It’s nine years since I set up my business Podengo. Yes, it’s been an adventure. One I still love doing. And most years, I celebrate with a ‘whoop’. But this year has been different. To be honest, we’re just happy to still be in business.
Over the past few years, I’ve changed the shape of my business. I’ve gone back to my original vision: running a useful business, that makes people happy and one that gives me the flexibility to be with my family and work anywhere in the world.
If you’re thinking of setting up a business. Do it. Here are a few pearls of wisdom I would share:
Don’t be afraid to stay small. You don’t need to go after big jobs. Just get more of the smaller jobs and do consistent work. The bigger projects will come when you’re good and ready.
Stay close to your vision. Lots of people will advise you to ‘do this’ or ‘do that’. But you do you. If you want to start a business to spend more time with your family, hold on to that. If you’re aiming for world domination. Good luck. That’ll be exhausting though!
Don’t get lost in chasing someone else’s dream (or vision of your business). It’s not worth it.
You’ll enjoy saying ‘no’ more than saying ‘yes’. Trust me on this. As you get involved in business there will be businesses/people that you just won’t work with anymore. It could be simple things such as people moving on or changing. Or not sharing the same values or ethics. Or it could be those annoying niggles, like slow payments. Whatever it is, don’t worry. And if someone isn’t a great fit, just say no. (It feels good to say so).
If doors aren’t opening for you, open them for others. I’ve always tried to help out previous work colleagues, friends or past clients. I try my best to be there for any advice. And if I can connect people, I will definitely do that. I’m a firm believer in good karma. And I believe in building up a solid stock of positive vibes. You never know, that person you helped out, might be there for you further along in your business journey.
Don’t be afraid of the breaks. There are ebbs and flows in business. And that’s cool. Make use of them. No one ever had a good business idea sat at a computer. Go outside for a walk. Take a shower. Have a long bath. These downtimes are the moments when you’ll have the ‘a ha’ moments that keep your business exciting.
Keep your marketing and advertising consistent. It will pay off. Talk about your values and what you love. That’s how people get to know you, and they’ll follow you. Build your tribe. As they say.
I run a market research business, and I’d be bloody silly not to listen to feedback. But trust me, take the feedback. Listen to it. And adapt. You don’t need to act on every piece of feedback. That would be silly. But pay attention to the reoccurring themes and make the best use of them. When you see your business through the eyes of a customer it reveals opportunities and ways to grow.
It’s not about the money. It’s about the time. I started the business to spend more time with my dogs. And when my kids came along, I got to spend more time with them too. And that is better than any amount of money I could ever earn. Remember: ‘Time is a currency you can only spend once, so be careful how you spend it’ (Harmon Okinyo)
I intentionally launched Podengo on ‘May the Fourth’ as I’m a big Star Wars fan. It took a lot of energy to get the business launched (and so much more to keep it going). If you’re at the start of your journey as a business owner, hold strong. Use that force. And remember, if you need to rest. Do it. The force will always be with you.
Drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re launching a business and need any advice. We’re always here.