2013 was a year of being an entrepreneur, a small business owner in the city of New York. It has finally settled in. One notices being on the outside when one’s instagram feed is full of friends who work for big agencies attending their no expense spared holiday parties. Strippers, robots, water sports, expensive Manhattan cocktail bars, its all there. The smaller shops settle for disco balls and DIY photo booths but there is still someone paying for it all. One also notices the difference when one is working through the holidays and on vacation the moment the ‘holiday season’ ends. Oh yes! We are definitely on the outside. One other development is the quick loss of critical thinking. When you work for someone else, you can complain, you can assert how your creative spirit is being throttled by the wicked money mongers who run the company. When you work for yourself, things are a bit more complicated, a lot of your time is spent building your offering, whether it is a cookie, a spin class or an app. Being critical of the kind of work you are doing is tough because that is everybody else’s job, your peers, your competitors and maybe even your mum. Your job is to believe that whatever you are making is worth its while. We did that most of last year, we believed that we could make something worthwhile together thereby kicking out the people who did not share the same values. This year we decided that we wanted to have one thing common with the rest of what we forsake to start this company. We decided that along with believing in what we make/built/conceive that people love/like/dislike, its our responsibility to make money as a business. Do businesses that don’t make money even exist. I think they do, there are a lot of businesses that have investments that they can never really make good on. The other business model that does not make money was ours, where we all paid bills through our freelance income but not by doing what we called was our ‘business’ which was creating experience design projects focussed on data, stories and participation. Do we make money as a consulting business or start making products is still in the works. For now, the new year isn’t without promise and business. There is plenty of both somewhere someplace, we just need to dig it out.
Happy New Year All!