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Thread: the business advice you're happy you didn't take
On putting well-meant advice to the side and following your own path
As part of moving my newsletter to Substack, I’m adding monthly threads. Sometimes it will be a thread that ties in with a post I’ve written, sometimes it will be a question from a subscriber, sometimes it will be an “ask anything”-style thread.
The aim is for us to share, discover and be inspired around running a small business or working freelance. You don’t need a Substack-account to comment: if you click on ‘leave a comment’ you’ll be immediately able to do so.
Working without colleagues in your own business can be a lonely thing, and I hope that these threads can form a kind of mini-community of connection.
The business advice you’re happy you didn’t take
Four years ago, in the very early days of my business, I couldn’t really make up my mind who I wanted to work with.
I was working in higher education and the topic that I was most interested in was, for lack of a better phrase, work-life balance, which was definitely a big theme in my organization.
It felt like a relatively safe strategy for me: I’d approach higher education organizations and offer workshops around work-life balance, they already had the infrastructure for attracting people in place, and I’d get my business up and running.
I soon realised that a) it wasn’t that easy and, b) I really wasn’t interested in working with people that were working in larger organizations.
I wanted to work with small business owners, with freelancers, with people who have relatively a lot of autonomy about how they organize their days, but who run into all the rules and ‘shoulds’ of hustle and entrepreneur culture.
But some people around me kept suggesting that I get in touch with larger organizations anyway. “I know this practice near me that you could pitch,” a friend offered. “You know that this is an issue in organizations, and they’d be willing to spend money on it! It’s an easy choice,” another said.
I didn’t take their advice. And I’m so glad that I did.
Eventually, focusing on freelancers and small business owners led me to the business I run and love now.
So: what business advice are you most happy that you didn’t take? Or that you changed your mind about?
I’d love it if you’d share in the comments. And, if you’d like to ask a question (anonymous is fine) in an upcoming thread, send me a message!
P.S. I wrote more about figuring out what choices in my business I want to make in this post on trusting yourself as a business owner.
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