A couple of weeks ago, about the time I launched this website, I achieved another milestone — running my own business for 10 years. OK, I am a one-person shop, so some of you might think that makes it easier. But I just looked at two articles on business failure rates, and one said that 8 of 10 start-ups tank within 18 months, and the other estimated the failure rate at 50 to 70 percent. If I’m still going strong, I must be doing something right.
One essential component of doing things right is recognizing the need to change when things don’t go well.
That’s why it is essential for all of us, and especially the self-employed, to refresh and reinvent.
Case in point: this website. For years, I relied on word of mouth to secure new clients. But I have learned that I can no longer rely on a single channel. So I’ve created the website to refresh my approach to marketing.
When I ventured into self-employment, after leaving a big newspaper chain and a smaller advertising/public relations agency, I met a wise entrepreneur who gave me some valuable advice. Find yourself 10 clients and get each of them to pay you about one-tenth of what you’re earning now. If you can do that, he said, you’ll do alright.
Working for yourself is a lot like riding a roller-coaster. Some years I had more than 10 clients, some years less. Some years income topped expectations, some years it didn’t. Sometimes you thrive, sometimes you survive.
When you’re not thriving, or when the old ways aren’t working or aren’t as exciting, it’s time to reinvent.
My mentor showed me that too, as he transitioned from corporate headhunting to running special events. Last week, he gave me a call and asked to become one of my clients, handling publicity for his film festival, ice cream festival and arts festival.
It should be a lot of fun — a perfect way to refresh and reinvent. And maybe I’ll see you in April at WilmFilm2014.