I started the week all gung-ho and happy to have some time to sit back and think. But there is an inherent problem with sitting back and thinking — the actual output of that sitting and thinking might not be what I intended. WTF?
I dissected the sources of my business from the past two years of Maggie & Co. It showed an interesting balance and there weren’t too many surprises. The one area of my business that I want to increase will be hardest as a solopreneur and it has me thinking that perhaps heading back to an office environment might not be a bad idea. I dissected that thought last night with my BFF and here were my primary issues:
- Running Maggie & Co involves some serious overhead. When you add up my healthcare, car expenses, necessary services and subscriptions, my overhead comes to over $43,000 at a bare bones budget. That’s a lot of dough for a single-person working from home. I was spending more but I’ve been slashing costs like a samurai warrior with more to come.
- Chasing the business that I want requires some infrastructure to make my potential client feel comfortable hiring me. Having some administrative resources plus a back-up to me makes it easier for a new client to say yes. There aren’t many clients out there that will agree to taking on a one-woman show. I have two such brave souls, but we are almost done and I don’t see any significant work coming from them next year.
- Chasing the aforementioned business is easier if I have a senior/seasoned manager helping and a network to make the right introductions. The business opportunities are out there, but the decision makers are not the type to make bold decisions. They want to make easily defend-able decisions in case things go to shit.
- I kinda sorta miss the office environment. There, I said it. Ms. Independent is a bit lonely. I keep seeing photos on LinkedIn of some colleagues having team meetings/gatherings/outings and my FOMO kicks up. I had a meeting at a big co-working office last week and really enjoyed the energy and vibe permeating the place. My BFF agreed and said it was time for me to stop hiding and crawl out from under my rock. In my defense, I do spend a lot of time networking and showing up at industry events, so it’s not like I’m a hermit, but I don’t get daily banter.
The other part of my business comes from folks who tend to be quite flaky. You can’t rely on most. One day you are the trending topic and the next day they ghost you. I can spend time and effort on something just to have my part be eliminated. Yeah, it’s life in the trenches. After over a decade of this flakiness, I have grown a skin like a rhino, but even rhinos can get hurt. The past two years have provided a new, higher level of flaky which has resulted in more than my fair share of letdowns during the past two years. One of my goals for 2019 is to weed out the flaky ones immediately. Easier said than done sometimes….
I am having lunch next week with someone who is opening a new office. He’s merging with a much larger firm and I’m on their radar. How flattering. I’ve met him once and my business coach speaks very highly of him. I would have an office 10 minutes from my house.
I also am planning on having a conversation with a firm that has wanted me for years. I recently had lunch with one of their senior folks and she likes it there. I always thought the founders were a bit greedy and I’m not 100% sure how much I would trust them (therefore everything will be in writing). Having just disparaged them, I also have to say they have always been gracious and generous with me and her experience was quite reassuring. I have another girlfriend who has been there for years and she’s doing quite well. She is a tenacious, stubborn bulldog and as she has gotten older, I tend to avoid her due to her inability to listen…. The firm does have a gap that I could easily fill. The biggest problem is the commute to their office will be a major pain in my ass — it’s really, really far. Do I have to go all the time? No, but part of joining a firm was going to an office….
The one thing I’ll have to dance around is what I have to offer to the new firm. My book of business is pretty shallow right now, so I need to play up my experience and capacity to take on new business. The rest of the year will be quite interesting…..