I’m a firm believer that starting at the bottom is essential to your business. It’s what I had to do in order to become a successful freelance writer. At first I worked for free or charged very little to gain writing samples for my portfolio. Once I proved that I could write high-quality content, I was able to increase my rates gradually and work with bigger, more prestigious clients.
Very few people have all the skills they need to be successful when they first go into business for themselves. After all, being an entrepreneur requires different knowledge and expertise than being an employee. You’ll have to learn how to perform tasks you’ve probably never done before, like inventory management and business bookkeeping.
Although there are courses out there that can help you pick up these skills, the best way to learn is by doing. You can’t become a successful entrepreneur by reading a textbook—you have to get out there and start from square one to grow a thriving company. Here are three reasons why starting at the bottom is essential to your business.
Reasons Why Starting at the Bottom Is Essential to Your Company
Starting Small Prevents You From Getting in Over Your Head
Trying to take on too much when you’re just getting started is a recipe for disaster. New companies need to iron out the wrinkles in their operations before they take on big-name clients.
When I first started my freelance writing business in my early twenties, I didn’t have the writing ability or business skills needed to work with top companies yet. Just like an entry-level employee, I needed to take on smaller jobs to sharpen my writing chops and organizational skills so I could deliver high-quality work.
By starting at the bottom like I did, you’ll be able to work out the kinks in your business strategy before you take on big jobs. If you take on large, important projects right away, you could get in over your head. Messing up a crucial project and delivering subpar work can damage your company’s reputation.
Bad reviews can make it harder to get clients in the future. So it’s in your best interest to start small and get a few successful projects under your belt before you go after big-name clients.
Starting at the Bottom Is Essential Because It Helps You Gain Confidence and Testimonials
Another benefit of starting my business from the bottom is it enabled me to build confidence. There’s no way I could’ve pitched The New York Times when I was just starting out. I had major imposter syndrome and was worried I wasn’t a good enough writer to make it my career.
Writing a few articles for free kept the stakes low. I wasn’t as concerned about messing up because money wasn’t changing hands. If the client didn’t like it, they wouldn’t really lose anything but time. Because I was willing to write a few articles for free, I also got great feedback and testimonials. I was able to show these rave reviews to potential clients, which made it easier to land my next gigs.
Starting at the bottom will help you build those essential business connections you need to be successful. Referrals are the lifeblood of every small business. You may need to do a few jobs for free to start building a loyal customer base who will send new business your way. It’s worth it to do a few small, unpaid jobs to establish rapport with well-connected people in your community who can recommend you to others.
I also gained confidence from starting at the bottom. By taking on small jobs at first, I set myself up for success. I was able to deliver high-quality work because I didn’t feel overwhelmed. As a result, my first few clients were very happy with my work and gave me glowing reviews. They helped me realize my work had value, and I started to feel like I was cut out to be a freelance writer. With my newfound self-assurance, I was able to start climbing up the ladder and going after bigger and better opportunities every time.
Bootstrapping Your Business Will Give You a Solid Financial Foundation
Starting at the bottom is essential to your business because it helps you build a solid financial foundation. It’s better to bootstrap your business and avoid debt rather than take on lots of risk and loans at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey.
Building a lean startup enables you to scale gradually over time. You can take the initial profits you earn and funnel them back into the company to get the inventory and equipment you need to expand, all without loans hanging over your head.
Do you believe in the value of starting at the bottom and building your business up from there? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.