Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.
Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.
Below is our interview with Neely Raffellini, Founder at 9 to 5 Project:
What does your company do?
At 9 to 5 Project, we help clients with the tools they need to land the job they want. That can be anything from career coaching to resume writing to interview practice. 9 to 5 Project is a registered company in the state of Vermont, but we are entirely virtual and have the privilege of working with clients from all over the world. Our clientele is mostly female, but we’ve had a lot of male clients, too.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I wouldn't trade my earlier corporate experience for anything, but now my mind works like an entrepreneur – I’m always thinking about solving problems. I founded 9 to 5 Project in 2016 after running some other businesses – web design, resume writing, and a crowdfunding site. I enjoy seeing people’s confidence increase when they discover their ideal career path or finally have a resume that they feel reflects their accomplishments. That is one of the best parts of my job!
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
A few years ago I read a business book, and the central message was this: as an entrepreneur, you can’t get caught up in the details of your business, you have to set up systems to run a successful business. It’s a challenge because as a small business owner, you are operating as the head of each department. I try to keep that in mind and work on outsourcing small tasks that take up time and save my energy for the ones that matter to my business.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
I try hard not to look back and have regrets. But, I would tell myself to listen to feedback thoughtfully and outsource more tasks from the beginning. For example, even though I am capable of designing and programming websites, it’s very time-consuming. Outsourcing a job like this would free up a lot of time to concentrate on more important things like finding my ideal clients. I would also spend more time building my email mailing list. Even though I’m realizing now that that is something I should have starting doing earlier, I think the sign of a smart business owner is one who is willing to make adjustments and learn, which is what I’m doing now.