5 Lessons Learned from My First Decade as an Entrepreneur

Today is the 10th anniversary of my company Image Media. My passion for business began in high school. My father and his partner owned their own company, and I was fascinated by the inner workings. I spent one summer working in their office and decided to go to secretarial school after high school graduation. I knew that I would go to college when the time was right, and 20 years later, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree.

During those 20 years, I had a variety of office jobs that led me to a middle management position in a large corporation. The experience was invaluable, but I yearned to have a business of my own. The opportunity came when I became self employed as a manufacturer’s representative in Northern California. From 1997 – 2004, I established a successful territory and met many extraordinary people who helped me along the way.

On January 1, 2008, I opened Image Media in St. Louis, my home town, and began my journey in a fulfilling career as a web designer, digital marketing specialist and photographer.

These are some of the lessons I learned along the way:

Lesson Five: Just do it.
When you have a burning desire to make something happen, explore the possibilities. Dream, plan, connect and collaborate with people who can help you. Building a company takes time, money, dedication and introspection. If it feels right most of the time, you’ll have the impetus to keep going.

Lesson Four: Establish systems and routines. 
As you build your business, create a strategic process flow for you and your clients. It will establish expectations and efficiencies that should improve with each project.

Lesson Three: Spread the word.
Develop a consistent method for connecting with and helping other people in a variety of ways. Balance networking and in-person meetings with your digital communications (such as your website, blog, social media and email) on a regular basis.

Lesson Two: Teamwork is essential.
Your unique offerings become more valuable when you work with a team of people who provide complementary services and collaborative support. The Medici Marketplace offers a unique blend of expertise to serve the members of the business community who want a better and more efficient delivery of vital marketing services.

Lesson One: Never, never give up.
Image Media began during the greatest recession of my lifetime, and ten years later, it’s growing and thriving. There have been many ups and downs, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is my belief that I have the power to do what is necessary to keep it moving forward.

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

~ Theodore Roosevelt

Photo by Caren Libby – The Arch – St Louis, Missouri

Caren Libby
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