The scary part about being Employee #1

I’m used to running fairly large organisations. Since, I’m not an expert in anything, it actually works out pretty well for my generalist skill set. Instead, my job is usually to figure out everyone else’s strengths, and then to get the best out of them to meet our company’s or organisation’s goals.

So now that I am a staff of one, it’s pretty scary. There are no redundancies in skills. There’s no one else to get my work done if I take the day off. There’s no one holding me accountable for schedule or progress. And other than friends and family I confide in or the market research I do, there’s no one to even tell me that I’m heading in the wrong direction.

Currently, I’m the inventor, the website designer, the market researcher, the procurement officer, the social media strategist, the IT support desk, the brand manager, the manufacturer liaison, the bank, the logistics officer, the head communicator and the coffee runner amongst all other things.

It’s a pretty heavy burden being Employee #1 when I’m used to sharing the load.

Right now, I notice it most when I don’t have any contractors doing work in the background. It doesn’t matter if they are designing logos, preparing manufacturing quotes or fixing issues with my website. Whenever, I’m the only one working, I get nervous (and fewer emails).

Of course, it costs money to hire others to do work. Therefore, I only do this for activities where I clearly don’t have the skills to do it myself. So far, taking this approach still means that I’m usually waiting on others to complete something before I can either make a decision or progress the company forward. Yet, in a weird way, I feel better knowing that I can work on something else in the meantime.

So while I’ll continue to march forward mostly alone right now, I hope to have a team working with me next year. For I know that this business will be far better off if I’m spending my time as a manager than trying to do everything myself. I just need to start bringing in income before I can do that.

Annoying masculine legal-ese

I’ve been waiting for the new Australian financial year to begin on 1 July before I incorporate the business. I did this to avoid time-consuming tax paperwork when I haven’t sold anything yet. So, with July now only two days away, today I worked on the company’s constitution (the company rules).

The easier way of doing this would have been to pay for an online package like with Legal Zoom or Clear Docs. I’ve had a company before, and I used a similar service then. However, because this is a social enterprise, I needed to add some additional clauses which aren’t standard, but lawyers are obviously expensive.

Since I already had a Constitution from the previous company, I decided to use that as a template. What I didn’t realise was how annoyingly masculine that document was. So, of course I had to change it. Example below:

I cringed every time I read the word, “he.” I ended up using the more neutral, “they” as a wrote the new constitution, but I was seriously tempted to use “she” just to watch a new male director cringe the way that I did. In fact, I may still do that just for fun! 😉

When women in business make us all look bad

Went to a women’s “green” conference in Sydney over the weekend. I was hoping to see what other products were being made that were good for the environment. Unfortunately, it was really hard to see anything with the large crowd and the way the booths were set up. I tried to buy something at one booth, but found they couldn’t break a $50, nor did they have EFTPOS options. They told me to come back later and maybe they could make change. It’s a wonder that they’re even in business.

Women entrepreneurs networking

Attended a women’s entrepreneur networking lunch. There were so many interesting women doing amazing things. One trait that seemed interesting to me – most of their businesses were purpose-driven even if not set up as a social enterprise.