My first introduction to Digital Marketing was back in 2006 with an internship I found through the Tuck Business School Bridge Program. This 1 month, highly selective, program gave students from liberal education backgrounds an extensive introduction from Tuck Business School professors into business courses. As a part of the course, we were assigned to teams that helped local businesses overcome their own obstacles. Our focus was on the branding and marketing for a digital mapping company in the area. As I am originally from the area, I continued working with the company a few hours a week trying to figure out how exactly this whole Google thing worked. We used data as a way to justify or disprove hypothesis we had regarding changes to the website and their effects on the organic ranking of the website.
Though during the starts of the recession I was a financial advisor, I quickly came back to marketing and the notion of using data to make educated business decisions. After a year of working for another business, I launched Boundless Marketing in 2011 and merged with Your Marketing Voice to form The BIMS Team in 2013. I wanted to share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned from owning a small marketing agency.
Lessons Learned from Owning a Small Business:
- If you can work from home, great! This take discipline, but can be extremely rewarding. We invested in office space one summer, but have decided working from home is our jam. It allows us to keep our overhead low and the flexibility to work hours that fit the best with our schedules.
- Join a networking group! I’m a huge supporter of local networking groups, but as an introvert, I’ve decided only to attend groups with consistency and that follow a set meeting structure. I’m currently the President of a local BNI chapter while Amber helps to run 2 networking groups down in FL. Because we aren’t working from offices, this not only creates new business opportunities, but also gives us the space to create relationships with other business owners in the area. Even if you are just starting out, I highly recommend attending a local networking group. If nothing else, it forces you to refine your messaging.
- Find contractors! We outsource a lot of our tasks. If you haven’t already, take a look at The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (affiliate link). Even following just a few of his recommendations can safe you time and effort. Some of our contractors are friends and family who just want to make a couple hundred dollars extra each month, while others live abroad. We’ve worked with one writer from the Philippines for the past 3+ years. Part of me thinks our business would shutter to a halt if we lost her!
- Work with clients you love. You are always going to have some clients who are absolutely draining. We use conversations and phone calls at the start of our relationships with prospects to try and weed out these individuals. It can just ruin your day/week/month when the client undoubtedly is difficult to work with, forcing you to bend over backwards. As a small business, you just don’t have the time or resources to deal with people like this.
Above all, love your life as a business owner! If set up properly, it can give you the freedom and flexibility you need to live the life of your dreams!