Unless you are actually the nicest person on the planet – or have never had a boss – at some point I am willing to bet that you have found yourself thinking "my boss is an idiot".
The problem that I have at the moment is that, like with almost every job I have ever had, I still occasionally find myself thinking that my boss is an idiot. He tries hard, he works the best he can, he's full of ideas and doesn't take credit for work that isn't his, but he is without doubt quite often a bit thick.
I'm self-employed. I am my own boss. I am an idiot.
My Boss Is An Idiot
I've been running my own companies now for almost four years. It started in 2015 when – you guessed it – I decided my boss was an idiot, so quit to become self-employed. It went okay, not brilliantly, but I managed to keep paying the mortgage, working when I wanted and being at home for the birth and early years of my first son, Jenson.
I was doing ethical, third-party email marketing, which back in 2015 meant I only sent one or two emails a day, with a working unsubscribe link to people who had accepted, but almost certainly not read, the terms and conditions to their online "WIN A £10,000 HOLIDAY!" sign ups.
I knew GDPR was coming. I knew it would be bad for people doing ethical third-party email marketing to people who had accepted, but almost certainly not read, the terms and conditions to their online "WIN A £10,000 HOLIDAY!" sign ups. I sort of tried some other things to generate income and spent a lot of money to learn not a lot.
But I was a bit thick. I had no strategy and no grand plan. I just wanted to be able to carry on working from home in my pants (sorry about that mental image, I hope you've already had your breakfast), playing with Jenson and keeping the mortgage paid.
So, come 25th May 2018, my first company was dead. For better or worse, GDPR came in and killed off a large part of the digital industry. Of course, I had contingency plans – I'm not a complete idiot. However, they all revolved around one main thing: the idea that the companies I had signed up to work with beyond GDPR would survive GDPR.
But one by one they all died, too. So, by July 2018, I had nothing coming in.
My boss was an idiot. He'd killed a company and I no longer had any income.
I tried lots more things, continued to spend money and simply attempted to switch the skills I had from many long and successful years of email marketing to other lead generation channels. I learned a lot, the key thing being that you cannot really switch the skills of email marketing to other lead generation channels.
Two good things came from it. One was the start of ShirtForBrains.co.uk - a new niche of t-shirt design that I not only enjoyed but also was pretty good at. I like branding, I like designing and I like making stuff. What I do not excel at is marketing using anything other than email, so again I spent a lot of money to generate very little income.
The other good thing – in hindsight – was that I was forced to get a "proper" job again. An old friend (and former boss, but a buck-trending one whom I never considered to be an idiot) was doing very well in the native ads scene – Blog Readers Won't Believe This Incredible Blog Post!!!!! – and he very kindly offered me a job. It was a fantastic office, a great job and really, really nice colleagues. And I hated it.
After several years of freedom, I hated being 9-5 again. I hated having to be somewhere at a certain time, working on projects that were given to, rather than thought up by, me and spending my time and energy making someone else lots of money.
It was the catalyst I needed. I last about 5 months before I couldn't take it anymore, and luckily for me my not-an-idiot boss was very kind when I put in my resignation.
I had a bit more knowledge, a bit more money in my bank account, a few promises of work and money and – most crucially – a determination to make sure that I never needed to rely on another employer again.
Now, I think we've covered the fact that my boss is an idiot, so this next bit may not come as a complete surprise. But it didn’t work out, at least not straight away.
The promised work often never appeared, or was highly watered down. Opportunities to do some design bits came my way, which I thoroughly enjoyed and did well, but it still didn't dawn on me that that was the path I should go down. I was so caught up with trying to get the new company going, spending time on the way it looked and sounded, building websites, helping people make new logos and business cards that I didn't realise what was staring me in the face.
Branding, design, messing about with Adobe programs – call it what you will, but if you don't know what you're doing then it's going to be one of two things. Either very time consuming or very expensive.
And my boss finally had his best ever idea. A new plan that would mean for all other companies in the future, it didn't need to be either time consuming OR expensive.
Thus digital starter pack was born. You have the great idea, the plan for a new business, the vision of what you want to do. You're all set to enter the most exhilarating and terrifying rollercoaster of your life and start your new career as a master of your own destiny. So why waste time messing about on MS Paint to try and make a logo design? Why pay stupid amounts and get annoyed trying to use an online tool to build yourself a website? Why have ugly business cards? Why focus on ANYTHING other than getting, keeping and pleasing your new customers?
We offer four different digitalstarterpacks to pretty much cover every area of your digital needs, as a new – or even existing - business. From just £99 you can have a bespoke logo, business card, email signature and social media profile image pack. From £199, a funky new website with all your important information available to the public 24/7 (the ultimate salesperson, it never calls in sick and will happily work every Bank Holiday without asking for double pay). Also from only £99, you can get amazing animated video adverts to catch attention on social media.
If you're just about to start being your own boss then make sure you learn from the mistakes of others. Don't be an idiot – get everything you need to get started for £99 and spend your time on the real things that matter.
And above all things, if you are just about to start out in the world of being your own boss... good luck. You'll swing between "this is the best thing I've ever done!" to "My God, what as I thinking?!" about 10 times a day, but ultimately, it's the greatest adventure you'll ever have.
Just don't be an idiot.