Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Katie Orr Sharp, Founder of Journ Agency, located in Charlotte, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is exclusively aimed at helping institutional investment/asset managers outsource or fill their proposal functions. This includes RFPs, RFIs, and DDQs. We do this in three ways:
- Direct placement of a long-term, full-time hire.
- Contract-to-hire placement over 6-24 months.
- Project-based RFP help with the goal of keeping the same individual(s) on the account as a long-term resource that acts as an extension of the firm.
Work could include RFP writing, RFP management/coordination, or RFP database implementation/training.
Tell us about yourself
I've never in my life thought of myself as an entrepreneur. In fact, I'm fairly certain that I've said I'd never be one. I've always valued the stability of a regular paycheck. But in late 2020, at the height of the pandemic - when the only thing anyone could do was embrace uncertainty - everything changed. Suddenly I felt like I actually wanted to go out on my own. And as I had small successes, that fire to succeed grew. Today, what motivates me is the knowledge that I can make it on my own. I love being my own boss, having a work/life balance, and knowing that I can be as successful as I choose to be. There is no limit. I've never loved sitting behind a desk for 8-10 hours (usually freezing cold in some high rise with the AC blasting). And I get plenty of social interaction during evenings and weekends. I truly love working from home and watching my business (and my own skills) continue to grow. I constantly surprise myself.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Helping launch three very different businesses simultaneously (I also helped launch a consultancy and a medical practice) - and watching them slowly materialize and flourish. Having pride in authorship is such a deeply fulfilling feeling.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Finding the right people! Hands down. The people you employ are everything and ultimately help determine if your business is successful.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure your online presence is 100% buttoned up and ready to go before you do any marketing. The first place people will go is your website. Make it clean, impressive, easy to navigate, and informative. Also, ensure that you have a presence on LinkedIn.
- Don't plan for right now—plan for 5 or 10 years for now. Plan to be very successful and think about what you'll need in the event that you grow.
- Be ready to be flexible. Your original idea might not be the right idea, but the right idea might spin out of it. Be prepared to pivot.
- I'm adding one: Understand that you'll need to spend some money to make money. Don't go cheap at the onset. Trust me; it'll show.
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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