Cartwheel Communications [EP005]

Five Key Lessons About Being an Entrepreneur, From Two Successful Entrepreneurs

Kevin Hadas is the owner and manager of Cartwheel Communications, a website development company based in Selma, Texas, and he’s also a husband, dad, city councilor, and licensed soccer coach. He recently sat down with podcast host and fellow entrepreneur Jason Setzer for an in-depth discussion on entrepreneurship. Here are the business lessons that the two entrepreneurs have learned from their time in industry: 

Not Every Business Needs a Flashy Website

Coming from a guy who makes a living designing websites, this advice is a little surprising. However, Kevin believes that there’s an ethical component to his business and he doesn’t feel comfortable providing a $5 million website to a small business that’s just starting out, regardless of how high their ambitions may be. 

Instead of investing big bucks into a website, social media profiles and gimmicks like branded freebies, Kevin advises new businesses to have a simple website and low-key online presence that stakes out the company’s cyber space and answers questions that potential customers might ask. Small businesses are better off spending their time and money providing a great product or services and getting out there to sell it, he underlines.

When You’re an Entrepreneur, the Rest of Your Life Doesn’t Just Stop

You might have a laser-focus on getting your business off the ground, and that’s great and it’s definitely a factor in being successful. However, as Kevin notes, the rest of your life doesn’t just stop. You still have other responsibilities towards your family and yourself, and it’s important that you fulfill them. 

In order to achieve a better work-life balance, Local Talent podcast host Jason Setzer went as far as disabling his work email account on his phone. He believes that when you’re starting out, it’s important to be available to your clients and that availability is a real selling point for your new business. However, as you build up a more solid client base, Jason thinks that you can pull back from offering a 24/7 on-call service.

Keep an Eye on How Much Your Competition Charges

It’s not easy to price up the value of the service that you offer to your client. You need to factor in not just your business costs and the time spent delivering the service, but also the years of education and experience that got you to the point of being able to offer the service, and, if you’re in a B2B market, how much money your client can make once they have your service in place. 

Kevin’s advice is to check how much your direct competition is charging. He doesn’t advocate for you to undercut them or to try to fix market prices, but instead to make sure that you factor market prices into the equation before you settle on a definitive price. When he ran a quick check to see how much other local website companies were charging clients to host sites, Kevin found that what he was charging a client for a year, other companies were charging per month. This information allowed him to bump up his domain hosting charges for new clients, and to gradually raise prices for his existing clients. 

What if It Doesn’t Work, and What if It Does

Have you ever felt the pull of a brilliant business idea, talked it over with friends and family, and then pulled yourself back from doing something about it because you’ve been haunted by the fear of “What if it doesn’t work?” If this sounds like you, Jason’s advice is to counter that fear with another question: “What if it does?” 

Both of these are legitimate questions that can help you to make a well-informed decision about whether to move forward with your business idea. Jason suggests that you write both questions down on a piece of paper and answer them as a list. When you have your two lists drawn up, compare them to decide whether you’re ready to take the plunge. 

Look After Your Money, and Not Just in the Bad Times

Kevin was initially very pleased and proud of himself when his new business made some big sales and had months of high revenue. However, he quickly learned that having one or two good months doesn’t mean that every month will be just as good. He set a budget limit and decided to stick to it, regardless of how much money he’d brought in that month, to give himself a financial cushion to be able to ride through the leaner months. This caution is a good indicator for the overall success of your business. As Kevin explains, “If you can take care of your money, you can start a business.”

Subscribe to Local Talent: The Entrepreneur’s Handbook podcast to hear more funny and interesting interviews on business and entrepreneurship with Jason Setzer and his special guests.

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