Take Time to Celebrate – 4 Things I’ve Learned About Running a Business

Endo Creative party at Avos in Fort Collins

Endo Creative celebrated it’s four year anniversary a couple weeks ago. A large group of friends joined me at Avo’s in Fort Collins to celebrate. During the meal my wife Jodi asked me to list four things I have learned about running a business. I narrowed it down to these.

Love What You Do

Life is short. Do something you are passionate about. Find something that is so inspiring that you go to bed thinking about it and wake up excited about it in the morning.

It won’t be easy. Life will get in the way. You will want to settle for “good enough”. Don’t. Find what you love and do everything you can to make a living at it.

I taught myself to code in middle school. I loved creating a webpages out of nothing but text and code. Four years ago, I rediscovered my passion for building things online and built a business around it.

Be passionate about what you do and it will show in your work and how you treat your customers.

Work/life Balance

When I first started Endo Creative I worked long nights and weekends. My to do list grew constantly. As soon as I finished one project, three more would magically appear.

After a couple close calls with burnout, I knew I had to make some changes. I wanted Endo Creative to last, and I wanted to do great work.

I decided to lay down some new ground rules.

  • I will keep regular business hours, and respond to clients only during those times.
  • I will make time to exercise everyday, like going for a walk or riding my bike.
  • I will use weekends as a time to relax and re-energize, allowing me to focus and work hard during the week.

I have stuck these guidelines and kept my stress levels low and my productivity high. Write down your own guidelines and stick to them.

Find A Niche

When I first started Endo Creative, I tried to do everything. If a client needed business cards, I would make them. If they wanted a Facebook account, I would set it up. If they wanted a custom web application, I would build it.

I found myself becoming mediocre at a lot of things, instead of great at a few things. Without focus I couldn’t market the business to a specific audience.

Honestly, the thought of turning down work scared me.

However, after a couple years I realized I could provide better service if I cut out the fluff and focused on my core strengths. I decided to specialize in WordPress and become an expert in front end web design.

Now I focus on building custom WordPress themes and plugins, organize the Fort Collins WordPress meetup, and speak at WordCamps around the country.

Instead of losing business, I have a steady flow of fun and challenging projects. I get to do the work I love, and send business outside my specialty to dedicated experts.

Find a niche and be the best at it.

Celebrate Every Win

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate every single win. When I first started my business I always celebrated each new project by buying a new book on web design. When I wrote a blog post for this site, I bought myself a latte.

Find ways to celebrate that inspire you. Go out with friends. Buy those new running shoes. Go to a bookstore and pick out a new novel.

Celebrating every win keeps the momentum going. It reminds you to be grateful. Being grateful keeps you from becoming self centered and jaded. Remember that its not about you. It’s about serving others.

It’s about helping your clients reach the next level.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these success factors or about ones that you have learned in the comments below.

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