How to Succeed In Business Without Dying


James Archer, owner of the Phoenix-based web design shop, Forty Media, recently looked back on his first year in business and there’s some terrific stuff in there for the person eager to utter “take this job and shove it” and start out on their own. It’s a great, simple look at none of the creative junk that you actually like doing, but rather, more of the “Damn, do I really need to be spending this much time on reviewing invoices?” all of which are probably the reason why 102% of small businesses fail. Luckily, James gets it and shares it with the rest of us. Here’s some little bits and pieces:

From Lesson 1: The demand for high-quality web production services took me by surprise, however, and it was only a matter of weeks before we achieved sustainability and graduated to a fascinating new problem—how to keep up with demand.

From Lesson 3: When your people come up with something weak, it’s tempting to run it past the client and hope that they’ll somehow miss the flaws. Poor work always comes back to haunt you, though. You can never shake it. Either you have to omit the whole project from your portfolio to avoid having people see it, or you put it in there and let it be the bad apple in the barrel. Either way, you lose.

From Lesson 7: In the beginning, I was scrambling to close every sale possible, mistakenly believing that income was synonymous with success. It took me a few months to realize that the fun was fading away—and with it, my enthusiasm for working hard to help it thrive.