I'm often asked by my coaching clients what I wish I had known when I launched my business. Of the numerous lessons I learned the hard way, these are the 10 that I see as key:
Make all your decisions with the assumption that you will still be in business in five years. Knowing that you'll live with the long-term results of your choices ensures that you will make wise decisions.
It's always about the client's needs; it is never about your qualifications. Never pitch a service until you know why your client would want it.
Create what Alan Weiss calls "marketing gravity" -- you want to attract clients, not chase after them.
Your clients are paying for insights, not information. Focus on what differentiates your from the $15/hour "research" services on the web.
You have to initiate discussions about money and payment with your clients; remember that it's business, not personal.
Volunteering is a tremendously effective way to market yourself, provided you are member-facing and you highlight your professionalism.
Until a prospective client is willing to commit to a project, you're not talking to a client.
Your clients will be the source of your ideas for new products or services. Listen to them when they say, "I don't know if you do this, but could you...?"
Time management is critical. Can you stay focused and productive without an office structure or looming deadline?
You will find this an even more rewarding job than you expected!