Tyler from Less Annoying Business here. Here's what's new:
Great customer service happens during normal business hours [Blog post]
A lot of people think great customer service means having high availability. That sounds nice, but in practice, I think the opposite ends up being true.
Sharing profit with employees [Podcast]
This week we get a bit philosophical. If a business has extra profits, how can they be fairly shared with employees and other stakeholders?
What I've been working on
Last week, I hit my stride with blogging and wrote five new posts! I normally put one out per week, so I can take at least a couple of weeks off and focus on other things. Coincidentally, I'm also hitting a pretty calm period in terms of meetings. I love the feeling of looking at a calendar and seeing a couple of completely empty days each week.
So what am I doing with this newfound time? I've been focusing on design for Less Annoying CRM. Over the next few months, we'll be working on a handful of features focused on the experience for multi-user accounts. Before the developers can start implementing the improvements, I need to get the designs ironed out. This is probably my favorite type of work, so I'm having a great time.
Good stuff on the internet
Too much of the "remote vs. in-person" debate focuses on productivity, as if that's the only thing that matters. Most of us spend more time working than almost anything else in our lives, and it's super important for that time to be enjoyable, even if it means being a little less productive. If you prefer being fully remote, more power to you, but I don't think, "at the office you waste time on things like interacting with co-workers" is the strong argument some people think it is.
Having said that, I agree with the "sitting in traffic" part. That feels like pure waste, and I wish our various systems (city planning, public transit, etc.) didn't make so many people live so far from where they work.
Around that time, I had the (horrible, horrible) idea that I think a lot of people have - I made this little website and in just a few months it's bringing in $1-2K revenue per month. "I just need to do this 10 more times!"
July 9th 2021
You should read this entire thread about how Reilly made his first $1 million in SaaS, but I especially want to call out this point. I see a lot of people who want to run multiple businesses in parallel rather than focus on the one that's already working. I'm sure there are examples of both approaches succeeding, but generally speaking, marginal growth gets easier over time, not harder.
For example, it's very difficult to go from $0 to $1,000 MRR. It's much easier to go from $1,000 to $2,000 and even easier still to get to $3,000. If you buy that argument, the conclusion is that it probably doesn't make sense to start a new thing from scratch if you already have something that's working (unless you just want to do it because it's fun of course).
July 7th 2021
Unfortunately, Twitter makes it nearly impossible to read full conversations, but it's worth combing through the comments of this one.
There's a growing trend of doing everything with contractors instead of full employees. On the surface, it seems appealing. Founders can avoid the commitment, management responsibilities, potential drama related to company culture, etc.
But I have my doubts about whether it can really work. There are so many reasons why building a real team is important for a business that actually wants to grow (note: I fully acknowledge that it's possible to run a thriving one-person business, that's not what I'm talking about here):
- Institutional knowledge is important. If employees are constantly coming and going, you're not going to be able to expect any employees to actually know any of the context around what they're doing. This will limit their creativity and impact.
- As I mentioned above, what's so wrong with trying to enjoy the time you spend with co-workers? Sure, you could treat them like generic assembly line drones, but why? Wouldn't work be more fulfilling if you actually had long-term relationships with your team?
- I don't buy that hiring contractors actually gets you off the hook for management and cultural issues. Contractors are still people. They still have all the squishy people problems they'd have if they were W-2 employees. Sure, you can just end their contract if you don't want to deal with those issues, but you can fire W-2 employees too. Why does someone being a contractor mean you have any less responsibility as a manager?