Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Carl Friesen, founder of Global Reach Communications Inc., located in Mississauga, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Most of my clients are global engineering and environmental science companies. They help pipelines operate safely, help wind power projects get environmental permits, help factories safely -- and much else. The professionals who do this work need to get noticed by their ideal clients, but in many cases, they don't have the expertise or the time to generate thought leadership content. That's where I come in -- I help them develop the concept for an article, e-book, video, or other content, interview the author, prepare a draft or script for their review, and then work with them to get it into the form that they want. This allows them to publish useful content that shows their expertise.
Tell us about yourself
I started out in journalism, where I learned how to convey ideas in writing and electronically. I then moved into sales and marketing. Now, I put those skills together to create content that is interesting and well presented and that also meets the marketing needs of the firm. I work mostly with the marketing professionals within my client firms, and this helps them achieve their goals. I like working with really smart people who are helping to make the world a better place. I also like taking their ideas and processing them into words that are useful to the people who read, watch or listen to the content I've prepared.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been developing a service that people want and are willing to pay for. And not just once, but multiple times -- I've been working with some firms, and individual clients, for over 20 years. The biggest satisfaction comes from getting repeat work from the same client and having them recommend me to other people -- who also become repeat clients.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest part of this is keeping my financial records together. I manage this by choosing what aspects of my work I can do myself -- such as uploading invoices and receipts to my accounting software. The rest, I outsource to those who know better. That includes a bookkeeper who handles everything to do with foreign exchange (this comes from being a global business) and an accountant who handles tax filing.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Talk with potential clients or customers first about what their needs are, and develop your product to deal with those needs.
- Focus on finding clients that won't mind paying your invoices. My clients are mostly well over US$1 billion in sales, and my invoices are small change for them.
- Develop a full solution to your client's problem. For example, I don't just write blog posts -- I help develop the concept and also prepare some social media metadata for each one, so my client doesn't have to.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Solo work isn't for everyone. If you feel isolated, build a community, or join one of the other freelancers. This is partly because you may find that you have difficulty relating to the issues and concerns that matter to people who work for someone else -- you need to build a community of people who understand what you're going through.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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