Chapter 2 – YOU SUCK
I said it. The Marines have a saying when the going gets tough – like real tough. Probably tougher than you can imagine. It is “embrace the suck”. So I am going to task you from the beginning to embrace the suck, quickly, and move on. Getting pissed off won’t help your business. It won’t make you money, or pay your mortgage, or your employee’s mortgage. It won’t strengthen the backbone of the American economy – because small business is the backbone of the economy, wherever you are. So get over it.
Now that you realize you suck, I am going to tell you that, because you are the reason your business sucks, you should be happy! You can change. There is, literally, nothing easier to change than yourself once you have identified the problem. There is something empowering in identifying the problem within yourself and fixing it. Not many people are able to do that. Those people have failed businesses. But that doesn’t have to be you. Because you are embracing the suck and you are going to come out better on the other side.
When I left my 9 to 5 I had no idea that I would be starting a business. I just wanted to bring in some money from home while I raised my children. I knew, fortunately, that I had no idea about the internet and working remotely. This was way back in 2007 when the virtual employee was in its infancy. There were few job boards for virtual jobs and Venmo didn’t exist. We had PayPal when PayPal was mostly associated with just eBay. We just celebrated Facebook’s first birthday. It was the wild west of the remote worker.
Somehow, I managed to connect with an SEO consultant who needed regular blog posts for her website. Do you know what I knew about search engines? Google? Nothing. Zip, Zilch, Nada. In fact, I think I was still using “Ask Jeeves” at that point – but don’t quote me. She gave me a test run. One article, SEO optimized and, most importantly to her, something people would want to read.
After a lot of research on Search Engine Optimization, thank you Jeeves, I came up with my, very first, published article on the internet titled – “Too Slow For SEO: Keep your Website from Falling Off Google’s Map” I’m still proud of that. Firstly, It made me realize I could actually get paid working at home and that I was pretty good at writing. I was off to the races.
I still didn’t have a business though. I was a freelancer and for a while, as I researched SEO and Web Design, it dawned on me that I could use all these tools to expand my customer base and actually earn a decent income from home. So I did. And I got more freelance clients. I sort of had a business at that point but not a plan. It fell, as they say, into my lap.
Knowing what I know now, if I had tried to turn that freelance gig into a business, I would have failed miserably. I knew just enough to be dangerous but not enough to be successful on a larger scale. Why am I telling you this story? Simply, It’s to show that you can start off sucking and end up not sucking. That’s it. And for the record, I still suck in a lot of ways today – just a little less than before.
So the first lesson is:
“Test the waters and see if you suck”