My Next Leap: an entrepreneur's dilemma


This is going to be a big year for me. A big year for my company. At least I believe it will be, because I’m abandoning my comfort zone and expanding. By Michael Guill of 107 Designs

That might not sound like such a big deal, but so far I've managed to be 107 Designs by myself (mostly), and I've taken pride in being the Jack-of-all-trades kind of guy. But what I've learned is that in reality, I end up being the second half of that adage, "master of none.”

My inner pragmatist tells me I need to focus on that which is my best work and outsource the rest. However, as a practicing cynic, it's hard to trust others to get work done correctly.

I can hear my dad's voice in my head: "You want something done right, you gotta do it yourself." I’ll leave out his expletives, but that barmy old codger sure didn't make it easy on me. He meant well, and that's how I grew up: do it yourself, take pride in your work, keep learning, keep growing.

The Waistband Intervention

Last year was a banner year, and it almost killed me. OK, maybe not literally, but I could see the writing on the wall: I had basically stopped exercising, opting to spend all my time building my business.

I gained 25 pounds in 2010, and my blood pressure and cholesterol increased more than a noticeable amount.

On top of all that, my family wasn’t terribly happy with my frequent 16-hour workdays, even if the income was nice. To use an online industry cliche, I wasn’t scaling well.

So even though it’s a little scary, and feels like such a huge commitment, I’m hiring. Luckily, I’ve spent the past 2 years networking, which makes it a little easier to find the right people.

And since 107 Designs is a virtual company, it doesn’t matter where help is located. If they’ve got the skills and they’re the right fit, they’re in…simple as that.

1 + 1 = 3 (for very large values of 1)

Synergy: there, I said it. Having more people working on a project means far greater output than if each person was working individually. I’ve already found a couple of key people, and I can say that it feels as if a huge weight has been taken off of my shoulders.

I’ve started working out again, getting full nights of sleep, and I’ve even started dropping a few pounds. I could get used to this.

This post also appears today on the DC Fit Week blog.