At the five year mark of jumping into the unknown and starting LandWorx, I wanted to share a few lessons learned. A LOT of people helped me through the beginning – and I’m always happy to help those looking to make the jump as an entrepreneur!
1. Trust your instincts.
From the day you start, to your first employee to your first mistake, be honest and objective in evaluating your situation, but at the end of the day, trust your instincts. My first employee was a part-timer who had another full-time job. I needed the help and he wanted the connection to design. It was a big step, but having him not be reliant on me to support his family was a big help. When I grew to need more help, my full time hire was not an engineer, designer or an immediate breadwinner, but it was someone I trusted implicitly, so I trusted my gut and did it – and it has paid off and then some, for both of us.
2. Sometimes the wrong decision is better than indecision.
There is not a need to rush to big decisions, but I tended to overanalyze, and sometimes that meant missing out on an opportunity. I have missed potential team members, potential projects, and even potential clients. I have made my share of mistakes, but I generally don’t make any one of them twice. Not every project or potential hire is the right one, but I now know make those decisions purposefully and with intent.
3. The Client is always right, but only if they are the right Client.
One of the main reasons I started LandWorx was to work on projects that I enjoy and for Clients for whom I enjoy working. Understanding that sometimes ‘no’ is your best friend to avoid Clients or projects that are not a fit to the LandWorx culture was a hard lesson. I genuinely enjoy my time working and it is because of these choices. LandWorx could be bigger with more revenue, more people, and maybe even more profit, but it would not be LandWorx.
4. It’s not about the Benjamins.
LandWorx wasn’t created for me or anyone else to get rich. ANY engineer will tell you that there are much more efficient ways to make money. Five years in, I still, generally make less money than I did at the job I left. That said, my marriage and family life is much healthier. For me this is not a matter of a ‘work-life balance’. I would do everything and anything I could for my Clients and my team members, and they know that. They also generally know and respect me the same way. The best project for LandWorx is not one where we make 1000% profit with no liability. It’s one where we earn a fair profit on a well-executed project, as part of a team to create something that we’re all proud of.
5. It’s also not about the Benjamin.
Even though I started the company, I never wanted it to be all about me. I wanted a company that was driven by a group purpose. We run the company as a group where we get together to look over financials, we discuss project scopes and fees before proposals go out, we jointly decide on new hires and major purchases. I don’t use our software nearly as much or as effectively as our Designer, so at LandWorx he leads the computer and software purchasing. This also has meant opening up to new projects and services because my team members have their own passions!