In my last post, I wrote about five lessons I learned from starting my own business, hoping someone might learn something from my experiences. In this post, I will describe what I learned about myself throughout this process — not to toot my own horn, but to hopefully inspire someone to start her own business as a result.
- I became a good salesman. I have never given myself credit for being good at sales. But what I've learned is that sales is an extension of marketing — or the other way around, depending on who you ask. Good salespeople know the needs of their customers and deliver a solution that satisfies those needs. Identifying the customer was my first challenge: distributors, retail stores, and end consumers all have different goals and the sales pitch to each party is vastly different. As a one-man operation, I was forced to become a great salesman, and if you start your own company, you will be, too.
- I perfected my elevator pitch. Related to #1 and I know it's cliché, but it's true: it's so important to be able to describe your product in 30 seconds or less. I have perfected the way I describe What's Wild?! in two ways: when I have the game in front of me and when I don't. The only way to do this perfectly is to practice thousands of times like I have. This important skill has helped me become a better marketer and has helped me in many other life situations.
- I can do anything in marketing with excellence. This experience exposed me to every single type of marketing there is — and I had to figure out how to prioritize the most important ones. No, I didn't buy ad placements in Sports Illustrated, but I bought placements in gaming industry publications and the only difference between the two is scale. I can confidently say that I have enlisted nearly every marketing tactic there is. And I don't mean that I stayed up in the marketing strategy cloud while others did the work for me. I mean that I took a concept from start to finish — from strategy to execution — and was successful. I pushed the buttons in my Google Analytics account, I designed direct mail pieces, I built a website, I created a commercial, I created compelling email newsletters... the list goes on and on. Not many marketers can say that. And I can only say it because I started my own business.
I became a better marketer and salesman by starting my own business. I earned experience in ways only available to those who brave the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. If you have always wanted to start your business, I would absolutely recommend going for it. Hopefully the three reasons I've listed here will convince you it's worth the effort.
There's Never a Lack of Ideas.