One Year: Three Lessons

Starting a business is dangerous. Making something out of nothing (and convincing people to do it with you) isn’t the easiest way to make a living, but after a year of owning a business I’m convinced it’s one of the most rewarding.  New Ink Design turns one this month and I couldn't be more excited about where we're heading. But before I move forward, I took a moment to look back.

Here are three things I’ve learned after a year of business: 

Start with why

Simon Sinek’s TED talk changed my life. In it, he argues that it is the company’s that focus on why they exist, not what they do that are truly successful. I can talk about technology until I’m blue in the face, but few will care.

If you really want to change the world, talk about why you exist. For New Ink Design, we’ve realized that our purpose is to leave people better than we find them. This results in websites, videos, apps and the like that truly enrich people’s lives. That’s where we’re heading.

If you start with why you exist, people will listen. If you start with what you do, they’ll snooze.

Don’t Settle

The first year of business is filled with milestones. First client, first check, first employee and so on. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype early on and take on any client that wants your work and any employee that wants to work with you. Don’t settle. If you are doing quality work, you as the leader of the business need to act as the general editor of the clients you take on, the employees you hire and the work that you do.

Find your focus and stick to it.

Family First

This is a hard one for me, because I’ve certainly failed here several times. When you start a new business, it requires everything you have. YOU are the customer service department. YOU are the sales team. YOU are the leader. YOU are the one at fault if it all falls apart.

While New Ink Design has been very blessed and very successful, I haven’t always balanced that success with my husbandry duties. More than once I’ve simply done the minimum rather than going the extra mile. The takeaway? Carve out time that’s family-only. No phones, no computers and no business talk. For Katie and I that has meant going for walks, watching our favorite shows and being sure to always have date night at least one a week.

Learn, grow, repeat.

Stay tuned for some huge updates from New Ink Design over the next 7 days... we're finally ready to talk!

Posted on December 30, 2011 and filed under regular.