Lessons From Month One
Many of you know, my first love at work is teaching. Probably the most fun project of my life: Spell Bot, a spelling game for kids. I’ve kept that passion by building leadership courses and leading mentoring groups. Now I’ve started a company which provides me a unique opportunity to share more broadly and help. So here we go- Blog 1: Making the jump- here’s some pointers for surviving the first month.
I’ve never been one to care much about rumors. I gotta say though one got me this month. A business acquaintance told me he heard on good authority that I was fired for breaking some law or ethics rule (which one he didn’t know). He seemed sad when I told him the much, much blander story. Three friends decided to try building something new. I actually can’t believe how many different stories people have heard. I understand I can’t control rumors. I’d go nuts trying to fix that. Instead we’ve focused on aggressively getting our businesses story out. We’ve met with anyone that had 30 minutes. Along the way we’ve had to work on being clear. . .
We are still playing with the value prop. After passing it out for a week, I realized we didn’t lead with what we actually do. The reader had to get to the third paragraph to even see the words: engineering services. Rewrite time. Clear crisp communication is crucial. We all know that, but this small business thing makes the lesson crystal clear. My advice, spend three times as much effort as you think to get that down.
It’s Gotta Be You
When people hear I started my own thing, they say 1 of 2 things. 1) “You’re brave.” Sure, it’s a big leap, but in our industry, not as much. Worst case: good cleared people can get a job. I’ve been offered several already. But before I ever jumped, I talked to probably 20 people that did this. I was looking for the horror story. I never found one. Not one. Now, it’s not for everyone, but those that did it were all successful on some level.
The other thing people say to me is 2) “How’s your wife feel about this?” If your spouse isn’t on board, you might actually fail. Amanda was pushing me towards this. She owns her business, which makes the discussion simpler. When I say, “It’s gotta be you,” you is plural.
Bonus Lesson - the stuff you don’t know about is easy- Benefits, CAGE code, payroll, legal- it goes quickly and there are companies to help you. The work is in getting employees and contracts. More on that in a future blog.
Month one is over. Month two looks promising.