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My story and lessons learned...

Frederik Daneels

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Feb 21, 2018

I'm Frederik, born in Belgium and living in Hannover (Germany) for the moment. I have been an entrepreneur since 2011 and still going strong. I started my first business after I had my FTE at my job and I knew it was time to chase freedom. The only way out was starting my own business.

Because I have no degree and no skills except for playing football on Sunday, I started as an independent inspector for laminate floorings. I worked for Quick-Step (laminate flooring company) for the past 6 years and I saw investigating flooring complaints as an opportunity to gain freedom. Freedom back then, meant for me two things:
1) Arranging my own agenda, working whenever I want.
2) Deciding how much I will earn for doing this.

Things went difficult in the beginning and it was weird to 'sell myself and my services'. But once I had a client, I knew they couldn't imagine going further without me. Or at least I did my very best to make that happen. If I would give one advice for any new entrepreneur, it would be this. Make sure that you give the best of yourself (or of your product), those first customers do not only build your confidence, but they will also provide more work. People sure love to talk, also when something is really good, trust on it that they will spread the word.

So I went further on my entrepreneurial quest and I finally felt free. I was in control of my own agenda and work kept coming in, making more money than I ever did before. And then I failed..

What happened was that my business grew and I lost control. I didn't know anything about how to stay in control and how important that is. I said 'yes' to any request, ending up with a full agenda packed with deadlines. Result: gone freedom, chaos ruled and I ended up frustrated and on the verge of being burnt-out.

After three years of being my own boss, I decided to pause and take a break to look back on everything that went wrong and went well. I noticed that serving the customer with top quality, with top value will cause a positive snowball effect. I also noticed that when you can't say no to customers, you will end up in situations you don't want to be in.

From then on, I made a fresh start from scratch supporting companies with administrative stuff, no more floorings (which I was convinced back then that it was my only option to chase freedom).

I use the same strategy as with my first business. Get a client, based upon perceived value and then giving more than they could have imagined, without having to cross my own limits. Why is this important? Let me tell what happened just a week ago:

I had a day where I had planned two meetings with two potential new customers. One potential client (Bobby) had found me through the advise of another client of mine. The other one was a person (Patrick) who I had met some time ago. When I spoke with Bobby, the deal was closed on forehand, he just wanted to get to know me and how we could work together. The other client, Patrick, wanted a full description, wanted guarantees, had so much demands and made me even feel like I was defending my business in order to make a sale.

When I came home that day, and took the time to contemplate what had happened, I knew, that Patrick wasn't the right client in the first place. But I also knew, that a good productocracy doesn't even need selling, it sells itself. Marketing and having a good preparation for a sales talk will however improve the speed of growing or reaching people.

Please make sure that you are ready for a productocracy, because things tend to get really fast and you want to be prepared for the storm. Growing will show all your weak points in your structure, growing will put you to the test. This is where we all want to be, where the magic happens.

I have read the book Unscripted and a lot of the huge knowledge that is in there, I have found out the hard way. It is incredible that MJ DeMarco is spreading the word how to become unscripted by becoming an entrepreneur with a meaning and a purpose.

Even though it would have been such a big help had I found this book a little bit earlier, I am still thankful to have found my way here. I am looking forward to being amongst fellow entrepreneurs, sharing knowledge and learning so much more. See you around :)
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