Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in freelancing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Natalie Lawrence, Founder of Natalie Lawrence Limited, located in London, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Natalie Lawrence Limited, and my clients are predominantly businesses in the finance, property, IT, logistics, and creative sectors, as well as law firms, educational institutions, and charities.
Tell us about yourself
I specialise in helping clients with Microsoft Word and PowerPoint projects. This can range from working with creative agencies that need to convert their designs into workable Microsoft Word and PowerPoint templates to helping clients solve problems they have when using those templates and files.
The things that matter most to me are solving problems, saving time, making work easier for people, and being innovative. I'm not interested in doing things for the sake of them. I enjoy learning and testing my knowledge, as well as sharing ideas with other people.
For example, when I created my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/natalielawrencedesign), I wanted to let people know how to make their lives easier because I know as a Microsoft Word and PowerPoint user, there are a lot of frustrating things about using them. I've benefitted from learning how to save time on boring or repetitive tasks and from doing things I didn't think were possible, so I want to pass that knowledge on.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Still being in business after 11 years! Personally, being a business owner has helped me to face a lot of challenges, and I'm now more confident in dealing with them. The "worst that can happen" is never the absolute worst, and because there are no avoiding things like rude or late-paying clients, you have to learn how to deal with them in a professional and calm way.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
From the perspective of a sole business owner and employee, I'd say doing everything yourself is the hardest. Especially when you struggle to delegate and you have a vision of certain tasks that you feel only you are capable of realising.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have "constructively-positive" people around you. Let go of the "energy vampires." I've benefited from honest feedback from friends and family who've wanted to see my business succeed. They've given me their perspective, which has helped me to see things I wouldn't normally see, and they've also given me encouragement when I needed it.
- Get a credit controller and contracts. If you send invoices, it's absolutely imperative that you get your paperwork in order. Be very clear that you're serious about being paid, that all parties are clear on the scope of work for each project, and your clients should be clear on your terms and their commitment to them.
- "Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want." My mother's motto, which has seen helped me countless times. It's very easy to get stuck with worry when the work goes quiet, or if something else goes on, that one can forget you're in business for positive reasons. Have positive goals to aim for and break them down into smaller tasks. That way, it's easy to focus every day on doing something with a purpose. We don't go into business to suffer; we go into business because we want to live life in a way that makes us feel better. Focus on the things that'll achieve that, then do them!
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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