The Importance of Work Experience

Making the transition from the corporate world into the entrepreneurial realm is an arduous task, but my career in advertising left me with an indispensable knowledge on how to become my own business woman. Within the entrepreneurial world, I always felt it was frowned upon to have had a more conventional “job”, but more often than not, I’ve seen entrepreneurs fall on their face because they don’t have business or marketing experience. Very early on, I always knew I wanted to have my own business, but it only became a realistic venture once I had professional experience under my belt. By first focusing on my career as a producer in the advertising industry, I was able to learn some essential lessons which I implemented once I began my own business.

Here’s a list of some of the most valuable things I learned from my day job:

1. Value and rates on creative services – One of the most important aspects of a successful business is creating a concrete pricing model that allows you to offer quality work while still maintaining a realistic profit margin.

2. The Business Process – It’s always important to have a process in place when you start your own business and to make sure you stick with it for every client.

3. Writing a statement of work & contracts – Keeping an organized and structured business is one of the most essential aspects of running a functional, productive, and fiscally sound company.

4. Keeping astute and detailed notes – You never know when a tidbit of informal conversation could lead to a huge creative breakthrough or new marketing strategy. Keeping track of these exchanges gives you tons of ideas for future clients and future projects.

5. Making my client understand what they’re getting for their money – Everyone wants to be aware of what their spending their money on and the exact value you’re bringing to each client; doing this lets everyone know they’re on the same page with each and every financial aspect of a project.

6. The Invoicing Process – Without invoices no one gets paid, right? This is so important both for your company’s fiscal status and so the client can see in detail exactly what services your company provided.

7. Outsourcing – Don’t feel like you have to have to handle every minute detail in house; some of the most successful businesses know that outsourcing lets everyone focus on the tasks they’re most suited for without worrying about a time crunch or stringent deadlines.

8. Learning to say no to projects – Not every project or opportunity that comes your way is necessarily a good fit for your company. It’s important to understand what your potential clients’ needs are and to make sure you can deliver exactly what they’re looking for. If for any reason they’re being unrealistic, it’s important to let them know right away before you take a project you might not be right for.

I’m thankful I learned all these valuable lessons through my experience in the corporate world. In retrospect starting my own business after getting some working experiencing  under my belt was the right decision instead of jumping into it head first. I can only imagine the roadblocks I would have encountered if I had ventured into the entrepreneurial world right after college. Thoughts?

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