Shawn Freeman is an entrepreneur, a personable geek, and the founder of IT services company TWT Group Inc., based in Calgary, Canada. He founded the company to make IT simple instead of infuriating. TWT has seen significant growth since its inception and is now serving more than 100 clients. Follow him at @shawn_freeman.
Who’s your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
“Shawn, you need to focus.”
After hearing that, I focused as hard as I could on where I wanted my business to go. I figured out exactly what I wanted to do (ditch the corporate ladder and run my own company) and pursued it with everything I had. I’d always had a lot of ideas, but this advice really helped me form something concrete.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
My company, TWT Group, has taken on clients and projects that didn’t go smoothly. In a few cases, we actually messed up big time. We learned a lot from these experiences, including that people are forgiving, it’s vital to take responsibility and you should always figure out a plan to fix your mistake and deliver.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I relax and check in with my team. I try not to book any meetings out of the office during that time. It helps ground me for the day and makes sure I’m on top of any pressing issues before I get distracted by emails and client calls.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Pay your bills as soon as you get them. This might be against your accountant’s advice, but you if you do, you’ll never have to worry about what you owe or going out of business because of debt. Also, work with good people, including clients who will pay you on time.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Stop being patient. Good things come to those who wait, which are only the things left by those who hustle.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I’ve already succeeded. I have a company I love to wake up to run. It lets me work with great people — both clients and employees — and have the flexibility to do anything I want, like travel. I can manage my business from my cell phone and my laptop.
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