2014 has been a wonderful year. The year I will always remember as the year of biggest failures and biggest lessons. Here are some of the important lessons i learned:
Failing is ok.
In fact, it’s good. Someone has said “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. In 2014, I experienced a big financial crisis. Until then my company was running smoothly, as I considered myself not a business-minded person, I used to be happy with the survivable amount of work and earnings. But this year business slowed down and I faced lots of troubles. This big crisis or failure has taught me some very good lessons. Getting organised and financial planning are the two most important things I learned from failure this year.
Be driven by goals.
We need to have clarity of our vision. If we know clearly what we want then we can find ways to get it. I think I have wasted some of my past years just living by and passing by. I started my business in 2010, which grew very nicely in its early years, so I think I got overwhelmed with the success and I settled down too early. The dreams and goals I had while starting the business faded out, I delegated most of my work to managers and staff. And eventually it affected the growth of my business.
If we are not driven by dreams, we won’t keep going.
If we are not driven by goals, we won’t keep growing.
Planning is essential.
I used to think being a creative person, I don’t have to follow rules. I am a free thinker. But it’s not as good as it sounds to be carefree. The actual word for that is; careless, and it’s as bad as it sounds. My carelessness has paid me a costly price this year. I thought I was earning a good money, but my lack of long term or short term goals, lack of time management, lack of financial planning, savings, working on too many products, investing in wrong businesses have resulted to a big financial crisis in the end.
If we want to do something in life, we need to have plans. We need to have long term goals, short term goals. Goals should be broken down in to small milestones and monthly/weekly/daily actions. Otherwise we will just be walking a journey without destinations.
Finance is the heart of a business.
Being a creative person, I boasted on being ignorant about finance management. But when I look back into the 4 years of my business I realise I could have earned more, spent consciously and saved more if I had given at least a little attention to finance. Until last year I didn’t have proper book keeping, proper financial planning, company’s bank statements don’t match with internal software. I didn’t ever asked the accountant about how things are going, I just trusted her and left everything on her own, but I guess that was too much for her, but that was my fault that I didn’t give attention at all. So 4 years of my business now doesn’t have a good record financially. That is huge loss in it’s legal goodwill.
Zooming out of the problems.
When we feel like we’re in a problem, rather than getting too much affected by the problem, trying to solve it really hard, we need to try to zoom out and see the large pictures. Sometimes we can change our perception and our expectations, and we can find an easy way out.
The secret of happiness is contentment.
Feeling full. Things and stuff bring excitement, which will eventually fade out. But if we practice to be satisfied with what we possess, we can feel content. Contentment is feeling happy with small things we have in and around our lives, contentment is feeling happy just for “being”. Being here, living, breathing, with joy, sorrow, laughters, tears and all the emotions that are so beautiful.
There is so much to gain by giving, rather than possessing a lot. Doing things for family, friends, co-workers gives the satisfaction that ignites happiness and that doesn’t fade out soon.
I am different than the company I own.
My brand is different than the brand of my company. I used to be very much obsessed with my company. Since I started it from scratch and built it with my sweat and blood, it’s really dear to me. I used to think my company is me, I get clients because of me not my company, I cannot be detached from it in any ways, I will be running it all my life, only my company can help me survive. But lately I have realised that, I am a different identity, a different brand. My company is only a product, one of many I can build. My company’s brand is it’s goodwill, it’s work portfolio, it’s work culture.
I need to think larger and see my life in the wider arena, of which my company is a part. This realisation will help me to do more in my life and practicing more of creativity and entrepreneurship.
Do not put all of your eggs in one basket.
I only have one stream of income, my design agency. Last year when things slowed down, I had to face financial troubles. So I realised that there should be other streams of income to reduce the financial risk. This year I will try to build at least one more stream of income.
Slow, steady and small but consistent progress.
In 2014, Me and my good friend Prav tried too many things to do. An iphone app, an online tshirt store, a WordPress theme marketplace, a new partnership project, investment in a departmental store etc. But we havent earned profit from any of them. In fact apart from the iphone app’s popularity in the market, all the ventures only costed us expenses. Huge loss.
This year I will focus on one thing at a time, small wins and slow but consistent progress. When 2015 ends, I want to have at least one new idea or product with steady progress.
Presentation matters. Giving the value upfront is the key (in Nepal).
Past 3 months, I have been experimenting different marketing approaches in Nepal for my web design agency. I felt that some kinds of doubt and insecurities are lingering in market because of too many less dedicated agencies and freelancers. So I started this email campaign with lots of tips and lessons that a client should have about having good websites, planning and strategies for online marketing, social media management etc and I got very good responses. I think what worked out is; I was giving the information, the value without being paid anything, so they already have a sense of trust on my work.
And moreover what I found out is, our potential Nepali clients love personal meetings. I met clients personally and pitched them ideas about how their websites should be, and how promoting business is more than just getting a website online, and also how as the website owner they can do the online marketing, social media management, networking, basic seo etc. In just 3 months, i am able to get more Nepali projects than what we got in the whole 2014.
I’m glad I tasted a lot of failures in 2014, because I realised and learned so many things.
Looking forward to work hard in 2015.
Happy New year !