Many years ago I prepared a schedule of blogging topics and arranged those topics by month. For example, during the month of October I noted that I would write a blog entry about any of my small business ventures or even my future business plans. During November, I noted on the schedule that my health would be a good topic to focus on and during December I listed the holidays as the primary topic. And the schedule went on for the entire year. Anyway, I pulled that schedule out the other day for inspiration on what to write about in this entry. Since we’re in the month of October and the schedule says “small business,” I thought it might be interesting to write a short entry on the first small business that I opened – Usable Web Solutions, LLC.
The quick update for Usable Web Solutions, LLC is that I carried through on my plans to remove all of my third party clients and now the business operates as a shell corporation that owns several independent websites. While I enjoyed working with most of my clients most of the time, I began to run into issues where certain clients just wouldn’t pay for my services. In business, I live by a simple code – you pay a person/company what you promised to pay them, assuming that the good or service provided was of the expected quality. Simple. I never had a complaint about the very high standards that I set for my work; rather, the clients who stopped paying me ran into their own financial troubles and their financial troubles became my issue. Not good. As you might suspect, once those clients stopped paying regularly I cut them off and canceled those contracts.
Then I ran into several issues where clients began to think that since I was their website designer, then I was also their in-house technology person. They were wrong. Some folks just didn’t understand that the guy who makes your website isn’t the guy who is tasked with fixing your Microsoft Word when a document doesn’t open… particularly when the contract you signed with that website guy clearly states his responsibilities being tied solely to your website presence! Thankfully, I only had one or two of these clients over the years (each with several websites, come to think of it). Spinning them off to other web designers in the area was an easy decision when their contracts came due.
And then there was my favorite type of head-shaking client – the ones who knew almost nothing about technology, but they would boss me around demanding that complex activities (think highly sophisticated database building) take place in a matter of days. I had one client that demanded an integrated third party payment system be installed on their website by the end of the day. Granted, if they were using PayPal or Google Wallet that would have been an annoying, but rather easy task. But, as I’m sure you suspect by this point, they didn’t want to use the easy option. They wanted to use the most complex, obscure website payment system on the internet. What fun?! After I finished that job (it took a weekend to get it working correctly), I let that client know in advance of their contract expiring that I wasn’t going to renew it and they should find another company for their website services. Last I checked, their website still hadn’t been updated and I spun them off as a client some 3 or 4 years ago.
Sure, I had many great clients, but my aggravating ones easily won the day and forced me out of the third party website management business. It just wasn’t worth the aggravation.
Today, I keep Usable Web Solutions, LLC open and I use it to manage and build my own suite of websites. You’re reading my personal blog site – JerseySmarts.com. In the coming weeks, I plan to release some new websites and reintroduce some of my old websites that I’ve retired over the years. None of these websites will have input or management-level requirements from anyone on the outside of Usable Web Solutions, LLC (and as the guy who owns and operates that company, what I’m really saying here is that I’m going to manage the suite of websites myself). Having all of my websites managed under my own banner and operated by me and me alone should make the entire management process flow much easier.
That’s your quick update on Usable Web Solutions, LLC. It was my first small business and the first major success that I had as a business owner. Here’s hoping for many more similar successes in my future!