Chance can play such a vital part in your career. You may be unexpectedly exposed to technology that becomes central to how you make a living. People you meet who seem to have nothing to do with your work, or who were potential clients or colleagues that didn’t pan out, can end up connecting you to someone who turns out to be central to the next phase of your career.
If you only interact with users when they need support or have a feature request, you’re only interacting with the minority of your customers. The ones who don’t reach out to you may be creating their own workarounds to a problem you’d love to hear about, or they may have a use case that would lead to a brilliant feature. Are you guilty of the same developer shyness? Do you build things to enhance a tool or service for your own use, and assume the developer is too busy to want to hear about it? Don’t wait until there’s a need for support: ask your happy customers what they do with your product, and tell developers how you’re using their product.
There’s merit to keeping your small business nimble by keeping process to a minimum. But even in the tiniest one- or two-person operation, it’s plain that not all business tasks are improved by being hand-crafted. Rachel Andrew powers through business routines with checklists that free her mind for more compelling things. Remove friction from the rote tasks, so you can be at your best for the creative work that can only be done you.
Routine software audits sound like just about the most boring thing in the world. But losing access to a DNS server, missing important alerts from a developer, or paying for a forgotten service are adventures nobody needs. Often, a contractor or an employee sets up an account or buys software for company use. When that person moves to another role, important license or login information can get lost in the shuffle. Rachel Andrew wants you to love the drab old software audit. It’s your best ally for preventing nasty surprises.
Being your own boss is awesome. You’re the sovereign of your fate—and with that autonomy comes responsibility for making your business thrive. Your time management skills are more important than ever as you continue to get your to-dos checked off. The thing is… if you get an unexpected call from a friend, can you get away from that tyrannical boss of yours to do something unplanned? Are you able to schedule time with friends or family without feeling that you’re falling behind on work? If you can’t afford to take time to strengthen your connections with others, you’re at risk of being the monarch (and the serf) of an impoverished kingdom, indeed.
Partners in a small, close leadership team—such as in a family business—often know each other’s minds very well, and agree on most things. That’s great to keep things running smoothly (though sometimes there’s awkwardness when business disagreements intrude on home life). On the other hand, it can also lead to stagnation. Rachel Andrew is finding that an outsider’s perspective can help when partners can’t quite see eye to eye—or when they agree too much.
Long ago, a company had to grow to a certain size before it could embark on international trade. With digital goods, that’s no longer so. Learning all the applicable laws and taxes can be daunting, but that’s what allows the small business owner to stay independent as an exporter.
A perusal of the article titles in the seasonal magazine 24 ways shows how the things we’ve needed to learn and keep up with have changed since 2005. Amid all this change, one thing that remains evergreen is the generosity of web people in sharing their knowledge.
You’re proud of your product, and welcome user suggestions on making it even better. Will you be able to make everyone happy? Should you even aim to accommodate them all? Before you start coding, think about how to prioritize feature requests, and even say no to some.
When we’re physically together, even in public, glances and side conversations help us understand what’s going on below the public personas others wear. But when we’re interacting with friends mainly online, it takes a little more effort to see behind their highlight reels to get the full story.