If you’re like most entrepreneurs, your first year in business is all about discovery.
When I started my business I was trying hard to figure out what tasks and services and roles I would play for my clients.
Having a background in broadcasting, sales, promotions, voiceovers, web development, social media management, print media, and event planning (whew!) – the skill set was definitely there. But… how to package and position myself wasn’t so clear.
In my first year, I was doing business under a name called “Fresh Take Marketing Solutions”, focusing primarily on the marketing of businesses to clients that I’d previously worked with in some capacity.
And, you know, it worked out okay for a while.
Right up until the moment, I realized I didn’t exactly want to fill my days writing social media posts and business blogs for the rest of my life. I was explaining and establishing a lot of operational systems and structures to my clients about their businesses.
The light bulb was slowly turning on – and “Fresh Take Business Solutions” lit up my life… or my business, for the next (wait for it) two months.
Until the day I received the most valuable feedback for my business: people didn’t really know my business names or package offerings, but rather remembered me and my work. Which was when the light bulb grew brighter and I rebranded to lysagreer.com and set on a quest to establish my newly defined brand and niche.
Production was (and still is) at the core of everything, but unless you know it and do it, how do you communicate that to your clients, prospective clients, and educate them in a way that makes them your ideal client?!
At this point, this niche’ing definitely seemed impossible.
I set out to fix this and created a blanket service – where I allowed people to buy any number of implementation hours they felt necessary to accomplish their goals. It wasn’t my niche, but it worked for nearly every one of my clients.
The newest problem? I’d literally work on whatever it was we deemed important at the time. (Yes, you read that right… “whatever”.)
I was slowly becoming the kitchen sink solopreneur – instead of assigning specific tasks to like writing copy to a copywriter or creating graphics to a graphic designer – these leftover tasks that needed to be completed, fell into the kitchen sink of my niche and weighed me down.
As a digital producer, I’m used to being the person who jumps in where I’m needed and can pretty do much do most things – so it worked out great for the client, but it left me feeling devalued and deprived.
I started resenting the work and the role I was being placed in within my clients’ businesses, more than ever before.
I began feeling depressed and stopped enjoying my work at all. It became more and more difficult to feel like I was on the right path in my business, let alone in my career.
It’s a terrible feeling to push through your work because you feel like you have to – not because you want to. It’s a feeling nobody should have to experience.
Just as I was preparing myself for the inevitability of working for someone else, I realized the real problem…
I had placed myself in the role of task monkey, it was never my clients.
By taking on any client request, I was literally showing them, “Anything goes! Dump it on me and I’ll take care of it!”
I was positioning myself as a person of low value. Of course, I felt devalued and deprived!Feeling deprived & of no value in your business? Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Click To Tweet
It wasn’t my business name, my package descriptions or pricing. It wasn’t what I offered, what I didn’t, or my work schedule.
It was me. I’d blocked myself from doing work I loved, for clients I enjoyed working with, on projects that were challenging and respectful of my skills.
I had to step aside. I had to step up. It was time to step out of my own way.
We know, but often forget that how you condition your clients to see you is exactly how they’ll see you. And even more important, how they’ll treat you.
But, what all solopreneurs seem to forget? How you present yourself to your clients, how you run your business, and what you allow to hold you up – is truly what holds you back.
It’s not the name of your business, the packages you offer or even your rates. It’s you.