By Guest Blogger Belinda Pyle – www.problemsbythedozen.com
I can’t remember a time when I was more excited. The company owner where I was last employed had given me a lovely gift as he kicked me out the door—one year’s salary. Apparently I had done such a great job at developing, launching and running the business that he thought he would give it a try himself. Um, thanks?
So here I was, in the enviable position of actually having the funding and the time to do exactly what I had dreamed. It was wonderful, it was exciting, it was thrilling, it was terrifying. What the hell was I doing, thinking that I actually could be a writer. Gulp.
My dream was to write a book, but you can’t write a book in this marketplace without having an “author’s platform”. If you have done any consulting you know this means that you basically have to be everywhere demonstrating that you can do everything. This means quite simply that you had better be damn good at technology. Since I was pretty good with Word and passable with Excel, I figured developing my own blog would be a snap. After all, I had supervised and hired lots of marketing companies over the years to develop sites for clients so this would be simple, quick, and a no brainer.
The only thing simple about it was that I lost my brain. I learned about Word Press and was enchanted by the idea that I could whip up my own blog as easily as scrambled eggs. Since scrambled eggs are the extent of my cooking ability, this certainly sounded like something even I could do. But I wanted my site to look “just so” and to do that, you need to know about fun things like CSS and HTML (geek speak).
Finally I gave in and enrolled in training offered by the company hosting my consulting site. They were patient, kind, and helpful, although I am not sure how. I called, and called, and called, and called beyond my pre-determined hours. The more they trained me the less I knew.
Finally, two wasted Word Press themes later, I switched my blog to the theme that they were using and since this was their expertise, things started to smooth out. I got to a place where I was ok with my site but still not thrilled. I realized that if I wanted to be thrilled, have something that was uniquely mine and would stand out from the noise in cyberspace, I would have to get some professional help.
At this point, I was on the technological edge and through friends, found Kelly at Oomph Studios. In one call, I went from despair to delight and confidently stepped away from the ledge. No need to jump now, I had someone watching my back.
So, now I will be working with Kelly on my technology adventures and will be documenting them together in her blog. In the meantime, here’s what I have learned about launching your own site:
1) Time Sucks
Yes, time is sucked away faster than you can say “upload”. My year flew by and there wasn’t a day when I wasn’t learning or working on my blog. If you have a year to learn about technology and all of the marketing that is associated with it (hint: SEO does not stand for send email over) then go for it.
2) Economy of Effort
The army knows best. A friend of mine is an army guy and as we were clearing the table last evening, he explained economy of effort. “You are going to clear this table 1,000 times and make 10,000 trips to the kitchen. Or, you could spend one day making a nice wooden trolley to take the dishes one time thereby reducing 10,000 to 1,000.” (Or, I could get my kids to do it by bribing them with TV time but I digress). For your site this means taking the time and doing it right up front. It will save you tremendous amounts of time later on with the constant tinkering to get it exactly the way you want it.
3) What is your time worth?
This is a very big thing in the non-profit sector. I constantly see Executive Directors doing secretarial jobs or in my case, writers doing technological guru’s jobs (never again Kelly!). As an entrepreneur, your time is the most expensive and most cherished so try to always hire others to do what can be done by others. While they are doing secretarial and marketing support, you are out doing what you do best–getting new clients or producing your product.
4) Know enough to know what you want
I am not advocating that you stay a technological innocent. You need enough training to know: a) what is possible b) what you want and c) if possible and want make sense together. Furthermore, try to know enough to do some of the basic stuff yourself so that your site can be a dynamic living, breathing entity.
Good luck on your technology adventure. We would love to hear about yours!