This wasn’t in the brochure? Biggest challenges so far

This wasn’t in the brochure? Biggest challenges so far

The fact is, for all the literature that’s out there on starting a business, being an entrepreneur, and running a startup – there’s a shitload you’re not going to know, or can even prepare to know. The bobsled I’ve tied myself into has been careening from side-to-side, with ever new challenges, ups and downs, and an almost-kaleidoscopic level of dynamism. Questions like what’s your business plan? Continue to confound me.

The numbers

Yet, when I pull the numbers for what I have been the business has been pulling in, in its first four months, the numbers are very promising. I’m not quite at the stage of WPCurve, who share their monthly numbers. But in true HackDigital.net fashion, I’ve penned a graph:

biz_graph1That’s about two-thirds of what I what I pulled at Google over the same amount of time

That’s right. Forgoing a company salary and working on a business hasn’t lead to me starving completely, and with a pipeline that’s growing, and the potential to use my previous customer’s experiences to on-sell and clarify what I do, the future has potential for HackDigital.net.

Biggest challenges so far

It’s a great start, but there have been some major bananas thrown our way. Here’s just a few of the curlers that have kept the path bending and uncertain.

  • I got sick This wasn’t in the brochure. I felt the lurgy, and before I knew it I was close to being knocked out of action. I persevered and some of it fell on the weekend, but when you’re currently a one-man-show – being sick isn’t really an option. Having it suggested to me that I head home for the day from a customer was a big low-point.
  • My website was non-functional for about three weeks This one is a lesson learned. I outsourced the redesign of my site to Elto.com, and in the kick-off it was asked whether I wanted the site on a staging site, I thoughtlessly said no – just make the changes live. The subsequent three weeks as I saw my online real estate half-baked was infuriating, but also taught me a lot about being cognisant of delivery times, and dealing with remote workers.
  • Juggling new business versus existing business At the end of January, I was happy with my first customer, but had the challenge of needing to find new customers as well. Hustle is as hustle does, and I picked up two more customers while tapering off my first.
  • Hey! This wasn’t in the brochure? And life happens. I’ve been trying to juggle the workload versus hustle versus enjoyment and I’ve fucked up a few times (see: I got sick). This is an ongoing learning curve for me and knowing there’s a benefit in down-time versus actually resting is a continuous challenge.

You make it work

Like I’ve said in earlier entries, I’m not sure I would have gone in with all that I know now. In fact I’d have to be pretty ballsy indeed. My buffer has been stretched and going in with some debt was a big (not fatal) mistake. With that in mind I’ve been keeping my Plan Bs and other strategies to ensure that it’s nipped in the bud. I’ve learned a tremendous amount over the last four months and each new challenge forces me to make things work. We’ll see how long it keeps working!