Kristen Edens is a content and branding expert for businesses. The company she initially began to provide freelance copywriting has now evolved to offer a multitude of writing services that help boost brands and audience awareness. Edens also provides coaching for new entrepreneurs and other small business clients that need help building content strategies and shaping business direction.
Why did you start your business?
At a very young age, I started writing down my dreams. I enjoyed that so much, I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I had the support of family until it came time to go to college. I was lovingly advised to pursue something more lucrative because, “You can’t make a living off of writing.” I ended up getting a master’s degree in exercise physiology. I put a lot of money into that. It took me 10 years to find a job. Even then, it was barely above minimum wage. Though I loved my career choice, there was no way I would be able to reach the financial independence I was after.
I decided to go back to writing. At the time, the economy was falling apart. I got divorced. I moved across the country. I realized “now is the time.” I evolved from a very simple introvert copywriter hiding in my office to where I am now, making presentations and speaking at conferences and seminars.
How did you finance the business at the start?
I bootstrapped and bartered all the way.
Managing the Business
How do you manage cash flow?
That was a learning experience. Many clients were uncomfortable paying anything in advance. They would tell me they would pay after the work was done, but then they would refuse to pay anything if they weren’t happy with the work. How do you come back and say, “I’m sorry you’re not happy with it, but you owe me for my time?” I now ask that clients pay upfront in full before I start work for them. I’ve worked that into a letter of agreement before we start working together.
What’s the most challenging thing about running the company?
Doing it all myself. There are so many elements of being a business owner. For example, I have a WordPress website. They just made a massive change to their program. Now, I have to learn the whole thing over again. When do I have the time to do that? It’s the same with SEO and all the new content options. It’s hard to learn and then to keep up with the administrative part of things.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running the company?
The fun of being a business owner. The actual doing of the work that helps other businesses. It’s so energizing to know that I put something together that people really need, use, and appreciate. To know that my clients experience some success in moving in the direction they want to go, that’s satisfying.
What I’ve Learned
What’s the biggest mistake you made when starting out?
My most cringe-worthy mistake was believing that because I was registered with the state and with the county and had created a website that business would start flowing my way. I just sat back and waited for people to knock on my door and tell me they needed my services. That just doesn’t happen. I didn’t realize at that time that you have to constantly push and hustle to attract people to your business and build brand awareness.
What’s the smartest thing you did when starting out?
Just knowing that I had good skills. I knew what I was doing and I was dedicated and determined. It helped not to have a whole lot of money to throw at things because I had to be more decisive in my actions. I had to be resourceful with my money, my time, and my energy, and figure out how to best put those things together.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Create a system to keep contact with all the people you meet and talk with. It just grows and grows. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed, because you’re going to talk to a lot of people and connect with so many people online that express interest at some point. The brain just can’t hold that all, so you need to create a system that makes it easy to follow up. Follow-up is critical.
What’s next for Kristen Edens, LLC?
My writing is gaining attention, so I’m online a lot. Writing, connecting, and sharing are blossoming into beautiful things. I’m getting invited to be on more podcasts and to be a panelist on discussion groups. That helps me build my brand and make people more aware of me. I’m going to probably be expanding into Pinterest and YouTube in the future.