April 28, 2020 Eóin Kearney

10 Things I have learned

Working for myself and other people

Over the years I have held an array of jobs and, for the next generation, it appears this will be the norm. For me, I believe this has been hugely positive as it has given me a fantastic opportunity to learn and apply my skills across numerous industries and roles.

Here are 10 things I have learned working for myself and other people:

The secret is to not look at this negatively or as a failure, but as an opportunity to push and better yourself to do something you will truly love and enjoy.

01. Don’t tell your customer what they need, ask them. Most importantly, be honest.

Most customers dislike the sales process because they feel they are in a situation they can not control and are being sold something they do not want. Turn it around, ask the customer about their needs and understand how you can help solve their problem. It seems simple, but this is often disregarded or ignored for increased sales numbers. Developing trust with your customer will yield more sales in the long run.

02. Don’t just sell a product or service, make sure you deliver an experience.

Customers are people too, so remember, the experience you deliver along with your product or service defines your brand. The interaction before, during and after the sale is what will set you apart from everyone else. Recently, I read the following comment on an Instagram post and it really resonated with me:

“If you buy from somebody that is passionate about their craft, you will get something amazing in return that will stand the test of time!”

For me, this goes beyond the actual product or service, it is about the trust and relationship that can be created in the process.

03. With business customers (B2B), take the time to work with them and help them sell your product.

If you oversell to a customer chances are the product will end up sitting on the shelf and no one wins. By taking the time to help them move your product they will need to order more. Classic sales mentality is all about targets and to try and get the biggest order you can. Which, in my opinion, can be detrimental. People forget B2B sales is about the long-game. Even if your first order is only one or two items, it gives you the perfect opportunity to support your customer and help them sell through that order. Over time, by building the relationship on trust and support, what initially seemed like a small order could increase exponentially.

04. Not every job can be completed in the same way. Both people and their roles are all different so make sure you are open to things being done differently.

We all have our opinions on how things should be done. Yet, life is not a one size fits all, especially when it comes to individual tasks. So, if you believe in hiring people that are better than you, you need to let them BE better than you. Just because something has worked before doesn’t mean it will work again. So make sure you don’t dismiss someone’s style of approach until you have given it a fair chance. Stop trying to fit square pegs in round holes.

05. Just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean you have to do it.

Unfortunately, we can all become victims of our own success, typecast, or pigeon-holed, if you will. So good at something that we are not afforded other opportunities. Although some people can be lucky and ultimately very happy if such a case arises, others may feel trapped and/or frustrated. It is very important to be aware of this scenario both for yourself and others whom you may, unknowingly, put in this situation.

Because of this, I will always ask my team – “Besides your day to day tasks, what else interests you and what would you like an opportunity to try?”

06. Make sure to know your own worth and don’t take your skills for granted.

When I first worked for myself, I was often offered jobs that would give me ‘great exposure’ in return for a lower pay-rate. Or, a client would suggest a particular job would only take 10 minutes. I’ll let you in on a little secret, it never takes 10 minutes. Even if it could be done within that time, remember – you are not being paid for the 10 minutes it takes. You are being paid for all the time and effort you have invested, beforehand, which enables you to do it in 10 minutes.

This led me to sometimes second guess myself because what I was doing seemed too simple and straightforward. In reality, it was only simply because of all the hard work, education and experience I had built up over numerous years doing what I do. To someone outside my field, it was extremely complicated.

07. Never ask someone to do a job you wouldn’t do yourself.

This is all about respect. In the time of coronavirus, the tables have changed considerably. Workers who have been looked down on by those who think they are above everyone else are the very people keeping society together in these pressing times. But this goes beyond what people consider menial jobs. It applies to times where you may put someone in a difficult situation or give them more than they can handle. Always be aware of what you are asking someone to take on.

08. Get others to work with you, not for you.

The best bosses I have had, have generally played more of a mentor role, they included me in the adventure. The ones that keep you up-to-date with decisions and important information, ones that share their knowledge because they want to, not because they have too. They eliminate the ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality by creating and encouraging two-way communication; by developing an open, safe workplace built on trust, personal development and support.

09. Remember you are not always aware of external factors affecting your coworkers or staff.

Before you make any harsh decisions or confront someone for a particular issue, make sure you understand what may have caused the issue in the first place. While the person may seem to be 100% at fault, there may be other factors at play. Simply taking the time to ask and understanding the whole situation will lead to more positive results.

10. Finally, no salary or job is worth your physical/mental health.

Plain and simple. If you are not happy, you need to change your situation. Easier said than done, right? The options you think you have, however, may not be the only ones. Similar to the previous point, make sure to take a step back and look at the entire situation. If your job is impacting your physical and/or mental health, you need to get out.

Reach out to people you trust and if necessary, to someone who can help/advise in a professional capacity. Sometimes all it might take is letting the right person know how you feel. Things you may see as barriers may actually be the opposite. The secret is to not look at this negatively or as a failure, but as an opportunity to push and better yourself to do something you will truly love and enjoy.

Eóin Kearney

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, I bring with me a huge passion for innovation, strategic marketing, and design. Currently based in The Netherlands, I’ve also been fortunate to have lived and worked in both the U.S. and France. If this article helps please get in touch.