My Thoughts on Business After One Startup Year

Well, Velocity Digital is one today! I can’t believe it! I’ve worked with some amazing clients and partners over the past 12 months, and I have to thank each and every one of them! My quick thoughts on my first year in business and some tips:

  • I’ve learned more in one year that I have in the rest of my career combined
  • Pricing is hard, very, very hard
  • There are people out there that want you to fail
  • But the majority will be rooting for you
  • It is ok to make mistakes (I’ve not made many, but the key thing is being able to fix them)
  • Clients love a no-bulls*** approach and they should be prepared to be on the end of ‘spade is a spade’ approach. This works both ways!
  • Getting paid can be a drag, but professional invoices help!
  • You need to be prepared to shift your business functions in order to meet demand – Velocity is now quite different to my initial vision
  • If you expect praise, forget it, and never seek it
  • Always be ready to learn from your clients
  • Learn you client’s industry inside out, if you don’t you’ll struggle to offer the best solutions
  • Often the best projects are the ones you thought you’d get no satisfaction from
  • It isn’t all about satisfaction
  • It is the best choice I’ve made. The ability to do things your way without influence from above (not god!) is amazing

Just a slice of my thoughts! I had a party today, check out the wild, behind-the-scenes footage in the video below:

You can find out more about Velocity Digital here or read my latest social media, digital and content marketing posts here – Follow @mike_mcgrail

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Rooms, mood hoovers, hubub and the effects on our work…

Where do you work?

I have the corner of an office which has very kindly been donated to me as I build my business. It is great to have a place that I can go to and get my head down and work. However, it doesn’t always suit me. See, there is another business in the room, their phones ring, they have conversations that I’m not part of related to their work, and my intuitive nature finds it hard to block it all out. That’s not their fault in anyway. I find this environment completely ok when I am doing admin, responding to emails etc etc. However, I can’t work effectively in it when I need to do the more creative parts of my job.

What do I need to be creative?

Noise. But a certain type of noise. This type of noise is the noise that is produced by a coffee shop. You know the noise I mean, you could describe it as ‘hubub’. People talking, coffee being made, background music that you hear but can ignore. I don’t know what it is about that environment, but it allows me to do my best creative work.

I’m currently reading the excellent ‘Decoded‘, by Phil Barden. It is a book about the science of marketing and why people buy. There’s a line from it I really like:

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New year, new business, new enthusiasm.

Happy new year!

2012 came and went in a bit of blur. Aside from becoming a Dad for the first time, turning 30 and also becoming an uncle, I started my first business, Velocity Digital. I started final planning in August and after taking time to sort our my proposition, pricing etc etc, I launched in September.

Where’s my head at?

Business has been very good and I’ve been working on some fantastic projects with some great clients. Financially, things have been comfortable and that has allowed to really focus my energy on high quality output. With 2013 now upon us, I’m striving to maintain and build on the early momentum. I would like extend the business to have 1-2 employees over the next 6-9 months, but I won’t be rushing in, as stability will be key. I recently won a client in Paris, France, meaning I’m operating on an international level, which is very nice indeed. Things are good and I’ll be working very hard to keep them that way.

I apologise for the short post, but want to wish you all the best for business in 2013!

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Diary of a new entrepreneur – 19.10.2012

The last time you heard from me, I had just launched my business (Velocity Digital) and was bursting with excitement at being able to show the world what I do. That was about 6 weeks ago and my introduction to the business world has been incredibly interesting so far!

Putting yourself out there

My business is knowledge based – people pay me for my knowledge, experience and advice. By starting my consultancy, I’ve told the world that I believe I can make a big difference to the fortunes of their business. That fact means that I have been treated in a much different manner to what I have been used to. When I worked for agencies in the past, I was a representative of that agency, the client (or prospective client) was assessing not only me, but the whole package. Now, everything falls on me, and I’ve immediately noticed a positive change in the way people interact and deal with me. They are much more open to criticism, doing things differently and taking a step back from being so entrenched in their business and looking at it from a fresh perspective. I’d like to think that is because as things stand, its only me and they are only putting their faith in me, not a wider team or organisation. Putting myself out there like this has been a real test of my knowledge and the way I deal with people and so far, I think I’m doing pretty well (even if I do say so myself).

Winning work Vs lowering fees

As I spoke about in week two, I spent a long time working out my pricing for my consultation time and also some ‘off the shelf’ products. I produced a list for my own use and it has been invaluable so far. I have been flexible in my pricing, this has been fruitful in many ways, but I have always ensured that I stick to a minimum. I feel my services are worth a certain amount and to go below that makes a mockery of that. I’ve also not won work due to what people have seen as high prices. That is fine and will happen forever I am sure! I want to ensure that I am not lowering prices to unsustainable levels just to win work – this does not benefit my business and in the long-run, it actually doesn’t benefit the client in the long-run.

I’ve got 99 problems but accounting ain’t one

I’d like to give a hat-tip to a couple of tools I’ve been using to help me run things smoothly…

The first is Free Agent – this online accounting software is so easy to use and is highly intuitive. From invoicing to expenses, I’ve found it a major help.

Next is Toggl – this is a simple web and mobile based app that let’s you measure the time you are spending on project work. So easy to use and the reports are easy to digest.

That’s all folks! You can find out more about Velocity Digital here or read my latest social media, digital and content marketing posts here

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That Launch Feeling

Well my first ever business went live yesterday. The feeling of seeing it sitting there on the web was amazing. Its taken 8 weeks to get to this point (fairly fast I think!) and the past week has been a tough one due to hosting issues. We had to launch the site via tethering on my iPhone as our hosts (UK2.net) decided to block our IP addresses for no apparent reason. Anyway, the site is live and has had some great feedback and that my friends, is all that matters.

I was nervous in the lead up to launch, a lot of work has gone into the site and the proposition and to put it out there for all to see was fairy daunting. Natural I guess!

I do intend to keep this diary updated – it’s a great way for me to keep track of my journey and thoughts and it would appear that a few people actually enjoy reading it, which is rather nice.

In the meantime, you can visit the Velocity Digital site, read the blog, follow Velocity on Twitter and join in on Facebook too. Or you can chose to do none of those. It is entirely up to you.

Do you like the Velocity ninja star? All Velocity Digital branding and site design/build was handled by corporatePRM.

You can follow My Startup Blog on Twitter for tweets about startup, tech, marketing and more…

You can follow me on Twitter too. I tweet about social media, digital comms, technology and a tonne of other stuff…

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We Have Lift Off! Introducing Velocity Digital…

Hello! Well, here I am, finally in a position to launch my business…

Velocity Digital is my first step in to the world of entrepreneurship, it has been an amazing journey so far and I’ve really enjoyed charting it on this blog. Velocity Digital is a social media, digital and content marketing consultancy. I’ve been working in marketing and specifically the digital side of the field for many a year now, and in the past four years, social media and content marketing have become a massive part of what I do. Having my own business is something I’ve always wanted to do and to be launching my consultancy is the culmination of years of dreaming and planning. I cannot wait to get stuck-in and start making some serious magic happen for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

I intend to keep this diary going and will strive to update it as often as possible. That’s all for now. Bring it on.

Keep up to date with Velocity Digital on the Velocity Blog.

If you would like to discuss working with me, feel free to drop me an email.

Later!

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Diary of a new entrepreneur – Week 6 (10.09.12)


Week 6 and the launch has stuttered a little…

This Service is Delayed…

Today was supposed to be the day that I revealed my business to the world. Unfortunately, there will be no such unveiling as there is still work to do on the site. We are trying to do something pretty nifty to do with responsiveness of the site to mobile devices etc and it is proving a little troublesome, however, it will not defeat my super-clever developer and all will be well! I expect that I will be able to fully launch at some point this week, if not early next.

It Has to be Perfect

The thought of ‘going live’ without the site being absolutely spot-on makes me throw up a little in my mouth. There is nothing worse than a false start, especially with such important ‘shop fronts’ as websites. Perfection can be a dangerous beast, as when do we know if it has actually been reached? When I searched Google for ‘the strive for perfection’, it returned an article with this quote from Sir Henry Royce:

“Strive for perfection in everything you do.
Take the best that exists and make it better.
When it does not exist. Design it.”

Sounds easy, right?

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