With 15 years of experience working in online and offline businesses as a self-employed and for companies, I see myself as adept at managing companies and able to provide consulting services. Now, I would like to share with you some lessons that I’ve learned during this journey.
Six tips to help you start your own business
I’ve worked with several managers in international institutions known to consider employees their greatest assets. Those managers challenged me and pulled me out of my safety and comfort zone at key moments.
Here are some of the lessons I learned during my experience.
1. Your reputation is everything
Despite the amazing academic education that I received as a economic analyst, not a day went by without thinking about my reputation, as I check every email for any spelling mistakes, and in every discussion with a client or strategic partner I asks myself: Will I be proud to see this or that job Discussion on the front page of a newspaper? Often I think of a quote by “Warren Buffett” that says, “If I lose money I will be understanding. If I lose my reputation I will be cruel.”
I’m not saying that you have to be perfect and error is human, just try to learn from your mistakes and never make the same mistake twice.
Lesson learned: Your reputation is all you have, so you better not make any mistake that puts it at risk.
2. Your network is your key to success
By attending conferences and round-tables I realized that I have a large and relatively wide network of relationships, and building and maintaining relationships was always a natural thing for me, and my network of clients and strategic partners was one of the most important assets in my work.
Lesson learned: You never know who will end up being a customer, competitor, or colleague someday, so be nice and professional with everyone at all times.
3. Invest in yourself
About 6 months after launching a company with a partner, we organized a dinner at a restaurant for 30 people in our business field, ranging from former co-workers to potential clients to investors.
I personally walked around the room and introduced myself, commenting on what I liked most about each guest, there was no other goal or intention, just friendly chat. People invited communicated well with each other, and this strengthened valuable professional partnerships for all of us.
Lesson learned: Spend a little money to have the opportunity to create personal relationships.
4. It’s a marathon, not a sprint
In my beginnings, I emphasized that I could not always plan for the coming months. When I launched my project, I set some productivity goals, but soon I realized that all of this takes time and effort. This does not happen overnight, but rather may happen unevenly throughout the year, in a year like 2020 being flexible and intelligent was crucial.
Lesson learned: Regardless of how busy or exhausted you might feel, take a minute to breathe and set priorities. If things are stable then that’s okay. Downtime provides an opportunity for reading, contemplation, strategizing and communicating.
5. Simple and accurate tracking tools are the best ally
You can use simple tools such as Microsoft Excel to more advanced ones, the essential is to keep track of your revenues and expenditures, and it is necessary to update them. I also relies on tasks management tools to keep everything organized.
Lesson learned: to be productive you have to be organized.
6. It is important to be able to say no
Just to make things clear, I like to help others and give people what they want, but that sometimes the desires or demands of others do not match what I think is best for them or what suits me.
And when you have these difficult conversations you try to be brief, direct and based on facts, and sometimes it takes more than an awkward discussion.
Lesson learned: Challenging or disagreeing with the client requires confidence, but it is essential to maintain “quality control” over work and time.
In conclusion, you have to be prepared for hard work, disappointment and the unknown, and willing to take great risks.
Work smart and organized and face difficulties with perseverance and you will never regret the time you spent in building skills and gaining confidence, because this will help you in launching and taking your business to the next level.