I’ve been in business for myself for nearly 7 years at this point.
During that time, there have been 3 businesses I’ve founded or tried to grow:
- Fifth Room Storage – A storage-on-demand app (see https://www.makespace.com for someone who did it well)
- Cognite Labs – A software development company that built web apps for growing tech companies.
- SuperWebPros – Unlimited Web Design & Development for Businesses on a Budget
Entrepreneurship is a struggle and each business had it’s share.
Cognite Labs wasn’t really intended to be a scalable business.
And SuperWebPros has taken longer to scale than I thought.
Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’ve taken longer to scale than I thought.
I have many strengths. Among them are ‘ideation,’ conviction, strategy, and restoration. That means I’m pretty good at identifying problems. Am motivated to fix them. Pretty good at finding creative solutions to do so and have the conviction to see things through.
Sounds like a winning combination for entrepreneurship, right?
Because, on the flip side of those strengths are several weaknesses, including an unwillingness to ask for help, a deep discomfort with looking stupid in front of other people, and an arrogant sense that most people can’t do the things I want or need done as well as I can.
Its all head trash.
Lies I’ve told myself in order to protect myself from the vulnerability of failure.
Yet, those weaknesses have contributed more than anything to my failures.
Because what I’ve learned is that while ideation, conviction, strategy, problem identification, and a desire to solve those problems is a strength…that’s only one part of entrepreneurship.
Or, at the very least, scalable entrepreneurship.
It’s far more important to be able to win others over, build teams, coalitions, and partnerships, and to motivate others to help you tackle those problems.
The hagiographies we write about Jobs, Gates, Bezos, whomever that make it seem like it is one man against the world building a massive company is bullshit.
Nobody can build anything without the help of others. Without surrounding themselves with other people more capable than themselves and all motivated to solve a problem together.
This is what I’ve learned in an embarrassingly long amount of time. That, for an entrepreneur to be really great at scaling a business, s/he has to be great at 4 things:
- Identifying a meaningful problem,
- Casting a compelling vision that motivates others to join him/her in solving that problem,
- Gathering the appropriate resources, including people, money, and equipment, and
- Selling that vision to employees, stakeholders, and customers relentlessly
You can’t scale yourself. But you can scale a company.
My goal for 2021 is to turn this head trash upside down and to start asking for help (which I’ve started to do). To start seeking rejection (which I haven’t started to do), and to stop ‘doing the work’ inside my business in favor of organizing the resources to see this through.
I believe in what SuperWebPros can be – the web pro every small businesses wishes they had at the price they know they can afford. To be a tech ambassador to the communities in the United States that don’t have fancy startups, accelerators, or tech centers.
I’ve build systems, software, and a decent (though, ever improving) customer experience.
But I can’t do it alone. I’m reaching the limits of my ability.
Time for me to decrease, so SuperWebPros can increase.