Two years ago, I started an online magazine. I was smart enough to realize that I needed a team to make it work so I hired two freelancers. With my passion, a laptop, and a blog, we set sail.
But it didn’t last long. From several hiring and administrative gaffes to pivoting to the wrong business, sending horrible pitches to several publications with no single reply in my inbox, I made every error in the entrepreneurial book. I felt like I was in a season of rejection. The only thing positive thing was my drive to make a living by doing what I love: helping others.
Interestingly, I credit this will to survive to my continued online presence now as a freelance copywriter. Here are 5 lessons I learned from my series of failure and rejection.
Don’t expect some world-class service from your freelancers if all you’re promising them is exposure that can’t pay their phone bills. Unless you have a platform like The Huffington Post where they can get seen and hired by millions of readers, if you want to make money, you need to spend money. Period.
Yes, an entrepreneur needs to develop the mentality of investing wisely. However, you need to put some skin in the game. Whether it is trading skills with your freelancers or sharing your vision with partners who can bring more resource power, you can’t go “pro” unless you ditch the FREE mentality. This is one lesson I realized late but I’m glad I did.
One of the things I notice in the entrepreneurial scene is smart people creating products that are very good without asking their audience what they really want to buy or learn. Hey, I made the same mistake too! Just because you are a great tax accountant doesn’t mean your audience want to learn how to do taxes. They might be interested in budgeting advice or savings in general.
Your highest level of expertise doesn’t necessarily bring you your highest income. It is your clients’ hunger for solutions to their problems, coupled with the satisfaction they get from your services, that bring you your highest income.
Reflect on what people are really coming to you for. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover that the service you thought was your zone of genius isn’t what your ideal client wants from you.
Throughout my short tenure as an online magazine publisher, I took many notes and saved several copies of my conversation with freelancers and interview guests. These documents have turned into templates that I now draw inspiration from and use in my current business as a copywriter.
Now that you have taken the leap of faith to escape the 9-to-5 cubicle into independence, your mind is a playground for insecurities and doubts. When failure hits hard, it is easy to think about packing your bags and quitting the scene altogether.
In fact, it’s easy to get affected by one negative feedback even though you’ve received hundreds of positive responses. I get it. So, what do you do instead?
The first thing you need to do is take care of your thoughts. Your mind is very fragile. When you repeatedly subject it to conscious and unconscious messages, it forms a permanent groove in your mind. Think about what you were called to do and focus solely on that. Know that there are people who need you, your voice, your services and focus solely on that.
Whether it is free or a paid mentorship program, surround yourself with people that support your growth and goals. Your life as a business owner doesn’t take a back seat when you hit your income goals. Likewise, you don’t need to severe ties with people who remind you of where you come from and will always embrace you when everything else fails.
So, what next?
You’ve got to keep the conversation going. Your present doesn’t determine your future. But your actions will.
Originally published at medium.com