Approximately one year ago I typed out a hail Mary e mail with tears in my eyes. My small business want generating enough income to feed my family (that was probably an unrealistic expectation for 6 months in business but nevertheless required). My e mail was a desperate plea for help to a mentor.
He tried to help and I’m grateful, but a Christmas miracle is what saved me (for which I am similarly grateful).
Now, a year later… well… It’s not exactly prosperous but there is at least something to take home at the end of each month. And enough cash to keep the enterprise going. I suppose there have been a few lessons learned that are worth writing down as well.
1. The hardest thing is to quit fucking around and work. Without a “boss” it’s very easy to spend the whole day slacking off. Perhaps even easier is spending the whole day doing things that look like work but aren’t. As the owner, the job is to a) make sure the product/service is timely delivered to the paying customer/client, and b) bring in new paying customers/client’s. Actually, point a) is probably more aptly characterized as a component of point b). Every second that you are not spending on these two activities is a second that you are not making money.
2. If you aren’t making money you’re losing money. With every second that passes your enterprise is using electricity, internet, (probably) heat, and other resources. I’m addition to scheduled breaks employees are susceptible to the same distractions as you but you still have to pay for that time. If you aren’t doing something always to generate revenue then cash is flowing out the door.
3. It’s already tomorrow; it’s already next week; it’s already next month; it’s already next quarter; it’s already next year. Putting things off means the next lowest priority needs to be put off and pretty soon everything gets pushed back. Pretty soon the sales you wanted to make this month won’t close until next month, which means next months sales will get pushed back as well. In the long run that will hurt.
4. Vacation. Nope. As an employee the place where you work could burn to the ground while you’re away and you could shrug your shoulders and start looking for a new job. As the owner, even if you take time off you need to make sure the place is still standing when you get back. Count on having a crisis the moment you walk out the door.