12-months ago I swapped uncertainty with no control and a public sector comms job for starting a business to make comms2point0 my fulltime job. Here's what I learned.
by Dan Slee
Twelve months ago I posted that I was leaving local government to do more in the sector.
I left Walsall Council to concentrate full-time on comms2point0. It felt like the right thing to do then and know it was the right thing to do now.
How has that first year gone? At times exhausting, exhilarating, jubilant, rewarding, frustrating, happy and lots else besides.
There’s an infographic we posted on comms2point0 recently about old careers and new careers. Work anywhere, anytime, with your own device and build your own ladders is the new way. That’s entirely what I’m doing. But it’s not all writing blog posts in Costa at 10am. It’s also been checking the bank account to hope that invoice has been paid. And waving off the family as they head for a day out while I sort out a deck of slides on a sunny summer Saturday afternoon.
But hey. I’m genuinely eternally grateful to everyone who has supported and backed me during this time. There’s a long list but most of all without question my comms2point0 oppo Darren Caveney who has been helpful and accommodating tops this list.
Here are some things I’ve learned
I know that going into business changes relationships. It’s strengthened some and ended others. Always it changes them.
I know that Chiltern Trains are ace. (WiFi, coffee, plug sockets and nice seats) are better than London Midland (none, but a good Twitter account).
I feel successes more. If it’s something you’ve done, got off the ground and made happen it just feels somehow more technicolour.
I feel failure more. And when things don’t happen you feel it that bit more.
I work 80 hours a week so you don’t work 40 hours for someone else. Is a truism I recall reading. I don’t every week.
I know that Mary McKenna is broadly right. She wrote a blog post to people thinking of starting their own business that they can have one day off a year.
I know that I have an understanding partner and family. At times it has been six and a bit days a week. Mrs Slee is ‘the rock on which my success is built.’
I know you need three times as long as you first think to do things. Fact.
I don’t commute anymore. And I actually haven’t missed it.
I know that arranging awards bashes is bloody hard work. So do Emma and Darren.
I learned eventually when to take a break to recharge the batteries. I was running on empty by November.
I’m grateful for the advice that you need a good accountant. Thanks, Matt.
I think that everyone called Steph is great. I’ve never met a bad one.
I’m grateful for the advice that you need to know the value of your worth and stick to it.
I’m know you need a reliable laptop. I found out the hard way.
I quickly realised you need a good MiFi.
I know that giving stuff away for free builds a reputation. But not too much.
I know that proprietary phone chargers are better than shop’s own.
I know that it’s really important to know when to take a break and recharge. I found that the hard way when I stumbled to Christmas on empty.
I know that comms2point0 is best as a collaborative thing with Darren.
I know that taxi drivers in Jordan drive very fast and with a cigarette permanently in their mouth.
I know that Foreign Office comms people face the hardest comms challenges of anyone in Britain.
I know that councils are the same the world over. Only the accents change.
I know that public sector people remain brilliant. It’s just that the have an even harder job.
I know absolutely that without a network none of what I’ve done is possible.
I know that I know about 5 per cent of what other people know about this business lark.
Dan Slee is co-creator of comms2point0.