Be Like Gucci Flip Flops
Lessons After One Year of Being Self-Employed.
In May 2019, I started a consulting business which helps companies and nonprofits build strategic partnerships, recruit diverse talent, and solve leadership challenges within their teams. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned since I’ve started working for myself.
This Life Chooses You: I’m not one of those people that think entrepreneurs are born. I don’t think that’s useful or smart to say. I do believe that there are many people that should not run their own businesses. Mostly because the commitment is taxing and the discomfort is awful. You’ll only know for sure if you ever go for it.
Relentless Follow up: Your business development cycle could have a long window. The only way to ensure you build is to commit to follow up. Most people send 3 emails and stop if they don’t get a response. I reach out to people until I hear “no”. I know the difference between an objection and no. I also know the difference between follow up and desperation for work. I have a book recommendation on this that’s helpful . Email me if you’re interested at email@example.com.
There is no spoon: You might remember that line from The Matrix. Here I use it as a metaphor for confronting what seems like immovable obstacles. You are going to have them. You’re going to be rejected, at times unprepared, lonely, and you will experience elevated levels of uncertainty. There is a path, even in a pandemic. Ending doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it means you had a failed attempt. I ended my campaign for D5 Supervisor and lost nearly all of my clients at the start of the pandemic. I don’t have family money or a fortune saved. It took some time, but I rebuilt my business. My quick advice is focus on ways to create value, a path will emerge.
Price is imaginary: Why does Gucci charge so much for their flip flops? Yes, that’s a reference to the rapper Future #BARS. Setting the price is not based on what you think it is. Your client is paying for a problem to be solved or an opportunity to be created. Your fee is a reflection of how important that problem is to the organization. Do they have an Old Navy windbreaker problem or a Gucci flip flop problem? What value does your service present to the client? Yes, we’re in a pandemic and that has created the perception of leverage in negotiations. But last I checked Gucci isn’t having an everything-must-go sale. Think about it.
Don’t get comfortable: You have to constantly focus on developing new business, growing your network, and expanding your funnel. You have to constantly think about creating value and improving your skills. You have to hunt, beloved. You’re going to reach a point where business will come to you. But continue to press on the gas.
Book Recommendations: I have several books I’ve read, skimmed, or listened to via audio and continue to go back to throughout my experience running my own business. Email me if you’d like to talk about a few of them. There are people I follow to stay motivated. They are my mentors and we’ve never met. Frankly, I don’t think we need to, but I appreciate the inspiration. I do want to have Master P on my podcast though. If you know him, tell him I said thank you for The No Limit Story.