This week was long and challenging to say the least. After moving offices, meeting with both current and prospective clients, and setting up multiple new processes, I am tired! But, I accomplished so much and I feel great about the direction my projects are heading.
My Business History
Like I mentioned in my last piece, I’ve been very impersonal about my writing and I’m sure many of you are wondering exactly what qualifies me to talk about money or business in general. While I can’t say I’ve been in the business world for 30 years and ran multi-million dollar companies, I can say that I have started, developed, and ran multiple successful companies.
Not counting my early years selling chestnuts in 3 pound bags to my neighbors, my first real experience in business was when I was in middle school. My exact age escapes me, but I was young and I really wanted to make some extra cash for Pokemon/YuGiOh cards. My solution was to start mowing lawns. At first it was just my neighbors and I was the typical kid who went around with his mower and cut grass for extra money. But that changed very quickly. After only a couple summers of mowing, my parents and I decided to take on the lawn care industry in a serious way. We actually started a real lawn care business, bought professional equipment, advertised in the phone book, and took on commercial clients. We were the “real deal”. Unfortunately, after I went off to college, neither my parents nor I had the time to continue to run the lawn care business and it slowly deteriorated.
The best ideas happen with a beer in your hand…
My next business adventure was this website, CollegeInvestr.com. I remember sitting on my couch in the fall of 2015 with a couple buddies, enjoying a brew and talking about how terrible college students are with their money. That spurred my imagination and I decided I’d like to help educate students on money and wealth. CollegeInvestr.com was born out of that informal meeting and that’s how a lot of great ideas are formulated. This website has opened up a lot of opportunities for me, and I can without a doubt say that without this website, my life would be much different. I’ve been able to travel to conferences, meet people I never would have, speak in front of hundreds of students, and develop an appreciation for business that I didn’t have before. This website is still running so I must be doing okay!
I talked earlier this week about my current project, Kain Media Group. Kain Media Group is doing very well! In fact, I’ve added 6 new clients in the past two months and the quality of my content has increased exponentially. I currently don’t employ anyone at Kain Media Group, but I’m sure in the future I will have enough business that I’ll need someone to help me. What a great problem to have!
My second serious project, Jack’s Chrome Shop, is still in it’s infancy, and I’m hoping to have more news about Jack’s in the coming weeks. There are a couple events that need to happen before we can really start our operation. The marketing for the company is performing very well and we have multiple suppliers that are excited to work with us. Our next step is to finish the website, establish supply chains, and start selling products! I make it seem really simple, but the amount of hours it’s going to take to finish the website and get this operation running will be extensive. I’ll keep you updated.
Operating a business is much tougher than it seems…
I’ve been involved in small business in some capacity for almost 10 years now, but, for a majority of the time I’ve had another source of income to help me pay the bills. Recently, I quit my job working for Purdue University and now my only income is from my business ventures. This has changed my way of thinking about business and my lifestyle immensely. Let me tell you how:
- Being your own boss can be very challenging, especially when it’s your only source of income. When you work for someone else, your schedule is primarily dictated by your work schedule. You wake up at 7am, go to work from 8-5, come home, enjoy your time off work, and go to bed around 10 so you can wake up on time the next day. When you work for yourself you make your own schedule. I can work whenever I’d like. 2am in the morning? Sure. 7pm? Sure. Never? Sure. But, that’s the trap you can fall into. Being self-disciplined and establishing a work schedule for yourself is vital to being a successful small business owner. No one is going to yell at you if you don’t work, so you have to find the mental fortitude to work when you don’t want to and motivate yourself. (Example: I went to the bars on Tuesday with some friends to celebrate. I had a great time and I don’t regret it at all. But, I was out until 3am and then I didn’t wake up until 11 the next day. The entire rest of my day was less than productive because I was out of the groove. I’m used to being at work by 8am and I have a set schedule for myself in the mornings so I accomplish everything efficiently.)
- No small business owner is driving a Bugatti. I think many online small business thought leaders give their readers/viewers this unrealistic expectation that if you start a business, you’re immediately going to be making six figures and buying private planes. That just isn’t the case. It takes years and years of growth and hard work to reach millionaire status as a small business owner. This romanticized image of the young entrepreneur is completely false. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your business empire won’t be either.
- There is no substitute for hard work. This is something I discovered before starting the media company and working solely for myself, but, if you think you’re going to start your business and sit back in your lazy boy and collect checks, you are sadly mistaken. I’m writing this post on Friday morning, and I’ve already worked 45+ hours this week. I’ll most likely spend part or all of tomorrow (Saturday) working as well. That’s the cost of running your own business. You don’t have an assistant or other co-workers to take care of your purchasing, marketing, or web development. It’s all up to YOU to get things done.
Overall this week was very productive. Like I mentioned before, I met with new and current clients, moved offices (I hate moving), and developed multiple processes and the paperwork required to track them. You’ll find that when you start a business you’ll spend half your time designing paperwork for clients to sign or charts to help track your progress. I’ve already started brainstorming ideas for next weeks post and I’ll most likely write about my business goals, and what I plan to achieve over the coming years. Remember to follow CollegeInvestr by scrolling to the bottom of the page, liking our Facebook, following our Twitter, and subscribing to our email list!
David Coleman CollegeInvestr Founder