A little over seven years ago, Heinz Marketing became real. Sure, I’d registered the URL a couple years earlier and occasionally pretended to be a consultant on weekends with local businesses, but the Monday before Thanksgiving in 2008, I was finally on my own.
The stock market, you probably remember, had just tanked. My wife was pregnant with our first child. So, of course, I decided to quit my job and finally start the business that had been gnawing at me. No time like the present, right?
Seven years later, what started with a guy and a laptop is now 10 people with an office in Redmond, Washington, and clients literally around the world.
I’ve learned a ton along the way, and continue to learn every day. Here are three things that stand out to me.
- You are never “ready”: There are three things in my life I never would have done if I’d have waited until I was “ready” — get married, have kids, and start a business. You’re never really ready, you just have to build enough of a plan and confidence (rational or not) to step off the cliff and give it a try.
- Put on your hard hat every day: There are no shortcuts. Building a business isn’t all sexy (heck, it might not be much sexy at all), but it’s the little things you have to do every day, all day, to make it work. Put on your hard hat, put your head down, check your ego at the door, and get to work. Grind it out. We can talk about strategy and business plans and focus areas all day long, but once we’re done with all that, it’s about execution.
- It’s exciting and terrifying: The swing between those two was definitely more severe in the early days. Today, it’s definitely more exciting than terrifying. But those variances are a reality for early-stage businesses. Again, the key is to stay focused — focus on what’s right for your business and your customers — and keep pushing.