With 2014 drawing to a close, it also marks the end of my first year as a small business owner. As I reflect back on the 12 months I’ve been operating Stafford Media Solutions, I am pleased with my efforts.
While I did operate at a loss this financial year, mainly because I couldn’t recoup the start-up costs accrued at the beginning of 2013, I still managed to make some money from a number of jobs. In total, I completed eight paid projects for a variety of clients, including real estate and travel agents. I also gained valuable experience doing unpaid jobs for friends, highlighting their businesses and helping both parties to gain valuable online exposure.
More important than any monetary gain was the giant strides I took in terms of getting my name out in the community. I’m not a natural networker, so I didn’t attend that many formal events, but it only takes one person to get the ball rolling. They say that when you attend business lunches and breakfasts, there's no point in trying to connect with everyone as it's just not possible. Using this philosophy as a strategy saw me focus instead on getting to know a few people each time, which proved to be more helpful than a mass meeting of minds.
I’ve been a member of the business networking site LinkedIn for a while now, and at the time of writing this post, I have 732 connections, but only a few have actually met me face to face. LinkedIn seemed like a novel idea when I first joined, but now it’s more of a novelty, with people who don’t even know me endorsing me for things that they have no idea whether I’m capable of or not.
I was fortunate that a couple of people were willing to take a chance on a relative unknown, and that they believed in me enough to encourage me and give me repeat business. Self-confidence is something that I’ve always struggled with, so having others back me in was an unexpected fillip.
One particular connection that I made has ties to a number of other important people in WA, and with time could see me advance the business further. I’ve also established contact with another voice artist who I can possibly collaborate with down the track.
There have been times when I’ve thought some things or people were out of reach, and it wasn’t worth making contact if it was only going to set me up for a fall. No doubt, that does happen sometimes, but if you don’t at least take a step and get out of the boat, you’re not going to walk on water.
As for next year, there’s already some projects in the pipeline which are both exciting and different from what I’ve done so far. I look forward to heading back to work soon after a short break and getting stuck in. I’ll keep you all updated with the latest developments for the 2015 iteration of Stafford Media Solutions via this website and my Facebook page, so keep your eyes open!