbers 4-5.

Following this advice will help you develop good habits and preparedness for those times when you find yourself at a career crossroads.

How to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)

I came across this YouTube video and thought it was the perfect follow-up to last week’s paNASH blog post How to Avoid Technological Unemployment. What James Altucher says in 3 minutes is so true:

As he says, of the 15 million new jobs created between 2009 and 2017, 94% were freelance jobs. You yourself may not be a freelancer or entrepreneur now. But by the year 2020, 40% of the workforce will be independent workers, according to a study conducted by Freelancers Union.

Will you know how to create your own job and be your own boss if future reality requires it? Will you welcome the opportunity as a way to finally pursue your passion?

Why You Need the Skills of an Entrepreneur (even if you’re not one)

Even if you never become an entrepreneur, you’ll still need to think like one to gain future employment. With more companies downsizing, competition will get fiercer. It’s already true you need to be a salesman of your skills. And employers are already hiring for the skills listed in the video above.

The 8 Skills Everyone Needs to Make a Living

Let’s look at each of those skills and how paNASH’s new on-demand coaching programs help you develop them:

  1. Salesmanship. In Steps to Acing the Interview and The 3 Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers, you’ll learn how to sell your skills and abilities in an authentic way that matters most to employers and potential clients.
  2. Likeability. In The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively, you’ll learn how to make networking a more pleasant experience. Especially if you’re an introvert. It’ll teach you how to network more comfortably and naturally, in return making you more likeable.
  3. Negotiation. In Make More Money Without Taking a Second Job, you’ll learn how to negotiate a larger salary, a pay raise, or a promotion.
  4. Public Speaking. In Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic, you’ll learn how to find your authentic voice and develop your message for your audience. Your audience could include employers and hiring recruiters, potential clients, and more.
  5. Communication. Also in Personal Branding, you’ll learn how to clearly communicate your “WHY” and your “HOW” of what you do.
  6. Writing. In Resumes That Get You the Interview, you’ll learn how to write a clear, concise and effective resume that will be seen and be given full consideration.
  7. Creativity. The on-demand programs like 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Life and Work encourage you and provide you a safe place to explore your passions and creativity.
  8. How to come up with and how to execute ideas. The Don’t Just Set Goals, ACHIEVE Them! program teaches you how to set, execute, and achieve your goals and ideas.

If you learn these skills now, you’ll be able to pursue your passions and make your own money with your own resources. Or you’ll be able to market yourself to a job working for someone else doing something you love.

Invest in Yourself

One way to begin is to invest in yourself. Take the money you’d spend on some new clothes or the latest tech gadget and put it toward some classes. This could include some continuing ed classes or online classes.

It could also include the new on-demand programs offered by paNASH. These programs are easily accessible, affordable (some are even free!), and allow you to work at your own pace. They’re designed to teach you how to market your new skills to a new employer or as a lifestyle entrepreneur to potential clients. What are you waiting for?