Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in professional development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Clarene Mitchell, CEO of TCM Communications, located in Mequon, WI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
There are approximately 830 million LinkedIn members. Unfortunately, far too many people still think the platform is just for job seekers. I'm on a mission to help more entrepreneurs and executives leverage the platform to generate organic results. I accomplish this through one-on-one coaching, group training, event speaking, and done-for-you services.
This recommendation from one of my clients highlights the impact of my business:
"Clarene is phenomenal! Our working sessions were not only informative, but they brought the self-awareness I needed to understand my hesitancy around being active as an entrepreneur on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has evolved so much over the years. I knew how to leverage the platform as a job seeker and Recruiter, but I really didn't know where to start as a business owner on LinkedIn. I feel much more confident on the platform. Since working with Clarene, I've seen a sharp increase in engagement and connection with my potential clients. Current clients are also able to access my content which supports their success. Oh! And Clarene is going to hold you accountable for doing the things that you agree to in your working sessions with her. I really needed that! I'm so grateful that I found Clarene! Her energy and positivity made working with her a pleasure!" (J. White)
Tell us about yourself
I reluctantly started my business in 2017. Prior to doing so, I had a thirty-year career working high-impact jobs. I was unemployed for almost a year after having a dramatic job loss in 2016. Starting my business was my way of creating a job for myself. Ironically, although I never had any aspirations of becoming my own boss and became an entrepreneur late in my life, I'm hooked now. I'm motivated to get up every morning and work on my business because I know that I will never fire myself.
Additionally, it is very gratifying to be in alignment with my professional purpose. I have never felt more professionally fulfilled than I am now. I've taken my wealth of print journalism and public relations experience and built a social media based business as a 50+ woman outside the tech hotspots.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Considering I started my business with no funding or business knowledge, my biggest accomplishment has been making it to my fifth business anniversary. Research shows that approximately 45% of new businesses fail during the first five years. I feel very fortunate to have made it this far.
Publishing my book, 'Shine Online with LinkedIn,' in 2019 was a huge accomplishment as well. On a regular basis, I'm successful when my clients are successful.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Life as a solopreneur can be very lonely. While others have the security of a regular paycheck and the freedom of off time, I'm always on my grind working to grow my business. Entrepreneurship requires very long days. It is a life that few understand unless they themselves live it as well. It can be challenging to stay focused and not give up, especially if it always seems far off in the distance.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
For someone looking to start a business, I encourage you to give your business a solid start by preparing yourself in advance as much as you can. This includes saving money or getting financial support. Do your research and market analysis. Set up administrative systems as well. Entrepreneurship involves constant adapting to changes, but having fundamentals in place from the beginning can make a huge difference.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
The aha moment for me to start my business came when I read this quote by A. G. Gaston, "Find a need and fill it. Successful businesses are founded on the needs of the people." I hope this quote inspires anyone thinking about starting a business. When I was unemployed, fellow job-seekers in my network sought my advice on how to leverage LinkedIn. Instead of just continuing to meet them at coffee shops and give free support, I used the experience as a catalyst for me starting my business. Now I've taught hundreds of people across the country and globally how to understand and use LinkedIn.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.