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Earnest Consulting Group Turns 9 Years Old: A Letter from Me to the Me of 2015

March 7, 2024 | Uncategorized

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March 1, 2023, marked the ninth anniversary of Earnest Consulting Group. Having been a successful business owner and government contractor, I thought it would be easy. I was wrong! One big difference is that this gig was my first as a solopreneur. To say I’ve learned a lot in the past years would be an understatement.

To help others avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made, I’ve written a letter to the 2015 version of myself, with a recap of everything I wish I knew when I started. I hope this helps people start a new venture with or without previous business ownership experience. Enjoy!

Dear Rich,

Congratulations on leaping to launch another business. I understand that your launch date is March 1, 2015. While you have multiple experiences in starting, managing, and selling businesses, I want to address a few roadblocks that may come your way in the next few years. This will help you better prepare for the years ahead.

Your Network: When working primarily in government business and corporate America, you neglected your primary network. As Harvey MacKay’s book implies, it is important to “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” While it will require much time and effort, you will have opportunities to rebuild that network. You will also have multiple opportunities to add new people. Take full advantage of every opportunity and continue to cultivate your new network. It’s also important to be flexible in how you build your network–especially with the COVID-19 pandemic you’ll be facing in 2020. Now, building your network using LinkedIn and Zoom is just as useful as connecting face to face.

Your Laurels: Don’t rest on them. You should be proud of your past accomplishments, but those alone will not inspire people to just dump business in your lap. It does not matter how intelligent, capable, or experienced you are. If prospective clients do not trust you, none of those matter. It takes time to build trust, and it usually isn’t accomplished with one meeting over coffee or one video phone call. Yes, that is a primary way to have meetings in 2024!

Your Confidence: It’s okay to toot your own horn. If you don’t then there will be no music. As always, there’s a time and place and you can do it in a way that doesn’t look like bragging. On the other hand, when you lack confidence, people can sense it. During those times you have “imposter syndrome,” remind yourself of all the accomplishments that got you here. You belong here! Keep telling yourself that.

Your Mentors and Community: Being a solopreneur, you might think you need to find the answers on your own. Mentors were a luxury of the past;. You’d like to reach out to other industry leaders to collaborate but you fear them instead as competition. Neither could be further from the truth. It doesn’t mean you should trust just anyone, but there are others in your industry you can learn from and who can learn from you. Being burned in the past, you have become a much better judge of character. Don’t rush into anything. Take your time and great relationships will flourish.

Furthermore, once you’ve established it, your community will be there to celebrate with you and will help you when times are tough. I suggest you get one quickly and don’t wait as long as I did.

Your Savings: You thought your six months of savings would get you through? No way! You should have saved twice to three times that much, given you were the sole breadwinner in the family.

Your Patience: Your patience will be tried at times. You’ve gotten used to success and steady growth over the past 10 years. However, things will be very slow at first. You’re working in a new field, but do not be deterred. More importantly, do not reinvent yourself every few months to see what sticks. Stick with something and see it though. Beware of “shiny objects”. Try new things but with the original goal in mind. Also, when your revenue isn’t coming in, do not run to the shiny object that is the job boards. While that may solve some of your problems in the short run, a full-time job, no matter how lucrative, will create new problems, too. Things will work out.

Finally, remember why you started this business in the first place. It was not just because you had an entrepreneurial itch or, more importantly, felt passionate about helping other companies succeed as you have. It was because you wanted to build a business that was friendly to your family. Therefore, do not be lured into situations that take you away from your family for long periods like before. It is important to remember why you did this in the first place. 

Also, be mindful about putting your work down to be with your family. It will be extremely difficult to do, especially when the workload is intense or the bank account is empty. Ask yourself, do you have what you need for today? If the answer is “yes”, you are ahead of most of the world! Appreciate the treasures you have instead of being preoccupied with the future.

Best of luck in your new venture!

Warm Regards,

Rich


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