Learning the digital ropes

I thought my apprenticeship in the digital world back in the 1990s had served me well. And on many levels it did. It served me exceptionally well.

Although I initially started as an assistant to 3 UX designers who mentored me and showed me the UX ropes, I was inducted into every part of the business.

I learnt how to write case studies, respond to tenders and put a proposal together.

Project costs were out in the open, tabled during every Monday team meeting. I remember how seeing the dollar figures on the whiteboard. Someone would DARE talk about money so publicly and openly? My working-class roots were showing. But I soon got used to it.

I learnt how to present to clients and run training sessions.

I learnt that when I brought men to my meetings, I needed to redirect my male clients’ attention back to me as the decision-maker and project leader, not the male members of my support team.

So, what is this ugly truth I learnt last week?

Business process vs project process

While I have tried, tested and proven process in place for the work I do, I don’t for my overall business.

I trust my project processes – from running a content audit to analysing user research and writing content that serves both an organisation’s goals and their end-users.

But last week, while working through the Brand Builder’s Academy (BBA) business strategy week content, I realised that I don’t have the same sort of rigorous processes in place for my business.

While I track project budgets for every dollar spent or every minute worked, I’m not tracking my overall balance sheets as well as I could be. I don’t have the figures at hand that I should know – like my expenditure as an overall percentage of my revenue or my profit margin. I do my own bookkeeping and quarterly BAS, so I have a vague idea, but not the exact figures I need to make informed decisions.

I’m also not managing my pipeline well. These days, fearing the famine cycle, I always seem to be at or over capacity.

Running my business in the same considered way I run my projects is where I want to be. I’m sure I’ll get there with a few tweaks and a refresh.

Elsewhere in San Land

I needed to take last weekend off, fully. I started this blog post on Saturday but soon realised the art of stringing words together in sentences was far beyond my capability. So, while this post is a little later than I’d prefer, I’m here, showing up and documenting my digital adventures.

Last week I published a blog post on the evils of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on my business website. It has sparked some interesting discussion about when and where they’re useful and when to avoid them.

This week in BBA we’re tackling pricing and packaging. I’ve been waiting for this week! I’m so glad next week is an implementation week as I need some time and headspace to do some deep thinking and start bringing together everything I’ve learnt and those moments of clarity.


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