Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happiness in running a small business

Weekly Business Post

Happiness is of extreme importance in starting and running a small business. Starting a business takes a lot of time, in most cases significantly more than a traditional 8-5 job. So, you better be able to incorporate what you love into your business, or your business is not going to be successful. Alysia and I have really tried to understand what we want out of Blue Hour Designs and how we can shape our business to fulfill our desires. Alysia is a very artistic person, she gets extreme satisfaction out of being able to express herself artistically. I, on the other hand, have always loved the idea of running my own business. So, starting Blue Hour Designs really made sense for us. It’s a leap of faith, but we decided to go for it… We have also realized that Alysia needs to be able to come up with new designs frequently, otherwise she would be depriving herself of her artistic outlet. Business wise, it might perhaps make more sense for her to come up with only a few really popular designs, and focus on marketing those (many jewelry designers do exactly that in the form of their bi-annual collections). This however doesn’t make any sense for us since Alysia would quickly start disliking only making the same designs over and over (there is a balance here), and pretty soon she’d be to the point where she hates our business… And that would almost certainly result in the failure of Blue Hour Designs and on top of it all, I’d have a really grumpy wife at home (the latter being a much worse problem) :)

It dawned to me that some of you might be thinking that having your own business leaves you no choice, but to also have to deal with all those things that you hate. I agree, there are always going to be these parts that you dislike about running your own business, but you can certainly try to minimize the tasks that make you unhappy and maximize the ones that you enjoy doing. Also, delegating some of the work you hate might be an option. Alysia and I are lucky to have each other in this business as she enjoys many things I don't like and vice-versa. Even if you have no partners or employees, look and ask around for people and resources that might be of help, you’d be surprised what you can find. We have definitely found the small business world to be very helpful and supportive of each other. Just as a simple example, let’s say you dislike marketing, but love working on your craft or art form (as many artists, including my wife, do). Why not offer a trade in the form of your product to a blogger who can market your product for you. A well connected blogger can do tons to promote you, especially if they have one of your products at home and absolutely love it and just feel like raving about how awesome this artist who made it is (that’s you, and some awesome promotional press!). Alysia and I have done this very thing many times and I believe it’s truly a win-win scenario for both parties.

Next week, I’m going to write about time management…. have a good rest of your weekend.

- Norbert

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