In early 2015, I started a business and by the end of 2016, I had to shut it down. Prior to starting my own business, I amassed a ton of experience with process improvement and change management. You can read more about me gaining that experience in the first post HERE. In post two, I got into why I started my own business and you can read more about that HERE. Post three is all about making something from nothing. It was time to build.
I like to build things
Now in my mid-thirties, I know I’m much better at building things in a virtual environment vs. a physical one. Said differently, ask me to build a website and I’m on it. Ask me to build a deck and well, you should just hire someone else. With my new business recognized by the state and the IRS as a separate entity, it was time for me to start building the website.
In addition to learning about business in general, I learned a great deal about HTML and CSS in 2015. I took online, free coding classes (here is a site I used) and leveraged the experience of my very kind neighbor (Chief Information Officer at his company). Ultimately, I saved a ton of time using a theme by Elegant Themes – check them out here. Again, I’m not an expert on web design but Elegant Themes saved me a boat load of time and frustration. Once the website shell was constructed, I knew I needed content.
Lean and Six Sigma utilize hundreds of different tools. Many of these tools can be found with variations based on the practitioner’s experience. That’s exactly what I did. I took tools like 5 Why, Fishbone, FMEA, Data Collection Plan, Types of Waste, and Project Plans…just to name a few…and created my own templates in PowerPoint and Excel. From there, I was able to upload them to my website so other people could download and use them on their projects.
While I had the tools, I knew I had a problem. Tools are boring. I needed something else, something visual to help draw people to the website. If I could get traffic to the site and get downloads a downloading, I could get some ads up and start making some money. I reached out to one of my very talented and very intelligent friends in Switzerland about contributing some visuals to the site. Check out some of the illustrations she created (thanks again Polina!).
With visuals in place and a couple dozen templates up on the site, I was finally ready to push. It was then that I reached out to colleagues and friends to get started. I hoped for their review, use, feedback, and sharing to get things moving a little. Additionally, I opened an AdWords account and set a small budget to get some ads out. I wasn’t expecting much but I was expecting….well, something. What I got was next to nothing. Single digit page hits, no comments, and no contributions from the half a dozen experts I set up to add to the site.
Months went by
like this. Prior to setting up my business, I had the opportunity to do some limited consulting for business on my own time. Now that I had the appropriate legal entity set up to do this, nothing came up. I was spending money advertising and not making any progress. Then, like life tends to do, another curve ball came my way. In April 2016, I got a phone call out of the blue that would again change the course of my life. More about that change and the impact to my business in the next post. Stay tuned!