• Ashley Cannard

From Customers to Clients: My Personal Journey

This week is a little different. I want to talk to you about my personal journey from customers to clients...

If you've been thinking about or have already started trying to launch your own business, then this is the article for you!

So many of us (attention all #Millennials) have worked retail. Some of you may actually enjoy it, while some of you probably can't wait to get out!

CAUTION: I'm gonna get REAL with you guys!

Now don't get me wrong, I've worked tons of retail jobs, even after getting my degree. And for me, it sucked. I always felt unaccomplished, "less-than," and truthfully, embarrassed. Why? Who knows. There's nothing embarrassing about working in retail or in the food industry. A job is a job, and money is money. But I always knew I wanted more.

I knew I wanted to have clients, even at a young age.

And I knew I'd have a lot of hard work ahead of me in order to get that. So, I sat down (on my 30 min. break at my retail job, of course) and thought about what it meant and how I would get there.

I came up with this simple equation:

Retail = Customers

Business = Clients

I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and have had many failed ventures, trust me (it's a learning experience). But I figured out right then and there that in order to graduate from customers to clients, I needed a game plan.

So, amidst all my failed businesses and the discouragement that accompanied them, I learned that it was indeed possible. All I had to do was fail to win. As I continued to grow, learn, experience new things, get a higher education, I started to truly realize what my strengths and weaknesses were. I could recognize in myself the things that I was good at and enjoyed, and the things I didn't enjoy and wasn't good at.

Fast forward a few years...

I graduated college, applied to the marketing department ANYWHERE they'd hire me, and guess what, I failed. No one could see in me what I saw in myself. No one gave me the chance to get the experience I wanted and desperately needed.

As the saying goes, "You need experience to get experience."

So I took various jobs as an admin and forced my way in to the marketing and communication departments, offering help whenever and wherever needed. I tried so hard. So yes, I got some experience, but never the title, never the paycheck, never the accounts, never the clients.

Fast forward to last year...

I knew I had the the drive and the willingness to do what I loved, but most importantly, I knew deep down that I had what it took to create the experience for myself. So, I started my own business. I know I'm good at what I do. I know that I provide value and results for my clients. I know that everything I've done and everything that I've gone through means something. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.

So for me, the journey from customer to client has been a rocky road, but a beautiful one. I couldn't be happier. The life of an entrepreneur/solopreneur has its ups and downs, but c'est la vie (such is life). If you want something bad enough, you will make it happen, no matter what.

And to tell you the truth, retail will always be there. Admin jobs will always be there. If I have to supplement my income when times get tough, best believe I'll go get a part-time job. I don't want to, but I will.

So, if nothing else, I want to encourage you to keep at it. Even if you feel like no one supports you, or you're an imposter, or you just don't have what it takes, keep going.

Something to think about...

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