Fake Movie Preview with POP logo about Growing a Business

Growing A Business – Growing Pains

I almost didn’t get a blog in on time this month. I was so busy, (growing a business will do that to you) and I didn’t think I could come up with a subject and get into it in a way that would be of service. Then I realized that busyness might be just the subject to discuss.

This month, it gets personal.

I don’t usually talk about myself too much in my blogs except regarding client interactions. But this month was a very different one, and I also thought my experience might be of value to other new business owners.

Growing a Business: In a World…

When I started my business in 2020, it was in the middle of the Covid pandemic. I had been temporarily laid off from my day job, and people had started asking me for my marketing help.

I had done quite a bit of marketing across my various jobs and for individuals and considered starting a business, but the timing was never right.

Two years later, not a lot has changed. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic. More people are asking me for marketing help, and now I’ve voluntarily left my day job to focus on POP Marketing entirely.

The Abyss: Taking the Plunge

Yes, I buried the lead. I’m a full-time POP-star now. It wasn’t a super easy decision, but it was the right one.

July 6 is my lovely and fantastic wife’s birthday. Since I started POP, I had been working Sunday through Friday every week across two jobs, frequently until the evening. I had started POP to spend more time with her and my sweet pups, but I hadn’t gotten there yet.

Be Your Own Shark: When Is It Time for Growing a Business?

Here’s the thing: My business was growing, but I was nervous about losing the steady paycheck. I had gotten to the point that my POP marketing income more than equaled my day job’s income, but I’d gotten used to it and didn’t want to step down my quality of life.

That said, my quality of life had gone down. I was spending less time with my family, and I was less able to help around the house. I was working 60 + hours a week because I was waiting to make an extra few bucks before giving up the day job income.

My wife’s birthday gave me the impetus I needed to step up. I was one client away from reaching my goal, but I said “screw it,” and as a birthday gift to her, I decided to quit the day job. July 5, as I prepared for my independence day, I hadn’t told her yet.

Then something crazy happened.

If You Build It, They Will Come

I was sitting at my computer, planning how to give my boss (who’s a good guy, by the way) my notice. That’s when it happened. Suddenly, the work I needed to feel comfortable fell in my lap.

In fact, at that moment, without seeking it, I was offered slightly more than the amount I had initially set out to add before quitting the day job. I couldn’t believe it. But in a way, it makes total sense.

Sidenote: Trim the Fat

Sometimes growing a business also means divesting in places that are a waste of time. I dismissed a client earlier this year. It was a difficult thing to do.

The client never paid me on time but more importantly, the client didn’t participate. My contracts all have what is required of my clients. There are things a client can do that harm my marketing efforts and there are things to do that help but that’s the story for another blog.

For now, the point is, I needed to prune. If you have a client that is taking a lot of your time and not appreciating you, consider making room for new ones.

A Disturbance in the Force

Nature abhors a vacuum.

I knew I had the time available. And as soon as the time became available, the opportunity presented itself. I had been holding myself back all along.

I knew I couldn’t work more than the amount I was already working and still maintain any semblance of a life. But as soon as I decided what I wanted my life to be and then decided I was moving toward it, the world readied itself for me.

The Prestige: It’s Not Magic

I’m not saying this is magic. I put in the work ahead of time. I’d been writing for clients, getting reviews, and even subcontracting for larger companies.

I’d done my time. I know what I’m doing. And now I had time.

The Takeaway: Don’t Limit Your Business or Your Marketing

So what does it all mean for your small business?

First of all, put in the time. Secondly, invest in yourself. Many potential clients I speak to aren’t ready to hire someone to do their marketing for them because they don’t think they can afford it.

Guess what? You can’t not afford it.

The best time to start marketing is a year before you need the money. The second best time is as soon as possible.

I’m not saying to be reckless. Do the time. Learn your skills, create your budget, and make a plan.

But include marketing in that plan. And if that plan is not serving you, be willing to adjust it.

My plan was not serving me any longer. But I was so close to my self-manufactured finish line I just took a running start and jumped.

Since I decided to quit, my former employer is now a client, and I have had four unsolicited contacts from other businesses who need my help.

Now I’m at another milestone. I’m asking myself if I need to subcontract less to focus on my growing client base. What a quick acceleration!

Marketing takes time. Building a business takes time. It’s not risk-free, but if you are good at what you do, have a plan, and put in the work, you will get the results.

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