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Lidia V's story on... vision & mindset

“I don't subscribe to the 8-5 mentality, it feels unnatural. As much as the role of employee initially challenged me, the corporate structure became too rigid with too many boundaries and parameters to work within as a creative.” This pushed Lidia into the world of freelancing, immediately positioning herself from the start as a Paid Media and Content Specialist as her area of focus and expertise. She describes it as being tough at first, building a brand from scratch and starting to operate as a business, summing up the typical onset of the entrepreneurial journey most of us experience:

“It starts with slowly growing the business through networking in all forms from professional communities to friends and referrals. With that initial growth, a lot of learnings ensue which are then used to improve and naturally get better over time. Having then developed an aptitude to understand the business ebbs and flows, we can then implement processes, operational mechanisms and sometimes tweaks or major shifts in our business model, to improve on business efficacy”.

Along the way, Lidia found connections to be very important and learnt to surround herself with peers in similar positions with whom she could share the challenges and triumphs she faced. Lidia then took the value of connections one step further. “For the initial years I was going at it alone as a sole specialist and then I realised if I want to grow I needed to start working alongside other specialists.” The great benefit in building professional complementary connections enabled her to remain a specialist that could still offer clients a plethora of need fulfilment. She could now extend her service offering to holistically serve her clients, resolving the greater challenge rather than a part of the whole. She reminds us to keep our focus on the client rather than expecting clients to break up their challenges into the bite size we want. “We do this by addressing their pain points in offering solutions that are in line with our value proposition, rather than expecting clients to present their challenges in a way that meets our usual expectations. It's good to stretch ourselves by approaching each client and their unique problem in a fresh new way, always looking for a distinct solution for their specific case”. This is about putting the client before the business, and interestingly, this continues to pay off for Lidia’s business.

“We need to be humble and true to ourselves, we cannot always be everything to everyone but we can treat each client and their unique challenge in a bespoke manner - and tailor our approach within the realm of our speciality. It's the same as going to a GP who can identify a problem that might require an expert in a different area to find a solution to the problem. If the GP can treat the problem within their realm of expertise, they will certainly do so. A similar approach is used in digital marketing with many specialist offerings.”

Furthermore, Lidia points out how important it is to know what your ideal client looks like. She has purposefully worked at building a solid ideal client base and with this, her business is both stable and happy. Good clients allow you to learn along the way, with them, in partnership, and therein lies even more value in the business relationship. Never stop identifying clients who fit your ideal client criteria as this is how we continue to grow OUR ideal business. What makes these ideal clients choose Lidia?

“When you are honest with people in terms of what you know or don't know, what you can and can't do, coupled with a willingness to find ways to resolve, they respect that. Don't fake it till you make it, don't pretend to be something you are not. Earn respect from the get go through transparency and sincerity."

Strong client relationships have enabled her to continue with a revenue model which is performance based instead of time based. Her clients clearly understand the value she brings to their business and pays for that performance, not for her time spent. “You learn over time what the right mix or formula is for costing of your services, and the value of your time. Realise better ways to price and reach efficiencies whilst delivering value.”

Lidia tries not to lose sight of where she is headed and how she will get herself there. At the onset of each new year she goes through the process of putting her vision on paper as a means to begin actualising it through constant reflection throughout the year. She further facilitates this in smaller chunks by setting weekly goals every Monday that aligns her day to day with where she is headed. “The longer you've run a business, the more clear it becomes as to how time should be divided up between different areas in order to grow.” She is mindful of the multifaceted focus required to make a business successful, from executional work to networking, upskilling, learning, and operations, Lidia invests time wisely into all areas.

“Entrepreneurship is something you inherently feel you want to do. You don't always understand it, especially from a young age, but over time you start to realise and acknowledge it. Sometimes we misunderstand the time it takes to get to a certain point and the importance of persevering and not giving up. There will be a lot of bad days where it is easy to say this isn't for me. But we have to have the tenacity to stick it through because very often things can quickly turn and change for the better. There is always opportunity and always people out there that are like-minded, we just need to find like minded clients and partners who have similar values and processes."

There are always challenges, they come with being an entrepreneur, it is how we deal with them that really counts. Mindset is everything. Sometimes we don't need to work on our business, we need to work on our mindset.”

Wise words Lidia, we thank you for reminding us how our internal thoughts can impact and manifest in our business, something we CAN control and direct more purposefully!

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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