I’ve worked as a web developer for around 7 years now. A decent chunk of each day is spent looking at a coding application like Vim or PHPStorm.

But that’s changing.

I’m spending more time on-boarding clients and writing for this site.

I’m delegating more.

I’m finding great team members to bring on and write code for the projects at SFNdesign. Heck I’m even getting them to work on this site.

I’m changing because I want to 10x my business (check back December 16th for more on that or join my email list so you don’t miss it).

I want to turn SFNdesign in to a $1M/year business and sitting down writing code as my sole focus is not what’s going to get me there. To do that I need to be a business owner not a developer.

It’s going to be hard to keep up

The fact is, as I spend more time leading others I can’t spend as much time ‘in the weeds’ of code. It’s going to be harder to keep up with all the latest trends and technologies — necessary if I’m going to stay on top of my developer game.

I simply can’t live and breathe code or design while working to effectively lead an organization at the same time. Something has to change.

I now need to breathe leadership and business development so that my business grows, and those who work for me get to keep their jobs and can feed their families.

That’s okay

Changing roles is okay for you too.

Perhaps you used to be “the best” designer and it’s that talent that made you popular, grew your business and allowed you to bring on other people to help build your company.

That’s not your job now, though. Your primary role is no longer that of designer.

Your job is to be a leader — to learn about how to lead.

You now need to design less, but learn about how to price and win projects so you can keep your team eating.

You’ve got ears

Remember those people you’re leading?

It’s now their job to stay abreast of the new stuff in their field, and you’ve got ears.

These extensions of you can now be responsible for keeping up with the newest stuff and latest technology. They bring you examples of the latest and greatest so you can incorporate it into your pitches.

You can send your team members to training that allows them to learn more about that new stuff so they can stay abreast of it. This keeps your company at the top of its game.

As their leader, it’s now your job to make sure your team members do their jobs well. Coders stay up-to-date on code and technology. Designers continue to hone their skills. And you’re responsible for knowing enough about your entire organization that you can have good conversations with your clients without sounding like an idiot. This is how you earn trust and credibility.

Don’t bemoan the ‘better times’ when you designed all day or coded all day.

Embrace your new job and excel at that, knowing your new role will allow your employees, and your company, to excel as well.

If you want to code all day, then go back to being a solo freelancer and don’t bother trying to lead.

photo credit: brianneudorff cc

4 responses to “Evolving in to a business owner”

  1. Patrick Rauland Avatar

    There have been a lot of WordPress solopreneurs that have started moving into the business owner space. It’s tough to give up the artisan mantle. When you’ve spent so long learning how to code you don’t want to hand that off to someone who probably won’t do it as well as you. It’s hard but I’m sure you’re going to awesome stuff. 🙂

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      Yeah it’s hard for sure which is why I’m focusing on training and feedback for the people I’m working with.

      I still want to have a bit of time in code simply because I love it but I can have so much more reach by investing in others.

  2. David Avatar

    Some make the switch automatically as their business grows… Don’t. It should be intentional, like it is in your case, Curtis. Otherwise you might get burned out business owners that suck at it but are great freelancers/solopreneurs. Same thing happens in organizations with endless promotions BTW.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      Yup you need to know what you’re good at and then pursue it with intention, not just fall in to something.