a lot of my friends are trying to run a business on their own. the tools available allow them to do this, but at a certain point they can’t do it alone. their ambition gets the best of them, and they bite off a little bit more than they can chew. i fall into this category as well, which is why i start and stop on so many projects.
there’s only so much one person can do before you have to bring in help. the problem is often that you don’t have the capital to pay others to share your vision. if this is the case, you don’t have a viable business model. you have to rethink your approach.
if you’re keeping costs low by running a business by yourself until it is profitable, you have to set achievable goals. this means realizing that you can’t compete with the big companies that have dedicated teams to product development and marketing. you are one person, so make sure that your online shop has moving parts that can be operated by one person.
i wish that i could write a full-on magazine. but this requires a team of staff writers, editors, graphic designers, and photographers. this blog is what i can reasonably expect to do as one person. hopefully, if we prove that we can do this well on our own, we can grow and become valuable enough to either join another team or add someone to ours.
there are some large companies that are able to communicate “soul” really well. in a time when large, seemingly heartless organizations are taking control, brands that bring a human touch to their operations stand out. the first one that comes to mind is trader joe’s – i recently spoke with employees that love what they do. one of the reasons is that trader joe’s manages to make grocery shopping a fun experience.
aoc, too, brings an authenticity to politics that resonates with people. further, on twitter, whenever big companies tweet like they’re people (see netflix), it brings a lot of joy to their customer. tech companies tend to lean on profitability and scale, and are often in conflict with soul. however, google with its bright colors and twirly hats brings some fun and whimsy to the brand. why is this important? it makes the company feel a little bit less like the monolith it is.
if you run a company, it’s important to recognize that soul is really really hard to maintain. chasing profits scares it away. and sadly, curating soul means that we scare away sustainable business practices sometimes. i invite you to find a way to balance soul with your business so that it pays you while also preserving your humanity. because your humanity is invaluable.
the formal job market is posted online and has a series of clearly defined hoops to jump through in order to land the position. the informal job market exists in the background, and the key to becoming a part of it is being curious and testing assumptions.
i got a lot of my jobs just through shaking hands and asking questions. people often will grumble that certain industries heavily depend on “who you know”, and they’re not wrong. jobs are created by people, and it pays to know the right people.
what’s thrilling about finding work in a loosely organized field is that you can open yourself to huge opportunities if you play your cards right. the hard part is that there is no handbook, and at the end of the day we all have to eat. they key is knowing your strengths in both formal and informal spheres, and using them to your advantage to get where you want to go.