June 28, 2012

Bulk view

Business update: Four months in!

I started my own business four months ago, and I’ve been slowly poking and prodding the boundaries of my comfort zone.

Consulting has been an excellent start. It allowed me to build on my experience in intranet social business and in web development. I took on those engagements because I like working with those particular clients and I could see how I could make a difference. Now I’m helping them build their own capabilities. I’d rather teach and build my way out of a job so that we can free up time and attention for the next level.

Besides, I want to make sure that I don’t just stay within my comfort zone. I want to learn more about other business models and ideas, such as building products and creating value in scalable ways.

My clients are mostly stable now, so I’ve been investing more time into drawing, writing, and learning. Toronto has many meetups focusing on business and technology, and I’m starting to get the hang of the rhythm of a page when I create sketchnotes: how time roughly translates to space so that I don’t run out of room and I don’t end up with too many blanks. I find myself digging up my sketchnotes from previous meetings. They’re very handy.

I reviewed ten years of blog posts and compiled the highlights into an e-book, spending some time on layout so that the PDF looked good on-screen. I’ll work on creating an EPUB version as well so that people can read it on Kindles and other e-book readers. It’s my very first experiment with creating an information product. I figured that I’d want to remember the milestones, and maybe people might resonate with the things I’ve learned about dealing with homesickness or living an awesome life. Four people have bought it so far, and it’s only been up for a day. I’m amazed and encouraged! Thank you for the votes of confidence, and for being part of the story. I look forward to sharing more.

I’ve also been learning a lot about Emacs because I want to make things better and help more people learn. I had a lot of fun talking to John Wiegley over Skype, and people have suggested other people whom I should talk to. This is another area where I’m tweaking my comfort zone. I’m going to learn how to ask people if I can pick their brains, and I’m going to learn how to package and share that information so that other people can learn from those conversations too. So many good things to explore!

Where do I want to go next? I think writing, drawing, and learning will keep me busy for a while. I’m gearing up for a couple of talks – July, September, and November – and perhaps chatting with more people about Emacs and other things. I want to get better at reaching out and keeping in touch. I’m also looking forward to getting better at managing other people. Delegating data entry has been working out very well, and now I’m working on learning how to delegate book-keeping and web development.

I’m learning a lot, and I’m making things better. This is good.