Just over six months ago, I started my own business. I was terrified.
But I’m happy to say the first half-year of The Andrew McGill Company has been really rewarding: Five great clients, challenging projects, and time to pursue my own passions (more on that soon!)
Somehow, new entrepreneurs are now reaching out to me for advice. I thought I didn’t have much to offer. But I’ve realized that starting a business is like learning any new skill – the early stages are filled with growth, and that’s worth sharing.
So I’m evaluating my thoughts through a matrix: from Surprising to Expected, and a Big Deal to a Little Deal.
When I started my company, I figured I’d spend my time designing interactive experiences and stories. Instead, most clients want my help prototyping new products or building a business strategy — which has been far more rewarding.
In the first few weeks of The Andrew McGill Company, one promising conversation would put me on top of the world, and a single discouraging word would send me back to the bottom.
That changed as I started earning money. I started with three months runway. The magic number for me was six months. I felt calmer, and I also had the confidence to turn away work — to focus on the projects that had the most value to me.
I’ve always hated submitting expenses. When I worked at Politico and The Atlantic, I’d put it off forever.
And yet — I now love opening Quickbooks and categorizing my spending.
My explanation? I’m now doing these things for myself. It’s not a hoop I have to jump through for someone else: It’s building my own wealth.
My biggest fear in starting my company was that I’d be terrible at finding clients, or that I’d dislike doing it. I “hated networking” and how transactional it felt — I’d rather just have a conversation!
Well, that’s what business development is. I’m constantly having calls and conversations that could be categorized as “warm leads.” But I never consider these talks as me playing salesman. I’m listening to someone tell me about a problem they have.
It turns out that I really enjoy this! But on the flip side, if I didn’t — I would be utterly screwed. Business rarely falls in your lap. You have to seek it out.