anniv-5-badge-300x230Wow, the business is passing another annual milestone. I had the entrepreneurial fever to officially launch it in 2008 — without any clue as to the horrific economic hammer that was about to drop on all our heads. A lot of blood, sweat and lack of sleep later, the business is still here. It’s amazing how fast it passed and so much has changed.

So what’s different?

1. More People Think They Know What They Are Doing…

…but many are dead wrong. I talk to many business owners and professionals each month. I’ve noticed an alarming trend of people thinking they are experts when they really have a fraction of knowledge.

Knowing a little about a lot does not make you an expert. It gives you a broader awareness of all the moving parts. It’s better to pick something and do it exceptionally well. They you can call yourself an expert — of that — before moving on to the next.

2. The Value of Real Expertise is Being Devalued

Often you need to price to what the market will bear. But an influx of low caliber “experts” is causing fair pricing to drop and tarnishes the reputation across the field. Additionally it makes business owners more suspicious and hesitant after getting burned by people of low skills.

Another example is how people tap into you for your expertise, then become hesitant and distant when you want to fairly charge for that knowledge and time commitment.

3. Time Poverty

Yeah, I know, everyone’s crazy busy. Blah blah blah. Nothing new. But it truly feels worse than ever. I chase after people. People chase after me. It’s a vicious cycle. I’ve tried many time management techniques. Plus, phrases like “work smarter, not harder” are just plain annoying. As much as I enjoy sharing advice and being a helpful guy, at times it seems more practical to be stingy and pithy to get through all the demands of each day.

4. Technological Security Requires an Ever Increasing Investment of Time and Money

The constant technical assault by mischief makers against business websites and user accounts creates a hardship for honest, hard working small business owners. This year alone, I have personally lost nearly 4 weeks of productivity in order to deal with the chaos of Distributed Denial of Service Attacks, Botnet attacks, malicious code injection, etc. That was valuable time that I can’t get compensated for and set me back on many other projects and responsibilities. I follow all the best practices to reasonably secure my client websites and protect all our data. But it’s never enough.

5. Health is Fragile

All the above chip away at my optimistic attitude. I always believed that Hard work yields rewards. I grew up watching my father work his ass off and I have followed in those same shoes. The problem is it takes a toll on your health and well being. It’s hard to wake up each morning at 5:30am and start the day with a smile.

So What’s Next?

Pain killers, lots of ’em. (LOL, just kidding!)

I’ve had growth plans in my head for a long time. I hope that they will be realized and public by the time I publish the 6th anniversary blog post.

Meanwhile, I’m pleased that:

  • The lights are still on.
  • I always pay bills on time.
  • My kids are fed/clothed/sheltered.
  • My existing and new clients continue to trust me and refer me to others.
  • I’ve helped many small business owners via the NJ Small Business Development Centers.

Best of luck to all that you do.

Here’s to another 5 years!

Reflections on our 3rd year anniversary and 4th year anniversary.