12 months have gone by since I packed up my desk client-side, and turned my spare room into the Tom Holder Pay-Per-Click office.

 

My first year as a freelance digital marketing consultant has been a journey of lessons, here are 12 I’ve learnt from my first 12 months in business…

 

Lesson 1: Things Take Time

Accept that almost everything take time. Growth takes time, securing clients take time, building relationships, reporting, networking, social, blogging. As an individual, time is your most valuable asset, value it.

 

Lesson 2: Be Confident

Life as a business owner requires confidence. Despite my experience, I was short of confidence. With every new business meeting, testimonial, report and referral my confidence is growing and that resonates with prospective clients when talking about my services.

 

Lesson 3: Stay Educated

It’s easy for education and learning to go stagnant when you have so much on your plate. Set aside time each week to educate yourself, learn something new and keep in touch with industry news and innovation.

 

Lesson 4: Invest In Yourself

Leading on from lesson 3, investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Whether that’s through education, health or self-development.

 

Lesson 5: Learn To Say “No” More

At first you say yes to everything that arrives in your inbox, in the fear that you might struggle to attract work and clients. Not every opportunity presented is right. Learn to say no more.

 

Lesson 6: Set Goals

Set main goals and micro goals. Main goals take time and can feel distant, but micro goals keep you motivated as you hit them along the way.

 

Lesson 7: You’ll Never Clear Your To-Do List

There are always tasks to do, which is why you should never stress about your to-do list. Categorise your tasks into importance and urgency for a more productive approach to workload.

 

Lesson 8: Be Patient

Something I’ve always found difficult, not just in business. I want decisions and results yesterday. Be patient and don’t force things, as we’ve learnt in lesson one, things take time.

 

Lesson 9: Price Yourself Correctly

I didn’t. But I soon learnt that I needed to charge for my true value, my experience, my results and my service level. I put a more rigid pricing structure in place, with a minimum charge to avoid losses.

 

Lesson 10: Don’t Just Operate In Your Comfort Zone

As a freelance digital marketing consultant with no manager or boss forcing you out of your comfort zone, it’s easy to coast along day to day without challenging yourself. As a freelancer, you motivate yourself. Often the breakthroughs come doing the tasks you might have previously avoided.

 

Lesson 11: We’re Fortunate, Not Lucky

“You’re so lucky you get *insert freelancer benefits here*”. We’re fortunate, but we’ve earnt the flexibility and benefits through work and risk. No luck here.

 

Lesson 12: The First 12 Months Are The Hardest

There is only so much preparation you can do, and even the preparation doesn’t save you from the deep end. There will be ups and downs, embrace them, and learn.

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