Things I learned 12 months into starting my own business… Part 1

I’ve been pretty busy since August 2020 rolled by. My day job went into full swing, I was still missing all the wonderful people in Boston, and I finally took the plunge to start my own company.

When I first started, I knew that I wanted to do something meaningful, like what my friend Nate decided to do. I was also inspired by the Lyssa and Lauren at Metter Media, where I worked at during my time in Boston, who found a way to tell stories on digital for local businesses.

I also knew that I didn’t want to *just* do food. It’s not that I got bored with the F&B industry. It’s really just that being too close to food, and doing just one industry type, felt stifling. I could see myself getting tired if I just did F&B.

By the time I figured all this out and figured out the logistics of what I’d do, it was already October. I set up PRVDCE, and made a few calls to a few old friends…

Shoutout to Jacq from FifthMarch for the Logo!

Which brings us all the way here to September 2021. A yuuuggggeee election had occurred, COVID-19 vaccines were created, Christmas, New Year and Lunar New Year had come and gone.

PRVDCE had the fortune of growing its client base, and I got my wish of going from just doing F&B to leaping into healthcare. With 4 accounts forming a pretty sturdy base, what did I learn?

All Roads Lead Back To You

top view photography of roads
Photo by Ian Beckley on Pexels.com

I think its a good thing, even as I suspect that this is a large reason why people who run their own businesses get extremely stressed out.

What I realised about doing this is that the job isn’t just to convince people you’re worth the money. The job is about convincing others, and yourself, that everything will happen according to your plan, then making sure they do. This bleeds into all the smaller things happening on the job:

  • Paying people on time
  • Making sure you give clear instructions
  • Vetting copy, photography and videography
  • Settling accounts
  • Handling clients
  • Managing timelines
  • Rinse & Repeat

If you’re leading a small business, everything above leads back to you. It felt exceptionally stressful the first few months, especially with the deluge of client working coming in. It was an endless cycle of just squeezing in more work within the same time until I realised that it was a good thing to have everything lead back to me if I knew who could help me shorten every process I was handling. I still had to be aware, but I didn’t have to do it alone, which leads me to the next thing…

Finding Partners

Don’t get me wrong: Finding Partners isn’t about merging with other companies or getting other stakeholders. That’s great, but that’s much further down the line. Finding partners here is about tapping into your developed network for talented individuals that vibe with you.

The last part is bolded because it’s the most critical part of the entire chain: Get people that you feel comfortable enough to work with, talent-wise and behaviour-wise. Some entrepreneurs are more flexible than others, while some people just need a more structured context to deliver. Whatever your style, get someone that fits into that vibe of yours.

For me, that means: If they’re good, but I can’t stand their lack of punctuality in delivering work, I drop them. If they’re smart, but can’t seem to understand how to approach the creative, drop them. If they’re incompetent but nice to me, I still have to drop them.

I bet some of you are asking “yeah but how do you get them?” My process is really simple:

  1. Open Instagram and start scrolling. People invariably post about work, hobby or interests. They may also share their friend’s work.
  2. I react to a story, drop a comment, and re-introduce myself in a genuine manner.
  3. Start explaining what I’m looking for, and ask for interest.
  4. Now repeat this, but on Facebook. Ditto for Whatsapp or telegram, although I only use that in group chats that I’m active in.

You probably won’t get someone immediately, but what you’re doing is re-establishing connections to people who knew you once and possess a skill you’re willing to pay for. Have a conversation on text, do a phone call or have coffee with them. You’ll get to know your talent better, and build friendships along the way!

When I first started writing this post, I thought I’d be able to finish it in one part. It does look like I’ll need to break this up into more pieces, so keep an eye out for part 2! Until then… Remember to Meander Safely!

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