By Tim Hayes

This past Friday, November 1st, marked the 13th anniversary of my consultancy.  For some reason, I feel especially fortunate marking this yearly milestone in the history of my practice.  Turns out 13 really is my lucky number.  In celebration, I wanted to share 13 observations – major lessons learned since heading down this particular career path on Nov. 1, 2000.

Do what you love – An obvious and time-tested piece of advice, but one that cannot be denied.  I love to write, I love to work with people, and I love the variety that a practice like mine presents.  It’s been fantastic, which makes it less like work all the time.

Find ways to expand doing what you love – Speechwriting has always been a special niche, but when I began marketing speechwriting’s cousin, presentation skills coaching, the opportunities to serve new and existing clients grew in wonderful ways.  Derivatives of your passion can become new passions.

Speak to college classes – You forget how much you know until you prepare for a presentation to a group of eager, wet-behind-the-ears college kids.  Their inquisitiveness and energy can be quite contagious.

Cultivate mentors and peers who will level with you – The value of professional camaraderie cannot be overstated.  Having a circle of friends whose opinion you respect, because they will tell you the truth and give you constructive advice, has been invaluable.

Help other entrepreneurs without expecting anything back – Just as other people helped you during the early years of uncertainty and discovery, when all you could give them in return was your sincere thanks, it’s incumbent to pay it forward when the requests for advice and assistance come to you.

Operate from a foundation of faith – Everything we have, or achieve, or offer to clients, comes from a higher source.  When you recognize that, and give thanks for these gifts, wonderful rewards can result.

Find a good accountant and never leave – We work for lots of varied reasons, but earning money is the great leveler.  A trustworthy and accomplished accountant is a joy forever, because he knows how to protect your hard-earned dollars.  (Thanks, Ron.)

Trust people to do the right thing – Okay, I’ll admit I’ve been scorched a time or two by doing this, but in the overwhelming scheme of things, following this advice has led to ongoing peace and on-time payment.

Do good work at a fair rate – In the end, all any of us has is our reputation.

Take care of your most faithful clients – The call always gets taken.  The answer always is yes.  Treat them to lunches.  Offer up new ideas.  Show and tell how much you appreciate their loyalty.

Treasure your children – When I started this, my kids were in elementary school.  Now we have two in college and one about to start.  They have always been so wonderful about letting me work when I needed to – even when, in the early days, my workstation sat in a corner of their playroom.  Thanks, K, J, and C.  You are the greatest, and I love you so much.

Recognize the blessing of a loving and supportive spouse – Making this leap 13 years ago required courage, confidence, and conviction.  Thank God I’m married to a woman with enough of those qualities for both of us.  And I do.  Every day.  I love you, Dear.  I’m so happy to be your partner forever.

Enjoy the ride – I used to hit the panic button at the first sign of slowdowns or trouble.  No more.  Nobody gets the benefit of a straight line, ever moving upward.  Weird stuff happens.  People change their minds.  Budgets get cut.  But if you treat people right, no matter what may occur, it comes back to you even better.  Relax, keep the faith, do what needs to be done to right the ship.  It always comes around, most times stronger than before.

Lastly, there’s a plaque in my office, placed where I can squarely see it every day, that simply states, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  And it is, and has been for the past 13 years.  Thanks to everyone who has helped make it so.  I’m looking forward to many more years of valued relationships and of providing my very best service to you.

Happy Anniversary!

Copyright 2013 Tim Hayes Consulting