30 days in – what I’ve learnt so far

Posted on December 5, 2011


One of the reasons for me starting this blog – though of course I wasn’t about to say it at the time – was to have a place to speak about starting my own business and all that goes with that, including whether it actually gets anywhere.

I looked back at my diary at the end of last week and saw I was pretty much a month in. Woohoo, a whole month. I calculated 22 working days but ‘work’ has been more like every day since I left CBS Interactive. Not that I’m complaining – I’d willingly work longer hours if it wasn’t for Other Parts Of My Life I shouldn’t neglect.

20 days, 30 days – however long, it feels more like 30 months. Here are some observations:

–          I’m still in a honeymoon period. Must be. Christmas is close and rightly or wrongly, however much I beat myself up, the pressure feels off in terms of accomplishing a lot in my first two months. I know times will get harder but for now it’s great to feel anything is possible.

–          And what is possible? I left my job mainly with the aim of a single, consumer-side start-up, something that can scale gradually, doesn’t take a lot of seed money or technology to get live, and is something I feel passionately about. Which all sounds great – only it’s not something that will pay the bills for a year, I’d estimate.

–          So along come other gigs or enquiries about this or that. How much to stray from the prime directive? Honestly, I don’t know the answer. Might not for a while. Only that some of those other enquiries have been from great people at some very good companies. Others are shamefully unprofessional. But as I said – honeymoon period. It’s all good and a bonus to have some income not far off.

–          Have I missed the office or corporate perks? Well – in spite of some warnings – for now the home office is working just fine, I haven’t worried much about paid holiday/sickness or lack of life/health insurance, and I’m probably meeting more people, certainly learning more new things than I was before.

–          Being a one-man band, at least for a while, means you have the whole spectrum of things to do. Some you’re comfortable with, some not. Years and years writing about and trying to understand technology means I can get by on that front for now, whether it’s IT or web stuff or tech at the heart of future products. Even more so with matters around writing and marketing. But some areas, legal or tax matters, say, are a steep learning curve. Nobody can do it all by themselves.

–          Networking like crazy has been a lot of fun – meaning lots of old friends, ex colleagues and general contacts doing great things. This is hardly original but you are your network.

–          But the one thing people in my position have told me (when they’ve been people I know well enough to open up)? “It’s lonely a lot of the time.” That’s the recurring word – “lonely”. I’m yet to feel it – but all the more value on that network, then, and others who are there for you.

–          And last? People understandably ask what I’m cooking up. And those few who I’ve told? Well not everyone high-fives me and starts pitching in. It keeps my feet on the ground. And it certainly means I need to wait for the right moment to feel confident about the concept and revealing more.

More on this in the new year, folks, and to some of you – you know who you are – thanks for everything over the last few weeks.

Posted in: Work