You will probably have to do the same, in your own way
Early on in my first serious infliction to start my own business online it was a whole new world where I did not know where to start. already having experience with light experimentation on social media as most people do, albeit more of a computer person since the early 90s layered on top of that. I did have some experience working as a door-to-door peddler, as well as a marketing business director’s assistant, but I hadn’t really looked into it too seriously outside of being delegated work from various freelance contracts in person and online.
Taking The Educational Path
I started to put two and two together to form what could be a business. With daily strategizing, planning, learning, studying, researching all the while working on a project I thought could show my prowess. During this process I decided to level up my credentials by obtaining a certification in a topic I was already strong in but never learned formally. I prepared for my Photoshop CC certification by finding some free preparation materials for an old CS4 test and teaching a compatriot how to use Photoshop based on those materials. On top of this I brushed myself up on my own skills and made sure to, although at the last minute, review all the added features and changes of the current version of Ps CC in the manual.
This last step ironically proved to be the most impactful, but I suppose those last 30-60 minutes wouldn’t have been as easy to perform without that rigorous preceding training being put into action. While working on my own project I also took on another friend’s project through telecommunications to provide software, training, motion graphics work, graphics design and consulting for a video series he had planned to do. I also, for a period worked at an independent music label, where I thoroughly learned how to use WordPress while applying my already developed graphic design and interactive media skills. I also took on and completed a freelance video production project shortly after that time.
While remembering what I had learnt from my marketing days in Ottawa and New York with a passion for customer service developed at food establishment positions, I formed a plan for making a functional business with multiple components working with and augmenting each other for a positive momentum towards business success. However the brand that I wanted to push at the time went nowhere and my project also stopped short of its original plan. I felt something was missing in my plan, I was missing direction and feeling somewhat hopeless while playing a game of man and mouse, literally fighting off the unusually large amount of mice and rats spawning throughout the city that romantic Vancouver spring. We eventually headed back to Ottawa where my family mostly resides.
I took back from Vancouver with me a business map of sorts with symbology, direction, rationale and sense. This was basically a map of all the results I learned from my studying, networking, discipline, hope and experience trying to really start something of my own, laying the foundation for the next step in my learning process of something I avoided focusing on for a while, business.
Back To Class
After gaining some stability in my hometown I started my own work routines and tested out different business models as well as attended college to upgrade my IT depth and affirmation. I learned a lot all the while along the way deepening my skills in interests which I had concentrated on years before such as social and online media developing into a particular focus on Twitter. I came to realize that developing an audience was crucial to my business plan and was some more practical substance to my fairy land results map I illustrated in BC.
I realized three components which you can find here on Production Hackers in my other article: Structuring Your Online Business Plan.
With those three components as my blueprint, I became excited to dive into a real side business to compliment my studies and fulfill my desire to really create something great for humanity, no matter how small or big.
I came to remember, after implementing practical business advice as part of my extraneous studies, that having a proper schedule was the key to being clear in the morning of what you plan to do, as well as having a reference to track your actual priorities, to motivate and fuel your progress, clarifying your ultimate responsibilities. This schedule went through many iterations before it was satisfactory to the level of efficiency I wanted. You will probably have to do the same, in your own way. Even if it may change later, finalize a schedule immediately, even if it’s finalized, be motivated to completely update it against your practical behaviour and results, not forgetting to also upgrade yourself mentally and physically to meet the standards of your schedule’s motives and your business’ values.
Inspired by the concept of chunking time I learned from Evan Carmichael, my first schedule was quite rich with a slew of specialized tasks in one domain per domain, a different one for each day promising a lot of hours deeply spent in each different realm every day. I really tried to follow it at first but immediately I realized that the level of inspiration and energy to focus in on just one world was fine if it was done on occasion or in a simple fashion but having to switch from one perspective to a completely different one from one day to the next was quickly jarring, complicated and stressful. Similar to concepts like Communism, it sounded good on paper at first until it was practiced (“Yowza!”).
I soon moved onto a new plan. This time I went for a pared down approach, to more closely reflect the blueprint I discovered in my basic Online Business Structure. I split it from one completely different set of tasks each day, to two major tasks, which were themselves split into A and B tasks. I would then alternate between one of those two major set of tasks depending on the day prioritizing the A tasks. This was my own style of implementing what I learned from Brian Tracy about time management.
That schedule style was actually pretty effective for a while, and pretty easy to work with, and led me in the right direction. From there I had more time to focus on more studying which was integral to progress even further in my schedule development. Now I could pare it all down to a one-page, one day, one set of tasks schedule that I could follow any or every day of the week, simplifying the comprehension of the practical side of my business plan and integrating as many talks with the best efficiency of time as possible.
Three Realms of Ownership
I came to realize there are 3 realms of ownership to make it as a company, entrepreneur or even the new coined indie term, “solopreneur.” Following are those three realms:
Ownership of Product
You should be razor sharp cutting with your focus on what you do with your limited time and energy on top of your daily responsibilities and work. This means you should be only focusing on one product at a time. You can definitely, after one product does well, still support it, if peripherally with your staff, but you yourself should not ever be putting your energy into more than one product at a time or you kill quality, efficiency and the likelihood of completing your tasks and converting your hard work into generated earnings.
Ownership of Business
Oftentimes we find business people who are focused on prospecting, setting up transactions, submitting applications, dealing with paperwork, attending meetings or communicating with major clients or sponsors, even mandating work and reorganizing the upper management. With a focus on sales and implementing daily and ongoing initiatives to raise equity, increase sponsorship and drive the vision of the company. However these business people aren’t always the ones making the book or product themselves, they are usually managing others that do so and often have to deal with the inevitable headaches that have the potential to ensue. The other side of the puzzle is also true where the ones more focused on project management than business management forget to drive momentum for and ensure the sale of the products of their relentless, deeply invested authentic work.
Ownership of Network
Depending on the type of business you run or your personal business plan, the types of strategies, methodologies or production pipelines you employ may differ from a day-to-day basis or for more long term contracts. In any case you will need to publicize your product and you business, your going to need to post online updates and content daily for your network and base, to keep in touch with the audience you are growing in your niche. You need to stay current with all the different formats that today’s people expect to be delivered every day with your content. Whether this is text, audio, video, blog, social media, your website, established networks, email newsletters or the latest trend in communications, it should be integrated into your daily output. This is on top of the multiple longterm projects you are hoping to deliver on in time.
Getting It Done: Simplification Through IntegratED Implementation
The way I’ve found to do this is to simplify it down to the core projects you want to do and integrate them into one project where working on one aspect of one project can be used for content in the aspect of the other project, so in reality the two projects become one project, effectively killing the proverbial second bird as well. This same attitude is thus imposed into every respect of ownership you need to be concerned with. This includes the integration of your projects into one overall task. This makes all the factors in operations and sales one daily initiative connected to the product and network. Finally this is coordinated while deploying your constant content output in every expected medium through one efficient workflow. It allows you to streamline your work from a “multiple content in multiple formats” approach to one chunk of content at a time outputted in multiple formats instead.