It has officially been one year since we started our freelance retail advisory firm. We where overwhelmed with the number of people who wished us well as Linkedin flashed our anniversary to our connections last week.
It has been a challenging but fulfilling year as we navigate the world of starting something new. Here are six key insights we thought we would share with you:
1) There are great freelancers out there – our hypothesis that there are numerous, high quality retail and vendor freelancers out there was proven true. Over 50 advisors have joined since we launched our website and started marketing in January.
2) We have led some exciting projects to start – since our inception we have had the opportunity to lead a few engagements that have been very positive. We have been able to assist our clients with knowledge and expertise that has driven significant ROI for them and we feel like we are starting to add value in the marketplace. In one case, we were able to save a client over $ 2M in cost in a matter of weeks.
3) It is going to take time to get to critical mass – we have read a great deal about the sharing economy, marketplaces and network effects and realize it will probably take three to five years for our firm to get to critical mass. For many investors this is too long a time horizon to generate reasonable returns. We are unique in that we are the investors and have given ourselves a 15 year time horizon to start, build and then harvest returns from this venture.
4) It’s not for the faint of heart – as some of you know, starting your own business is not for everyone. It can be incredibly stressful if you are spending your own money while waiting for the phone to ring for that first big project. There are times when you doubt your vision and you must persevere through these moments. It can be an emotional roller coaster that affects not only yourselves but your families and friends. Hang on tight!
5) Watch out for the “takers” – sadly, there are people and companies out there that try to take advantage of entrepreneurs. Some people try and get something for nothing and think you should advise them at no charge. There are also numerous companies who try to scam small business into buying unneeded services or subscribing to low value add monthly system or marketing solutions. Buyer beware.
6) It still feels right – based on what we have read on the sharing economy, trends in freelancing and people we have spoken to, it all still feels right. We are 100% committed to the vision. This is not a given with every new venture. This drives us to forge ahead and work through the many barriers, setbacks and challenges as we build something special for our clients, advisors and ourselves.
We thank all of our clients, advisors and other people who have given us advice over the last year.
Tony Whitehouse & Bruce Winder
Co-Founders & Partners
Retail Advisors Network™
Signup up on our website to receive blogs directly to your email