Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Trevor Young, Founder of Credible Authority Academy, located in Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I run a coaching and training business (Credible Authority Academy) that guides and supports experienced individuals to build credible thought leader brands. I also provide consulting services to fast-growth medium-sized brands, working with the founders to help them develop and implement content-driven communications strategies for their businesses. On the side, I'm also an author, speaker, and podcaster.
Tell us about yourself
I have a long history in public relations consulting, but over the course of the journey became a marketing services entrepreneur and co-founded three businesses, selling two of them and merging a third with a global company.
I got into blogging, podcasting, and social media in the early days (pre-2010), and this set me on a course to focus on the content side of PR and marketing communications, which I've done by building a virtual agency first, but in more recent times, I've focused on the strategy side of things, and coaching and educating others to execute on the plan.
More recently, I launched the Credible Authority Academy in a bid to scale my efforts and to be able to help more people via online training. This, in particular, gets me fired up and has definitely re-energised me professionally. I love working with passionate individuals who have so much to give the world, and they're just a bit unsure as to how to best go about doing it. I believe that it's important for us, as individuals, to build a credible personal brand that positions us to take advantage of all the benefits and advantages that come with being an active participant in today's 'Reputation Economy.'
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
While there are some obvious accomplishments that come with building an agency business, i.e., growing to a certain size, attracting big-name clients, etc. - and I'm proud of all that - I think staying in business over a long period and being able to evolve significantly during that time is an achievement in itself, and that's what I cherish most.
Knowing that I can "live by my wits" (which is essentially what being in professional services is - you're only as good as your insights, ideas, and expertise - plus your ability to build genuine relationships) certainly brings a level of confidence with it. It's this confidence in yourself that you can remain independent of a corporate structure and still build a business from nothing - I'd say that's my biggest accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a general rule for solopreneurs, the need to do all the things! Sometimes that need is real, for example, in the initial stages of establishing a business when cash flow is tight, but often it's imagined as well. There are always things you can hand off to others. I've become a lot better at doing this over the journey, but it's something you must stick to.
Currently, the biggest challenge I face is morphing from an area of my professional life - i.e., consulting, which I've done for decades and is in my DNA - to productising my knowledge and experience and selling digital products and programs. This requires a definite shift in mindset because it's very easy to slip back into what you know best. I've found that evolving to coaching one-on-one and in groups first has helped me better navigate this transition.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Put effort into building your personal brand. Be intentional about it. People do business with people, not logos. A strong and credible personal brand is an investment in the future of not just the professional you but also your business. It's must-have insurance. I take a content-first approach to personal branding, so embrace the digital media mindset and get out there and start building your visibility and sphere of influence in a way that's strategic, sustainable, and respectful.
- Allow yourself time out to read and think. Stoke your curiosity, and keep evolving your thinking while, at the same time, keeping one eye firmly on the bigger picture: keep reminding yourself why you are doing what you're doing. I'm not a big one for structured goals, but I think having one big 'aspirational anchor' is important to keep yourself grounded.
- Build and nurture your 'digital neighbourhood' - surround yourself with positive, like-minded people, build relationships with them, and introduce people to one another if you think there's a fit. Use social media to connect with and promote others. If you want to build a community, you need to also be part of other people's communities.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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