Going Solo – Lessons Learned

A year down the line from having gone solo after many years in corporate estate agency, it’s surreal to consider my former blue-suited work life, working for one of the big three. I am grateful for my time there, as it enabled me to move on to create Rose & Partners, but I am also extremely glad I took the plunge and no longer wear that suit!

When you’re in any fast-paced corporate business and in the thick of it, you believe that there is no life outside of it and that the grass won’t be any greener. Maybe it’s some sort of corporate brainwash, ensuring that everyone is fearful of a life outside and therefore you don’t dream of it or dare to do it?!

Desperately clutching onto a basic salary and structured commission, many of us want to make the jump, but don’t quite have the courage to do so. This is fine when the going is good and the markets are providing the wind behind our sails, but that era is sadly and most definitely over and the security is no longer there.

I felt the chill approaching and I knew it was ‘now or never’, for me. Changes in market conditions and commission structures made self-employment far more appealing than lining others’ pockets. Was this a risk? Yes, for sure, but it was undoubtedly a calculated one.

The actual decision to leave was pretty straightforward in the end and the timing was gifted to me through the unexpected Brexit result, which instantly stalled the markets and changed my thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all been a bed of roses, it took a good six months to mobilise an instruction base that converted to actual Sales. And, of course, I had a few of those sleepless nights that many self-employed folk have. However, established business owners told me it would take up to two years to build consistent momentum and viability, which sounds about right, but I’m confident I am on the right track.

Lessons Learned

I’ve been approached by several former colleagues asking me what it’s like on the other side and I’ve been brutally honest. There are positives and negatives of course, but I’m very glad I took the plunge and I’ve learned a lot over the last year, summarised in seven key points below:

  1. Clients value individuals and personal relationships, not brands

  2. Relationships and trust take time to nurture. Rome wasn’t built in a day…

  3. Knowing and highlighting your USP is essential. This is your power tool

  4. Stick to what you do best, don’t try to be all things to all people

  5. Define your core activities and stick to them. You need to be clear about your offer

  6. Develop a network of like-minded professionals with specialisms to take care of other client needs

  7. Never make enemies or burn bridges wherever possible. You never know when you might need help or a lifeline from a former colleague

If you’re considering a move to the other side, and would like a confidential chat, do give me a call.

Simon Rose