Working for yourself does allow some perks. Non-location-specific working. So this morning, I headed out to one of my favourite haunts in Bridport, Dorset and made myself comfortable at The Bull Hotel – with their great coffee, smooth tunes, and roaring fire. It’s April, and it’s freezing.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.
This wasn’t a purely social outing – it was a business meeting with local well-known photographer Faye Neal (check out her Facebook Page here). With both of us heavily involved in the annual Buckham Fair event that takes place in Beaminster every year, it was time to get together to talk about all things Marketing – and how we can raise the profile of the event even more.
It didn’t take long and we were blasting through ideas and jotting down lists of things to do / setup / create / talk about.
But what struck me, is that once again – I was sitting across from a professional who had decided to take the leap, and do her own thing. And as we shared ideas and tips together (her with photography tips for me, and me with social media tips for her), I realised that so many of us sit with a very similar thought, at some point in our lives. The thought that we’d like to one day do our own thing. But very few of us take that step. We like the security. We like the routine. We like the safety.
I’m still new in my game – but so far, I can only say that, albeit sometimes hellishly scary, it’s just pretty damn exciting.
Don’t get me wrong – I find myself working twice as hard as I ever did before – establishing my own routine, giving all my clients and commitments the time I’ve promised, thinking ahead to the next avenue of business when this project comes to an end, not getting drawn into those moments when business isn’t forthcoming. But, just like Faye, I knew I had a talent somewhere. And forming that into a business that people would actually want to pay for was the key. Once I’d done that – I was on my way. I still am. I am not 100% there yet – but I’m moving. And that’s all that counts right now.
I’m so incredibly thankful.
Perhaps working for myself wasn’t as hard as I thought?
I have this incredible client. She’s just recently decided to take the brave step of taking her innate skill and turn that into a full-time business. And for all of us who have been there, and done that – let’s just take a moment. Sit back, smile and think of your own experience – that very moment when you decided to stop your main lifeline and switch currents towards your own creation – from scratch. The fear, excitement, panic that you felt. Those midnight slogs to finish just 1 thing that you have to get done (because you don’t have a team of people that get it done for you anymore…). That fleeting moment when someone asks what you do, and you tell them that you work for yourself, and they nod, almost sympathetically. Those times that someone calls you up to hang out – because they have the day off, and surely you’re not THAT busy because you’re your own boss now, and can determine when to have coffee… right? But I digress.
So, let’s call her Jemima. Jemima has just decided to start her own business and has asked me for some help getting her business brand broadcastable. So I’ve helped her with her website, and some ideas on social media. I’ve done a few design-based things for her, and just a few general bits and bobs to arm her with whatever she needs to make her business awesome.
Jemima’s teaching me such a great lesson. And I don’t think she will ever quite understand how important this little lesson has been. You see, Jemima knows exactly what she wants, and what she doesn’t want. So as I’ve been creating, and writing, Jemima, as is customary, reviews each stage of development, as requested by myself, to ensure that I’m tracking along with her vision, her tone, her output. But this is where the story becomes the lesson.
Jemima has dutifully been sending back her edits and change requests to me – make a tweak here, change this there, remove this – love that. You know the sort. But what struck me is how apologetic she has been towards amending that which I have essentially created in words. But what she doesn’t realise is that her input is GOLD. You see, Marketers spend a lot of time figuring things out, testing things, playing with things – but we are not magicians. We are not miracle-workers (although, we do sometimes achieve some pretty awesome things!). We are not islands – and what Jemima doesn’t realise is that her input – regardless of how it comes across, or how offensive she thinks it may be to the creator (ie: ME), what she is doing is getting involved. She is involved in her brand. Her story. Her tone. Her message. The only one who can absolutely effectively broadcast the tone of the business that SHE has created, is HER. And with her being involved – together, we shape a pretty amazing brand.
There’s a line, I guess, that I hear old Marketing stalwarts whisper in my ears, of where the customer turns from being the involved, into the creation-damper. But THAT is where the essence of a good Marketeer determines how you handle that.
Thank you, Jemima, for being involved.