i have a vendetta against the personal website. i have one (it’s not this one) and i’m ready to get rid of it. i am told, for a business, you need to have a website. my question: do you really?
like, i understand for websites that sell products. you want to go to the site to investigate the brand, the products, and possibly purchase. but for many other folks, you visit the website once and never again. the page i go to the most is the company’s “about” page and then maybe their “pricing”. i rarely read their blogs or any of the body content on the site. maybe i’m alone in this, but i have a hunch i’m not.
considering my squarespace costs $18/mo and it does very little in terms of connecting me with an audience, i am planning to retire it. if anything, i am paying $18/mo for faux credibility. “oh he has a website, he must be legit” says the imaginary voice in my head. this is indeed a fantasy. you don’t need a website to be legit. you do, however, need an internet presence. and this can be done FOR FREE on facebook and instagram. you can even have a low cost blog (like this one) which yields much more engagement than a static site that serves as a $18/mo business card.
maybe one day i’ll hit the scale that i can afford a website. but as i am experimenting and trying to find out my niche, my customer base, and my services, i am not going to pay a recurring fee for a billboard that does nothing for me.
hullo folks! as you may know, i work with videographer jaron nix to produce a weekly video/podcast interview series called the orbit. today, we are interviewing moji of blue daisi consulting, who makes it her business to help companies big and small become more planet-friendly.
this blog, the interview series, and all the other stuff that goes into building this community takes time and money. if you’re a fan of the vision and want to drop $5/mo into my patreon tip jar, it would be greatly appreciated. your contribution allows me to continue to bring you more interviews, along with actionable strategies to prepare yourself for the future of work.
thanks in advance, and even if you can’t pledge, i’m happy to have you in my orbit.
i had a good weekend! interviewed seattle toymakers marnin-saylor, which will be up on youtube and podcast soon. what struck me about them is that they are immensely creative – they are never short on ideas for products or stories for their pastry pet toy line. their struggles mainly surround time management. it’s hard to be a manufacturer, a salesperson, and an administrator all at once. however, outsourcing is also scary to them. it’s hard to get the initial capital to expand, and you also run the risk of losing creative control.
in response, marnin-saylor are waiting for the right moment for growth. they care about their business so much, and as a result they have something that i don’t: patience. taking a leaf from their book, i am trying to enjoy my successes for the time being and to quietly be on the look out for the right conditions to next-level my own projects
every project has its setbacks. the path is never linear, and success is not clearly defined nor easily achievable. last night i stayed up awake for a bit because i was unsure of what i was doing, or whether or not it was valuable. this is a hard place to be, and i know for a fact that this happens to a majority of my more entrepreneurial friends.
but, i remember that there is hope. for every doubt that i have, there is at least one cheerleader in my court, and one clear example that what i am doing is valuable and meaningful. i try to identify these little victories and bits of positivity in order to maximize them. my friends and family believe in what i do, and so do i. the trouble is marrying these values with a viable business. i recently read this article by gumroad’s ceo sahil lavingia, in which he navigates his own successes and failures that he had to face at a very young age.
we are all being courageous in trying things that we’ve never tried before. and that courage carries us through the moments when we doubt ourselves and our venture. our courage and resilience are paramount in soldiering forward with open eyes and many ideas for making our vision work.
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.
writing has been difficult because i’ve been trying to make money instead of thinking about the quality of my content. as a result, i often feel stuck and don’t know what to create, because the question i am asking myself if “what will get me paid” as opposed to “what do i want to write”. getting around this is a form of practice, and gaining momentum and confidence in the fact that i do have interesting things to say, independent of the monetary reward.
this relates to the work i do with creatives. online artists sell their work online, and sometimes it can get difficult when one is making art to sell rather than making art for the joy of it. this sounds childish, but it is not. the thing that makes a lot of art good is from the artist’s intent. and we, the people of the internet, have a strong radar for content that is fake and aimed at selling us a product rather than enriching our lives.
i wonder if i can find my home again on the internet, and start writing things that are more grounded in my interests. as a business-minded person, i sometimes forget the things i like because i am limiting myself to creating things that are profitable. This doesn’t work, and ultimately makes me unhappy. so, here, i hope to rebel against this trend in the best way possible, by practice and continuously refining the process.