The marketing research and insights industry is constantly changing, which can be exciting for individuals looking to start a new business. Markets and consumers are always evolving and staying ahead of the trends requires a deep understanding of industry best practices, as well as a willingness to look to the future and think outside of the box. 

To better understand how insight industry entrepreneurs are navigating the challenges of owning a business, we checked in with a variety of business owners – from newbies to industry veterans – to learn about their personal experiences. 

While being your own boss may sound freeing, the reality is it takes a lot of hard work. But, as many of the business owners we spoke with pointed out, the hard work is worth it because of the flexibility and sense of purpose it brings. 

“I define my business vs. a job description defining me,” said Nancy Cox. “This grants me the flexibility to both refine and expand.”

Aaron Cruikshank echoed this, pointing out that you shouldn’t launch and scale a business for “money and freedom.” 

“It's a terrible way to get rich and have loads of free time,” said Cruikshank. “I look at the rewards more as having the freedom to work on what I want to work on rather than how much I work.”

We received a variety of advice from marketing research business owners and felt it helpful to break it down into five key tips – from networking (nearly everyone mentioned the importance of finding mentors and fostering a strong network) all the way to being OK with making mistakes. While this list is far from exhaustive, we hope it sparks more dialogue within the research community. 

Creating and fostering a business network was the advice we heard most when talking with marketing research business owners. 

By focusing on networking early on, entrepreneurs can not only make better decisions and avoid potential mista...