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What my first year of business taught me about the secret to success

Last month I had the opportunity to speak to several hundred middle school students for Career Day. WOW — I know! Thank goodness I spoke to them in small groups (10-20 at a time).

Anyway, they were obsessed with the usual questions, like: “Are you the boss? Can you take your dog to work?” While I choose not to take my dog to work (that’s a story for another post), I have never really considered myself the “boss.” I guess that’s a title my employees would give me, but I think of my clients has the true bosses. Without my clients, I wouldn’t have the company and couldn’t do what I do.

Then, a few days ago, I heard someone say “I don’t have a job… I own a business.” There was something about this comment that seemed to resonate with me.

It got me thinking about why I started my business in the first place.

When I first got started with the company, it was an idea that a friend put in my head.  Once I got the bug in my ear and started thinking about the services I could offer, I got so excited and was hooked. I never claim to be the smartest gal in the room, but I do have a lot of energy and passion for my work. It was with this passion that I approached my first prospective client.

(And crazy enough, I did this nearly 15 years ago to the day!)

I was 8+ months pregnant and didn’t want to waste any time getting my new business off the ground. Well, that prospective client shot me down cold! It didn’t have anything to do with me, my expertise, energy or ability to help elevate his organization… he just didn’t really “believe in marketing.”

The story doesn’t end there — it never really does. I continued to pursue this organization because I knew that I could help them! As it turned out, they contacted me about nine months later and I worked on my first project for them.

I continued working with them on and off for the next 10+ years. While I haven’t done anything for them in a little while, this client will always have a special place in my heart and I know they have my number if they need me.

What I learned from that experience and have kept with me is: The secret to success is continuing to go for something even when people say no.

And you know what? That’s what a boss does!

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