I like starting things. And I like finishing them.
But, to me, there’s nothing more tedious than the early stages of building a platform. The “plumbing” I’ve done it about 5 times, and then I’ve “redone” existing platforms another 15 or so times. Each time I do it I’m better at it, but not faster.
Because it’s lonely work. And the details matter.
To set up my new brand, Atom City Labs, I had to:
- Find a CRM (I used Agile CRM)
- Build a content strategy (I used Meera Kothand’s)
- Build a distribution strategy
- Find a hosting provider (I used Very Fast Host)
- Find some way to get design done (Canva, this round)
- Find a theme engine (Thrive Themes over Beaver builder by a nose).
- Set up a lead magnet.
- Set up some auto responders
- Set up analytics
- Set up a facebook pixel.
- Set up DKIM / SPF stuff on my domain.
- Set up some bank accounts
- Switch bank accounts (Hapo)
- Set up an accounting system. (TBD: Thinking seriously about going with WAVE).
- Set up a payment processor (Stripe)
- Find a signature repository (I used Adobe Sign, FKA EchoSign)
- Write proposals
- Get insurance coverage (personal umb
- Some contact forms.
- Landing pages.
- Incorporate, get a TIN, get local permits.
The list goes on. Some of that stuff had to “validate” with my domain. Some stuff took a third party’s approval. Like the state of Washington. Other stuff costs money. All of it cost time. It’s a load that a solo entrepreneur pays disproportionately.
All of this work is backfill. It’s a precondition to really earning money. It’s an ante, and it’s a risked bit of time that…if my idea a fails I’ll never get back.
And I want to tell you: it’s agonizing. It’s horrifically tedious work to do because I know how to do it all. I’ve done it before. You can’t really save a lot of time or money by outsourcing it, you just have to slog on.
For me, it takes 3 times more energy to do this type of work than it does to run something. It’s the launch energy that must be done. It’s not serving a client, it’s simply building the systems that serve the business that serves clients.
I’d estimate that it takes 20-30 hours once you know what you’re doing to do this type of work. Half a week’s efforts.
Delegating to an attorney takes about the same time, it’ll be done wrong and cost $1k.
As I’m launching my new company I have had to do this twice. I launched under the auspices of a different entity and shuttered that because (after testing) I learned that my clients needed a product to be in place as a precondition to me being able to serve them. And I had to sell THAT first because without follow up or systems the whole thing would be likely to fail.
So I had to duplicate a fair bit of this work (and pay another $50 to the state of Washington to change my LLC’s name).
Then, in a few months, this same ‘ante’ can be paid if I decide to pivot.
A lot of it is unnecessary, a distraction. A way of seeming busy, and stuff that you can justify that isn’t one of the core activities of a business. (Prospecting, presenting, negotiating, closing and delivering).
Then, this sort of thing happens again.
At Simplifilm, I changed a perfectly “fine” logo. It was a logo built in 2012 and it had a little bit of that era’s “apple” look.
Well, the number of forms, places on our website, the video reveals and the rest made that work take a lot longer than I imagined. And we kept having “both” logos displayed for a long time. For what gain?
For me, this type of work is agony. And yet I retreat to it because it’s a version of Bikeshedding.