SDS presentation-creationI decided to go out on my own for a few reasons. First of all, being employed by others wasn’t working for me.  I was too independent and strong willed to do what others wanted me to do an a consistent basis. My bosses from younger years called me a workhorse and a great worker. By my mid-20s I knew I was a capable person and needed to be my own boss.  Secondly, I listened to many speakers and trainers and simply felt I could do it better. And, finally, while on my knees in prayer for an hour each night – discouraged about my work situation – I had a vision of myself as a professional speaker, trainer and coach. I pursued the vision and trusted that was the right path for me, no matter how impossible it looked financially to start my own business.

Here are a few things I wish I had known then:

  1. How to perpetuate longer working relationships with clients.  Back in the 1980s and 90s I kept training clients – or they kept me – for two to three years.  And as my worked evolved towards speaking at conventions, the engagements usually weren’t gigs you would get several years in a row.  I DID often get a repeat performance with these clients.  These days I’m able to serve clients in such a way that they use me repeatedly for several years.  I have some that have utilized my services regularly for seven to ten years.
  2. The value of having books, videos and other products to sell.  Products make you money even when you’re sleeping.  I had a Customer Service training video that sold a number of copies in the 1990s, but that was the extent of it.  These days I have the ten-part online Drinon Leadership Express series and Part 1 of my new Rich’s Rules for Leadership Excellence, Engagement & Achievement. 
  3. How difficult it is to build an organization. When I expanded my company for other speakers, trainers and entertainers, it got off to a good start.  Unfortunately, due to several misadventures in the early stages, I was never able to get the business profitably into orbit.  I was able to sell many bookings for other speakers who were happy to have the work, but not able to produce enough engagements fast enough to turn the corner and make it profitable.

Otherwise, I have no regrets because I’ve been able to do what I want on my own terms 24-7-365 for the biggest part of the past 30 years.

That answers Q#4:   Why did you decide to go out on your own?  And what do you wish you had known then that you know now?