Saturday, May 26, 2012

Entrepreneurship 101

As my regular followers know, I spent several years directing a technology entrepreneurship institute, helping tech entrepreneurs (or hopeful novices) turn their ideas and innovations into clear business plans.  One of the challenges my clients faced was the broad variety of “other” things they had to do that they never signed up for when deciding to pursue entrepreneurship.  Everything from deciding on copyright and patent issues to chasing down a reluctant client who was late on their bill.  As one of the services I offered, I had a roster of trusted 3rd party providers who agreed to provide their services to the Center’s clients at a discount.  We were a not for profit and the clients were definitely pre-profit.  The vendors saw building up Florida’s entrepreneurial talent as a great cause (and maybe a source of higher margin business down the road). 

Now that I am a lone wolf entrepreneur of my own, I am facing many of these same challenges.  Just yesterday, I needed to convert video files from a proprietary format to something I could edit – and I am no tech media expert.  I also needed to make a very attractive, convincing, and technically accurate presentation – and my visual design skills are even less than my technology skills.  Just a few minutes later, I needed to change a text document in ways that were not complicated, but were very time consuming – I had no trouble doing this one myself, but it would have been a much better use of time to hire someone at minimum wage who could have done the job just as well.  And that example above of chasing down a late bill unfortunately was taken right out of my afternoon.    

I got into this gig because I really love designing engaging user experiences for companies, not-for-profits, government agencies, and anyone else who has a good story to tell.  I also love working with motivated entrepreneurs to help them develop their ideas and business plans.  But how many hours a day am I actually doing these things?  Two (out of a ten hour workday)? 

Anyone have any solutions for how to spend more time doing the fun stuff?