Hazleton Area Business Citizen Feb. 2014 | Page 21

Promoting a free market in the Greater Hazleton Area On Business Stephanie J. Beavers My Personal Entrepreneurial Success In the world of business, most people measure success by the amount of money they earn. I know I do. Money is important. Money is good. For me, however, my personal entrepreneurial success as a writer/editor/proofreader goes beyond money. Trust me, as an entrepreneur no one knows better than I the amount of truth in the oft-quoted proverb “Time is money.” I attach mental dollar signs to every work-related task I perform, whether it’s typing emails, meeting with clients, giving a presentation, or reviewing a website. Like most of you reading this, I know the value of my time and try to maximize every working minute of every working day (which is every day). I have a tendency to keep my hands attached to every project that comes across my desk. After all, it came in addressed to me, and it will be going back out with my name on it, so it needs to be just right, right? There was a time when I defined success according to the number of jobs I completed, i.e., by how productive I was. I have come to realize, however, that if I intend to succeed in this free-market enterprise I’ve created for myself, I need to let go of some of the work. That’s right. Every project requires an investment on my part, mostly of time. The person who commissions a project generally does so with a promise to me of some benefit— usually money (sometimes fame and glory)—in return for satisfactory completion of the project. They invest money and I invest time. I have learned, however, that I need to loosen my grip and relinquish some of the tasks that drain my time and decrease my worth as an entrepreneur, and focus instead on high-value, high-ROI projects—those that mean success by my standards. So, what is high-value? What gives me the greatest return on my investment? (Hint: It’s not just money.) Client HABC February 1, 2014 satisfaction for starters (#1 in my book). Repeat business for another. Referrals, recognition, remuneration—all good returns, all successes. Early on in my business, every client I signed on brought me some good in exchange for my services; I needed to do just about any job I could, for experience, exposure, and to build a portfolio. I learned a lot—about people, about how to conduct business, and about the best ways to do what it is I do. The side benefit of that do-any-job-you-can-get strategy is that it taught me a lot about what I don’t want to do. It taught me that, indeed, time is money, and if I don’t enjoy doing a particular job, especially one that doesn’t pay well (in every sense of the word), I don’t need to keep doing that job. I’ve found I’ve been able to adopt a kind of been-theredone-that attitude. To me, that is also success. Another success? Knowing I can skim the requirements of a project and quickly determine if I: 1) possess the skills to properly/satisfactorily complete the project, 2) will reap my desired benefit from doing the project, and 3) really want to invest my time in the project, and then make a decision to do or not do a project based upon those determinations. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m only looking to work on high-profile, high-paying projects. That’s not the message at all. I enjoy helping the little guy, the one who understands the expertise for what they need lies with someone else. I willingly help the one who values my time as much as I value their business. It’s the little guy who, with the two-hour job, gives me the best return on my investment of time. They come in with a need, I provide a service, and they go away happy. The end result is mutual respect and appreciation. And that, perhaps, is the best success of all. 19