My First Six Weeks as a Successful Entrepreneur, Part I: Liftoff

February 7th, 2013 | Daniel Cohen | 9 Comments

Juggling Lego

I always feel a great paradox at the beginning of the year.

On one hand, the year is ending. We get the distinct feeling of being out of town. Things lull into a sleepy haze with the onset of the holidays. People declare to quit smoking or overeating, then go out for fine dining and drunken midnight bar hopping.

Things will have to change, but give off the appearance of staying inevitably the same.

On the other hand, it’s a time for growth. Rebirth. Rejuvenation. A new year gives us the chance to reinvent who we are, what we do, and who we do it for by reassessing our lives.

It’s a time to look back on our tasks and accomplishments over the last year and discuss some of the things we have done well, some of the things we could have done better and some of our upcoming plans.

It’s a time to decide whether we want to pursue goals or themes.

And it’s a time to decide how we want to go about pursuing what we want.

2012 was an incredible year for me.

In February, I landed a job as the Head Writer at The Greensheet.

By April, I was working all day and managing contracts with clients by night. I found myself covered with social media calendars, PR pitches, blog posts, website projects, advertisement assignments, and what felt like a million clients to call.

I loved it. The thrill of hunting new business, executing existing projects and partnering with others in my field gave me the will to go out and make things happen. I took assignments I liked and took control of the deals.

It was beautiful.

By October, I knew that it was time to open my own business. I filed for an LLC and began educating my clients on my new endeavor in an effort to shift gears on their behalf.

My last day as a full-time employee was December 10th… and I threw myself into the project that night, developing a site plan, elevator pitch and other key necessities I hadn’t had time to create while I was servicing my clients.

It took a few days, but by the end of it, I had an angle and business I was happy with.

That’s how Redshift Writers was born.

RedShift Writers (started by yours truly) is a high-powered, lightning fast content writing company customized to the digital/social media era. We are dedicated to providing high quality copywriting/content writing for both humans and search engines. We want our stuff to be SEO friendly without looking like it was written by a robot. RedShift provides services as they are related to dead-on business content that rings the cash register.

We live to write and write to brand.

Our client portfolio has grown tremendously (variety of clients; a little of this, little of that). And we work with some pretty awesome partners, too.

Today, I’ve been open for six weeks. People told me December would be a cold period. They were wrong. With my newfound time, I landed a few extra projects, stepped on the gas and punched out more work than ever before. I crushed expectations.

People told me January would be cold, too. They were right about that… sort of. After December, anything seems cold. And Dec. 24 – Jan. 3 was less active due to the holidays. But I also have invested in some tools that will greatly assist me for the future during this month, including internal processes and pretty doggone good products.

Knowledge is money

One of the things I take as ultimately valuable is the knowledge I have picked up. Knowledge is the new controlling factor in the economy. As a content marketer, the knowledge I bring to the table is what my clients want from me.

They want to know effective means for communicating their vision.

They want to know how to find their customers with their language.

They want to sell products.

And I know how to do it for them.

But what I still struggle with (and I’m not sure I will ever be free of) is how to balance several of the key considerations you have to strike as a business owner and entrepreneur. As I work, I learn. In turn I do my best. But there’s always more to learn and there’s always more to balance.

One thing that has helped is to stand on the shoulders of giants. I have had phone calls or meetings with several people I really respect and still have more scheduled. They have been invaluable to me.

Just as valuable has been the experience of knowing how Google-search something (I’m serious; there’s a lot more to search than you think, if that sounded funny to you), meeting the right people and experimenting. I know a lot of small business owners with great ideas, and they have been nothing but supportive.

In that same spirit, I want to provide others whatever help I can to do the same.

In spite of my short time as a business owner, I’ve learned a lot.

Now it’s time to share.

(Tune in for Part 2).

Image: Helico via Flickr, CC 3.0

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Daniel Cohen

Daniel Cohen

Owner & Lead Writer at RedShift Writers
Daniel J. Cohen is the founder and lead writer at RedShift Writers, LLC. Cohen and his fast-growing team of content writers produce visionary content strategies and prolific content production for a growing portfolio of wonderful businesses from Bengalore to the California Bay. Most of all, he wants to leverage writing to improve the world.
Daniel Cohen
Daniel Cohen
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"A Little Birdie Told Me" could fly into your inbox just once a month. It's Shonali-as-seen-nowhere-else. What're you waiting for?

8 comments
HeatherStone
HeatherStone

Hey, Daniel! First, congrats and welcome to the world of entrepreneurship. You're so right. Knowledge is money. Information businesses are among the most successful in the new economy. I enjoyed reading your comments in the BizSugar community. Hope you'll become a regular contributor.

Shonali
Shonali moderator

Welcome to the entrepreneurial lifestyle, Dan. And say goodbye to sleep. ;) And thank you for the kind words!

You know, as I've been walking this road myself, I've found that people are incredibly generous with their time and expertise. You know I ask questions a lot, but I have a group of people - not always the same, because I don't want to tire them out with my questions - to whom I pose just about any question I have... including those about money. Yes... money. Having a handful of people I can talk to about this angle in particular - there are probably 5, maybe 6 right now, a combination of men and women, and I don't think the group will grow too much bigger - is unbelievable. It's motivating and they are so happy to share what they've learned and experienced.

Some years ago, I organized the #wgbiz bootcamp for women entrepreneurs (@netsolcares was my client, and I managed that particular blog/community for them), and @chiefhotmomma gave an amazing keynote. She stressed how important it was to have a good support system and urged us all to create our network of 5 other women who would support us. She calls it the "Sisterhood of Success," and has case studies that show the approach works.

So I definitely have my 5 people. It's not a formal association or anything, but it's tremendously helpful. I hope you have/set up something like that!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Hey grats @Daniel J. Cohen  this is very inspirational. Did your clients have any issues with moving over to your new business with you?

Vincent H. Clarke
Vincent H. Clarke

"We live to write and write to brand."

Love that tag line. Also love the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants when it comes to networking. Excited to see your business grow and looking forward to the next article!

Daniel J. Cohen
Daniel J. Cohen

@Shonali I'm late to the show!


You entioned something called "Sleep" in your comment... can you tell me more about that some time? Sounds relaxing. 


I like your roundtable of master minds. I have a few of my own as well, and I have worked really hard to be careful about who I have chosen. Your core group is the group that will help you elevate everything you do. It also mitigates the "you're on your own" feeling that sometimes floats through the middle of the day. 

@chiefhotmomma It would be cool to see case studies on it. That's both the writer and business owner in me speaking, too. 

One last note on a support circle: I believe Dan Kennedy stresses something similar as well. While I don't 100% agree with Dan, he is the greatest copywriter of all time and he's done OK for himself, so it sounds like you're in good company, @Shonali !

Daniel J. Cohen
Daniel J. Cohen

@HowieG @Daniel J. Cohen Thanks! I haven't had much trouble moving clients over, mainly because I show them respect. Everyone's basket needs to stay afloat the way it has. For the most part, I haven't had to raise rates. When I have, I mitigate the rise in cost by plenty of warning and alternative solutions to my customers' business issues.


Is that a standard concern when people shift from free lance over to business ownership?

Daniel J. Cohen
Daniel J. Cohen

@Vincent H. Clarke Thanks Vincent! A good content writing shop should probably have a solid slogan, eh?


I'm looking forward to sharing Part 2! Quick preview: There's a lot to balance as an entrepreneur... and in Part 2, we'll talk more about that.

ChiefHotMomma
ChiefHotMomma

@Daniel J. Cohen @Shonali Ciao Ragazzi. Well - Dan - the fact that you have thought about it so carefully and worked hard on it gives you a leg up. There are so many people who - if you ask them this question - have a doe in headlights look. They have been so busy doing, doing, doing...they haven't thought about actually assembling advisors so they are not reinventing the wheel. This is a dangerous path - and sign of business immaturity. Eeek.  I mean, I've been there. Just for full confession. Was too busy to ask early in my career...starting my first business. I had done consulting and thought I "got it."So, you're way past that. Another good thing about having advisors is it's a sign of being open, and coachable. If you don't know what you don't know,  no one will want to work with you, for you, invest in you (er...be married to you / in a domestic partnership with you)..it has a radiating effect eventually. 

Below are two posts:

* One stating that the magic number is "5" for mentors, and how to get them. 

* The second is a summary of "Blueprint to a Billion." Guess what one of the tips is? Get someone on your board who has run a billion dollar company! Seems logical, but, I can bet you that there are folks out there who want 8 or 9  or 10 figure companies who don't do that.

5 mentors

http://hotmommasproject.com/2010/12/6-power-plays-for-women-find-5-mentors/

Blueprint to a Billion

http://youngentrepreneurfoundation.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/seven-secrets-of-billion-dollar-companies-blueprint-to-a-billion-entrepreneur-version/


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