Thursday, February 08, 2007

Xroads

Yes, two posts in a week! Can you stand it?

As for my material this time, I'm going to bore you all with my business. Sorry...

Anyhow, I'm just short of three years into my business life (incorporated on 2/15 and opened an office on 3/1), and I've reached a natural point of reflection. Basically, I went into business with a goal. I thought I could make a decent living for myself, make my own hours, work exclusively doing stuff I wanted to do, and maybe if I was lucky grow to the point where a self-directred person or two could make a living alongside me. I figured this was all manageable.

In hindsight, though, I've learned something - why so many companies seem to have a relentless focus on growth. I've been lucky (and good) - so far, a good number of companies have beaten a path to my door, and I've been able to keep most of them pretty happy. It's not hard. I've seen so many examples of downright negligent work performed by ostensible peers of mine that it's amazing that their victims all haven't come to me yet. I try to treat my customers with decency, humor, and professional competence, which seems to be a formula lacking in the industry. And I own up when I screw up - fortunately I don't screw up too often.

Last year, I planned to add an employee. By sheer luck, I got the right person at the right time - but she got to the point of being near-overbooked within a month or so because the demand increased to match the available staff hours and then some. Within the next month or so I will have to add another full-timer, but now I can see an increasing amount of my time going to planning and supervision rather than engineering. Which means I probably need to expand further to make sure that folks can get the attention they need.

It's a difficult situation, but I'm not really complaining. I'm doing pretty well right now, but this could change in a moment. And this is still way more fun than a Real Job is, despite the hours, stress, and constant travel I'm doing. It's more that I've realized my original model for the company wasn't quite able to accommodate the reality. I've got to go at least a little bigger and more complex than I planned, but at least I've got the opportunity to do so.

If anybody knows a good midlevel (knows clients inside and out, knows enough server to be useful, but isn't an AD god) Windows person looking for a nice opportunity, send 'em my way...

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