The best piece of business advice I received this week

As it turns out, being a sole trader isn’t all sleep ins, schlepping around in my pyjamas and knocking off work at five pm to wander down to the beach. Who knew?

The thrilling opportunity to work full time as a writer means that all of a sudden I’ve got the added responsibility of being my own marketing and sales director, quality control agent and accounts manager. This is all stuff I never truly had to worry about in my old job at Yahoo!.

Being a stay at home worker for the past three months has been great, but my social butterfly spirit animal was starting to get listless, so I excitedly headed to a networking event in the city last week. What a great excuse to go meet some people, sell myself and even have a shower for once! (kidding – I’ve bathed at least three times this year).

A valuable piece of business advice

It was so worthwhile to meet people from a range of industries and get their business advice. After the breakfast I got to chatting to one fellow and lamented that I’m trying to figure out the best way to build my client base.

“You’re doing it wrong,” he said to me. “Stop looking for clients and start making friends.” That really resonated with me. People want to work with someone they like, someone they trust. While it’s important to be professional, you can still offer the reliability and compassion that you would extend to the people you hold dear to you in your life.

So while being careful not to come across as too over-the-top, my goal going forward is to make a heck of a lot of amazing friends – people who will motivate me to be better at what I do. I made a start by doing some work this week for an entrepreneur in the UK who is at the helm of a group of companies at the crazily intimidating age of just 22. How cool!

I’m also really inspired by my friends Martin and Juliane who run Rocky Trail Entertainment. They are really hands on with their business and make sure they have time for all riders at their mountain bike races. They’re so approachable that often their customers don’t even realise that they’re even speaking to the Directors themselves at events.

Speaking of friends, how are you? Are you keen for a cup of coffee?

Clea Sherman is a Sydney freelance writer Feature image by Juliana Coutinho

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