Aligning your dreams with reality
We always speak about SMART goals, right?
Or is that a strategist’s topic?
Whilst quoting for a recent project that I was fortunate to receive I had a lot of intrapersonal pushing and pulling when it came to pricing. Previously, I have worked on projects and only had the responsibility of being accountable for my deliverables. However, for this new project, I have had to be a supplier as well as a client. Considering that the client upfront told me they’re not interested in dealing with other service providers I’ve had to take accountability of the whole project and be the only liable person for providing all services.
Being the client and the supplier.
I think for most project leaders starting out being a supplier that’s using other suppliers to complete a project has to be one of the most stressful things. This is especially with services. It’s so easy to put a price on a product but never the same with a service.
It’s also much simpler to put a price on my services but when a client wants me to get other services providers and try to negotiate winning quotes, things get complex.
A project from a big organisation isn’t a get rich quick scheme
You have to work ten times harder to prove yourself. You want your clients to remember you for your level of work. No matter how big or rich the client might seem — I have learnt that the bigger clients want accountability for every cent. Entering the world of heavyweights client isn’t you getting your big breakthrough, it’s you entering the world of bigger battles.
Your mindset has to shift from assisting other small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to now partnering with big structures. Working with big structures forces you to professionalise your company and put defined structures in place.
So, instead of thinking of how rich you’ll be after the project, think about how that capital raised will be used. Is it for new equipment, a new office space, or other fixed assets? Also, salaries don’t come from your capital and a big financial injection into your business isn’t your pay — it’s for your business.
Clients can love you and may want to steal you.
This has happened before where I was “freelancing” for a company and within a short space of time, they offered me full-time employment. I was flattered for such an offer to be made — it was quite a good offer. I excitedly accepted the offer and within a few days, I went from being a freelancer and business owner to being an employee. This is by no means me complaining. However, in those actions, I didn’t realise I was falling into a loop and making a decision that wasn’t for me. I say this because being a freelancer and business owner wasn’t a decision I took because I couldn’t find employment.
I became a freelancer on purpose.
As difficult as it may be to run a business you cannot be an entrepreneur by mistake, it has to be intentional. So don’t let anything deter you from that, no matter how sweet the offer.
Beauty is success but success isn’t beauty
Looking presentable is part of selling services. To sell services and a business its part of your job to sell yourself. This fact has been both an advantage and a disadvantage that has the power to easily pull me off the tracks.
At the beginning of my journey, lots of people saw me as a big success and I had barely started. Because i was a “business owner” people automatically thought I’m rich. Without even having seen my work, family and friends were on my case about acquiring more because they thought I had more.
This assisted in that, I had referral clients through word-of-mouth marketing. However, assumptions are always a dangerous thing and even worse when people assume that you have secured an income. That’s where the disadvantage came in.
Being a young business owner is so conflicting!
I want to go out to lunch with friends and have fun. I want to spend the money I worked so hard for last month. I want to go on trips with my cousins. I want to do normal things that normal people do too!
However, I need to take the money I’ve accumulated from past work to build capital. Instead of lunches with friends, I need to do lunches with clients, instead of family trips I need to be available for client calls and work during long weekends.
Its what we all want to do, but don’t rush your success because people can already see the superficial beauty. The success of a business owner isn’t expensive lunches and getaways, its properties and fixed assets that supersede liabilities and expenses.
Okay, back to reality
I’m a hustler. That’s the reality. I think I’ve managed to surround myself with people who don’t believe in the “all business owners are rich” myth.
I’ve changed my surroundings. Stayed away from certain people — not because I don’t love them but because I simply love my dream too much that I need to only surround myself with people and things that nurture it, not the other way around. I’ve started doing things differently and getting into unusual routines that keep me in track with my goals. Getting back to reality is that continuous process of constantly evaluating where you are, where you want to be and what you have to do to get to where you want to be.
You’re only at the start, that’s reality.
You won’t get a jump-to-front card. Stop looking for one.