In the year of the millennium, I started a website company with my Dad. We called it “Webiness”*. A name I am still proud of, despite the association it now holds as another dissolved company.
This was not, you understand, quite like the launch of Google. It was a father and son believing they could make a few quid, customising website templates for local businesses that desperately needed to get online.
The roles were clear: I would market, visit, sell, set-up, launch and run websites for clients. My dad would make sure they paid their invoices. An imbalance I failed to spot until after the venture had fully failed.
Lesson: Let there be a “win” moment
Probably the most depressing thing about Webiness*, about working with my risk adverse, bitten-by-experience father, was never being able to actually pop open the champagne. Never celebrate a sale, or pat each other on the back.
I would get an appointment. “They haven’t agreed to anything”
Arrive back from a signed contract. “You’ve yet to do the work”
Complete the job. “They haven’t paid us anything, yet”
Get paid. “It only counts when they renew next year”
And so it went on, endless reasons not to count your chickens.
With CharitySoftware we had a bell, a simple counter-top bell, and whenever we got a sale (someone signed-off a quote), we would ring it. Just once. Everyone celebrated. It was magic.
I remember a time when a sale came in through the post, made by a salesmen who was on the road. The team phoned him to ask if they could ring the bell. He agreed, as long as he was on speaker phone when it rang. And so it was – a unifying celebration.
Some tasks don’t lend themselves to a specific moment, it’s just a long drudge. I’ve decided to define a point where the bell is rung, where the goal is scored and celebration is genuine.
Lesson: Money isn’t a valid motivation
I believed these local restaurants, hair salons, accountants and so on, all needed to be online, but my motivation was making some money. If I’m honest, we were even looking to exploit the lack of knowledge by selling a very simply templated sites as something more. Of course, that never worked and neither did the business.
The success I’ve had, has always come from a place where I’m passionately cycling towards my purpose with the finance scurrying behind like a small dog yapping at the tyres.
* Note:Webiness is now the name for more than one business, which I have no association or affiliation of any-kind. This was Webiness Limited, as registered in 2000, Company Number 04031287.