from Nat and Tim’s perspective
In two days we will be off on holiday for TWO WHOLE WEEKS, sadly, in New Zealand, our return to work will coincide nicely with the beginning of the ‘real’ summer. I’m not entirely sure if we’ll be blogging over the break – I’m wondering if I can manage two weeks without computers? In the meantime, it’s time to look back over the year and pick out the biggest things I will take with me to 2007.
Work less, play more
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of having fun OUTSIDE of business. Of leaving work at 5.30 so you still have time to sit in the sun with some beer and partake in random chats, or to have entire weekends free to think about everything other than work, so you arrive fresh on Monday morning ready to leap back in.
I say this because I made the typical mistake of working too much for too long and ‘burning out’. It can be avoided, business is not something to endure, it’s something to enjoy.
Talk to inspirational people
These could be anything from those who have ‘made it’ and can reflect on their journey with a little bit of perspective, or people who are in your position and still trying to get there. If you have ever worked through a day feeling like you’re banging your head against a brick wall, sitting back to hear someone else talk about how great small business is, is about all you need to put your day in perspective.
Don’t be (too) afraid to take risks
Sometimes I struggle with this one. Knowing when it’s time to bring on another person, and biting the bullet and just doing it was very tough for me (cue more sleepless nights). Going into debt to buy another business reduced my fingernails to stubs, and you know what, both could have ended in complete disaster. It’s hard to know when it’s the right time, the biggest jumps are the highest risk, but the most rewarding, and hey, if it all falls apart, you will get up and try again… wont you?
I have a feeling most small business owners are VERY conservative with their personal cash, Tim has personally invested over $150k into the business over the last few years to to make this something. We will risk our money and time on ourselves only – once we make it, it goes into the least risky, most dull investments we can find :)
Don’t work alone all the time
Tim and I started out this year in a fairly isolated environment (living at the beach), others work from home by themselves. We all get lonely and stuck in our ways. Tim started in business in Wellington almost four years ago, and so the move to the beach was a temporary step to provide a low cost and fun place to develop a product. So it was one of our best decisions this year, to move back to Wellington. Moving into an office with two other vibrant and exciting companies (with vibrant and exciting people) has been really good. Need business advice? Need to rant? Need to share the joy of a big deal? Need other people to have Friday night work drinks with? Our office is not your typical corporate space; we have a ‘Stoopid Jar’ where unfortunate mistakes lead to $1 fines, we turned the secretary desk into a bar, we have a fish tank and a band room. We have had a lot of good times at this office, and best of all for a small business, you share the rent.
Last but definitely not least: Get Blogging
I love blogging. I love the fact we know a few people who have kind of become blogging ‘friends’, I love being able to read other people’s stories and share my own. I love getting to know people I would otherwise have no chance to meet. We have met some of our best customers via this blog, talked to some interesting business owners and had some amazing feedback on our mistakes and progress.
Looking forward to a different and exciting new years, with new challenges and lessons, but for now all I can say is, what a year!