5 Lessons Learned From a 7-Figure Founder

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Success doesn’t happen by chance. Often, entrepreneurs wear many hats coupled with consistency, habits and strategic decisions. While founders usually find fulfillment in building a business from the ground up, the road to success can be challenging and full of hurdles. There will be moments of doubt, and you will question whether it is all worth it or if it’s time for you to give up hope.

These five lessons, which put me in a position to start a company and scale my business quickly, are the ones I wished someone had given me when I was just starting out a few years ago.

Related: I Wish I Knew These Four Things Before Starting My Own Business

1. Niche down

Entrepreneurs want to be a jack of all trades. But now more than ever, niching down on your expertise and target audience will help you become an expert and keep you top of mind.

As a founder, I decided to shift the majority of my conference attendance to events specifically in the healthcare industry since a large portion of our PR clients are in the healthcare space. This helped me speak with my target audience much more intimately, as I’ve taken the time to get to know their problems and provide them with personalized and data-driven solutions.

2. Hire a coach

Early this year, I hired one of my business coaches, Lauren Powers, through Pinnacle Global Network. She is also in the agency space and has experience helping founders scale past nine figures. I was able to quickly get deep expertise without having to learn hard lessons or go through a bunch of different options before figuring out what financially works. She also helped me to see where there were other revenue opportunities within my business I was missing out on.

I also hired an acquisition coach who specifically helps agencies acquire other agencies. I’ve been on the other side of dozens of M&As but have never executed the strategy for an agency. I want expert advice that condenses knowledge into precisely what I need at the moment so my brain isn’t clouded by information that wouldn’t be relevant right now.

Hiring a business coach with years of expertise can provide you with deep insights into achieving exponential growth and discovering untapped revenue opportunities without prolonged trial-and-error periods, which can save you time and resources.

Related: 21 Lessons I Swear By After 21 Years as an Entrepreneur

3. Offer free work

When you’re starting out, the stakes can be high, and companies may be hesitant to take a chance on newcomers, so offering to work for free in areas where you want to gain experience can open doors to a lot of opportunities.

There have been many times I worked for free early on in my career just to gain experience and not feel the pressure to get something else in return just because I knew I had to navigate new and unknown territories. By offering my time, I got a seat at the table during high-stakes transactions and learned firsthand how the private equity and VC space worked.

Today, I’m one of the most sought-after media advisors, so it’s definitely paid off hugely. Sometimes, the experience and connections you gain are worth more than the immediate paycheck.

4. Prioritize opportunities over pay

Some incredible companies can’t offer high salaries, but pursuing sought-after roles, even with a pay cut, has always benefited me.

A few years after passing my Series 7, I was recruiting for a job with a significantly higher title that would involve doing things within leadership I hadn’t been exposed to yet. The catch? It was at a less glamorous company with lower pay and benefits. I still chose the position for its opportunities and growth potential.

After about a year and a half, I was promoted to a new position that doubled my original asking salary because the company saw the value and results I brought. During my tenure, I learned more about broker-dealers than I could have ever studied or experienced at my previous company.

5. Read, read, read!

Successful entrepreneurs are often voracious readers. At any given time, I’m ready for 4-5 books on the topics I’m looking to dig deep into. Books still hold tremendous value, whether on audible or paperbacks, which I personally still prefer.

I’ve always found it’s best to learn from several people through various mediums. If you rely on other people to train you or provide you with the education you need, you’re limited to their perception and methodology of the subject matter.

Related: 8 Important Lessons From Leading Entrepreneurs

Holding a strong hand makes all the difference in entrepreneurship. This means leveraging available resources — no matter how seemingly trivial — to strategically build and accelerate your competitive edge. While it is a calling, entrepreneurship is also a skill honed through consistency and intention. It’s never a lucky break. It’s about smart bets and hunger for knowledge. It’s about turning every setback into a learning experience. In this competitive industry, playing the game of strategy will help you thrive.

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