“In my industry, as with most, everyone goes a bit nuts around the holiday season,” says Amy Hourigan, the founder of digital specialists Amy Who Digital. “People either want to get their projects done before December, or they want it ready to roll in January.”
Growth takes time
Growth can be a double-edged sword for sole traders. In addition to a higher likelihood of burnout, the very effort of managing growth can consume your time and resources.
“I’ve launched a new service that’s been experiencing a big growth of late. While it’s natural to get excited about new earnings, I also have to remember that my software subscriptions have to rise to support that growth, and that I’ll be devoting extra time to new clients.”
“I have to ask myself, where do I reinvest that money within the business to make sure I’m servicing all my clients, still making a profit and not overstretching myself?” Amy explains. “You have to cost out everything all over again.”
“Growth is scary at times and it can feel easier to stay small. I want to grow, but I need to make sure I’m doing it right.”
Changes you can’t always see
With growth so typically fickle, Amy measures business achievements using different metrics.
“For me it’s about when you feel comfortable in your business. In the early years of my business, I felt like an impostor. My competitors were amazing and I didn’t think myself worthy to stand in the same business space.”
“Now I’ve reached a point where I really respect myself and my achievements. I used to go to client meetings feeling sick – now I’m calm and confident, and hired on the spot.”
The steady growth in personal confidence gave Amy the boost she needed to value her business from the heart.
“People will always ask you for a discount,” Amy laughs. “Previously, I’d think, ‘I must have messed up and charged too much.’ Now when people say, ‘My last guy did it for half the price,’ I’ll take a look at the site and say, ‘Look, here’s why. I can guarantee that you’re going to get a better level of service if you hire me.’”
“Somewhere along the line, I no longer felt like an impostor. It all got a lot easier after that.”
Looking beyond the working week
Amy’s future vision for the business is taking shape. “I want to involve more people in different aspects of the business: outsource some admin and services. It’s a balance. It’s hard to promise consistent work, but I need to develop ongoing working relationships to manage the growth.
“Either way, it’s a huge trust thing to build a business and bring people into that world. You want to know that they take it as seriously as you do.”
The top three things I learned this month
- It helps to schedule time for yourself
- Growth is scary but (often) necessary
- Confidence and success go hand in hand