Author’s note: Parts of this post were published over at Kitchen Table Companies as a Success Story. The “What I wish we’d had” section below reveals the secret sauce I’ve stumbled upon over the last couple years – this one is a freebie my friends, enjoy it.
Then one day you wake up and realize you’ve been in business almost sixteen years. You also realize the little ups and downs don’t scare you like they used to. The deer in the headlights fear you now see in other people starting businesses – all gone. You’ve made it and are an overnight success. Never mind that is was something like 5,480 overnights.
From where I stand now, the real overnight success of starting a Kitchen Table Company does in fact occur over one night. If you haven’t yet made the leap to full-time self-employment, you may not have yet experienced it. But it’s that morning you wake up and just know you are going to be just fine without a paycheck. You’ve decided you won’t miss the cube farm nearly as much as you once thought you would. That, my friends, is the overnight success that matters.
My business partner Michael Litscher and I started ColorMetrix with an idea and about $1,000 in the bank. For many years, there was no office. Just two guys in two garages – um, at two kitchen tables. I traveled far and wide selling the idea to an industry that wasn’t quite ready for the idea. Oh, how amazing it would have been to have blogs and social media back then! Michael held down the fort writing great code and providing customer support we are damn proud of to this day.
What I wish we’d had
I’ve gotten to know Joe Sorge and Chris Brogan pretty well over the last year. And not just these two – let me explain. I’ve networked my behind off online. I’ve made many good friends and some have turned into a virtual peer group. Sure Joe and I live in the same city and I frequent his burger joint every now and again, but that’s not it. I see him online every day. Now, with Kitchen Table Companies, I’m involved in daily conversations with him and dozens of other smart business folks.
The power of a virtual peer group can’t be understated. The thing about a Kitchen Table Company is that (at least for a while) it’s just you and maybe a cat or dog wandering around the house. Being able to jump online and interact with fellow kitchen tablers – some years ahead of you on the continuum, others right where you are and other just getting started – that’s been extremely valuable to me.
So valuable, in fact, that my business should double in this year because of the people I’ve met and the things I’ve learned online (in places like Kitchen Table Companies) over the last year or so. That’s my Kitchen Table success story and I’m sticking to it!