October 03, 2005

For lack of a proper post...

I've been communicating with a guy who has been trying to redesign his site. It's a little on the under-done side, if you know what I mean. He's said that he is "a one man show" and that he takes on so many tasks that at times he misses details. "Wearing every hat in this company has benefits but unfortunately I do miss details. ... Being the developer, president,
marketing director, mailroom guy, shipping room guy etc takes it's toll. While I try very hard to make everything great, at times I make mistakes and do not get things perfect.

I wanted to offer him some advice, so I wrote this e-mail to him.
Dude, we are on the same page. I do planning, shopping, preparation, cooking, service and clean-up for every event, plus inventory, accounting, marketing, advertising, recruiting and market research. Every bootstrapping entrepreneur does it... I'm guessing you're not independently wealthy either, so we can't just hire off the unpleasant or time-consuming tasks whenever they come up.

I, however, spent $70 out of my pocket today to hire a couple people to help me wash dishes from that 300-guest event Food TV filmed, that I volunteered to coordinate. I had a choice of doing it all myself, or hiring help. Since I'd volunteered 33 hours out of the past 72, I wasn't physically or mentally able to tackle a truckload (literally!) of dishes, but I needed them clean for my catering job tomorrow. Should I turn down $200+ of income to do dishes? No, not if I can spend less than half that to solve the problem. I paid two college girls $10/hr each, for 3.5 hrs, and everything is spotless, sorted, and re-loaded in the truck. It was a no-brainer decision, and I met two GREAT workers that I plan to add to my employee roster.

If you can't make money because your website is in a state that people don't want to put money into advertising or whatever... you're actually losing more money than you'd spend. It's a hard lesson to learn; don't learn it from experience, learn it from my advice instead, it's cheaper.

I know this is probably coming across as tough criticism, but please look at it instead as "tough love". It's the Vidal Sassoon principle: If you don't look good, I don't look good.... so it's in my interest to give you the kick in the butt you might need to make yourself look really good. You're so close!

Last thing I ate or drank: a "torta" which is translated on the package as an Aniseed Crispbread. it's a Spanish treat made of flour, sugar, olive oil and sugar. it's like a little crispy cookie, but the texture is more like a saltine cracker. Addictive!

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1 comment:

  1. That's great advice you gave your colleague, and something I think a lot of small entrepreneurs miss. Everyone wants to get costs done, and that means that they do everything themselves because they see that they have to pay themselves $0 for their time and therefore they value their time at $0. This, however, is an incorrect valuation. The actual valuation of an entreprenur's time is $(whatever you can get for doing your business during that time). You should only choose to do non-revenue-earning work if
    1. You don't have the opportunity to earn revenue during that time..
    2. You would earn less revenue during that time than you would spend on having someone do that work, *and* you are in no way investing in getting future business during that time.


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