On March 2nd of 2009, I formally filed paperwork with the state of Virginia incorporating my small business. Roughly a month before the interactive agency I worked for, Erickson Barnett, decided to suddenly close its doors after 10+ years. Looking back, I could have done a lot of things differently at different points since founding and I feel like I’ve learned more and more each step of the way.
So each March I try to take a step back and evaluate my last 12 months of entrepreneurship in an attempt to glean any lessons I would relay to my past self. (2011 & 2012)
1. Location Matters Very Little – The choice to move from the D.C. area seems very concerning. How do you broach the subject with clients? How do you finance travel back to D.C. regularly? How will a lack of face time would impact relationships with sub-contractors & your bottom line?
All-in-all, things will change very little. In fact you may feel like you see more of your clients. You’ll force yourself (and others) to use video technology more. You’ll be more efficient about only setting up meetings that matter. Oh yeah, and business will be just fine.
(Side note: did you know there are cities that charge less than $2,000 a month for rent AND offer beers for less than 7 bucks??)
2. International Work is An (exciting) Pain in the Ass – Flashback to college Neil rambling on about how he wants to focus on “international advertising” and “cross cultural communication” in an attempt to convince yourself and the other (predominantly female) advertising students you had a plan for your life.
Congrats Bro – you did it! Now go to sleep because you have a 4 a.m. video conference with Australia and Turkey tomorrow.
3. Without a Process Delegating is Impossible – At some point you may decide you want to get some help on work that are currently doing, you may even want to farm out some tasks that you typically handle yourself (reporting, bookkeeping, etc.). It will be basically impossible to do so because you keep all your processes in your head. Start documenting your workflow, NOW.
All that said, things are real good in 2013. Keep on Keepin On.
p.s. – Hangovers and workout soreness seem to last longer in the future.