Reflections on being a Business Owner
Here we are. The end of 2020 and looking down the barrel of 2021. Being a business owner; running an SEO agency there are some interesting things that I've learned in the last few months.
Business Ownership is tough
There is no boss, there are bosses. Each of my clients is essentially my boss. I need to learn how to get them the information they need so they can make decisions. These decisions ultimately affect my workflow.
Fortunately, the way I've set my self up as a "work with you provider" so my clients are also my co-workers in labor. Each of us working together to achieve a common goal.
Knowing who I want to work with allows me to pick better bosses.
Fish, Fix, and Feast. There is never really a time that I am not busy, as a business owner. I'm having to "feed the beast" and keep work coming in. I also need to get the work done, then do the "business stuff." These all seem to need to happen at the same time. So I'm fishing for work, fixin' to get the work done, getting the work done, then having to clean up and get onto the next thing. I'm not complaining, just find it interesting.
So much advice. As I get my marketing up and running, I'm getting solicitations like crazy. I think I could spend a few weeks just following up with people that want to save me money, save me time, and sell me something that adds more clients. I'm glad so many of these people are doing so well.
No, really I'm working! I literally carved out a piece of the house that is my office...but COVID life means that I'm sharing space with the rest of the house, kids included. My co-workers, as I call them, are in pajamas and have their lives intertwined with mine. If you want to know what parenting day-to-day is, work from home.
I know I had some responsibility for my co-workers being on the planet and in my space.
Getting through the noise. Trying to start up a business there are elements that are beyond your control. Knowing what elements you can and can't control is important. Sometimes there is so much competition, or your competitors have created a marketplace that is hard to navigate. Stick to your guns and muster through. At least that's my plan.
Business Ownership is Freeing
I'm my own worse boss. And I'm okay with that. I set the culture and pace in how I work. I also know that there is more to be done and I can push myself to get things completed. I need to pace myself and be okay that I wasn't 374% more efficient than the last day.
I have freedom. Knowing what I can do and offer, allows me to work with people that fit my style. I can take on work that is meaningful and rewarding. I really like helping people get things done.
It makes me think. Onwing a business really makes one think. I have to think about what I am saying, why I am saying it, and who I'm saying it to. Not to mention I really need to know what I am offering, why I am offering it, and what it suppose to do. Fortunate I'm a process-oriented person, so all of this thinking is making a sweet policy and procedures guide.
Business Ownership Must-Haves
A guide. I've had to work hard on building a business that is, well a business. Fortunately, I started a business plan, have a mission statement, purpose statements, values statements, policies, procedures, and contracts. All of this makes this whole thing more of a business. I have something other than myself guiding me through the day to day operation.
Financial Processes. I've got a process for how I invoice people, collect payments, track expenses, monitor financial health, and a few other things that would make a CPA or a bookkeeper happy. Having this in place makes the year-end stuff easier to deal with as we move into the next year.
Clear Contracts. Keep an honest man honest. Contracts should be the barriers from chaos, not slippery ropes to entrap people. Clearly say what you are going to do, when you are going to do it, and how you will get paid. Also, make sure you put in protection from the occasional mishaps that occur.
Peace of Mind. As a business owner, my role is to make sure this thing is on track and is relevant to the needs of the market. When what I do is no longer needed or preferred, I need to recognize that reality and move on. I should enjoy the challenges, troubles, and successes of running a business. Some days it rough, but most of the time it moves me and my life forward.
I hope that anyone reading this, that is also a business owner, knows that there are others out there that are working through the same challenges and opportunities.
Senior-level SEO consultant that enjoys helping businesses learn how to SEO their website since 2007. I have over 20 years of experience helping business owners realize their goals through process development, data-driven decision-making, and simplifying complex processes.