Mozilla, the makers of Firefox web browser among other things, is one of the early stage funders of Outlaw Soaps.
I don't mean that they are buying shares in the company or anything, but the last several months (some of them quite lean) have been subsidized by my freelance job with Mozilla Developer Network.
It's really fun work and the company is absolutely fantastic. I'm beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to work for such a great organization and also receive compensation for that. I used to work in tech and really miss the sense of humor and purpose-driven big thinking that are the hallmarks of that industry. (that's me giving a talk on customer-driven innovation for the View Source conference in Portland last month)
I think I have brought a lot of that humor and ambition to Outlaw.
So when my boss (also a friend) asked me if I could come to their all-hands meeting in Orlando, I had a really hard decision to make: on one hand, YAY MOZILLA AND ALL MY MOZILLA FRIENDS IN ONE PLACE AT ONE TIME (usually around the world); on the other hand HOLY SHART IT'S THE BUSIEST SEASON OF OUR YEAR AND THIS SEASON IS THE BUSIEST SEASON OF THE BUSIEST SEASONS OF ALL OUR YEARS! I CAN'T POSSIBLY LEAVE NOW!
Russ and I discussed how we might be able to both meet the needs of our customers and also send me to Orlando (which they're paying me for, so that's going to be the deposit on our new places in Colfax -- so awesome), and he agreed to take on order fulfillment while I went to Orlando for part of the conference.
Because we got accepted to Renegade Craft Fair in LA (and that's a two-person job), I have to leave the conference a couple days early -- bummer, no fancy team dinner.
Back when we decided to do this, it seemed like a great idea.
And now, I am very nervous.
What if this was a bad decision? What if I'm compromising the success of our business by going away for a week? What are all the customers going to do if they write and I don't get back to them right away? What if Russ has a question that I can't answer because I'm not available?
This is the entrepreneur's trap and why many (most?) start-up founders imagine they can't even get away from their business for a moment. They ruin their lives, their relationships, their health, and their families trying to hold together businesses that are going to be ok whether or not they work until 11pm every night.
Here's my thought process:
What if this was a bad decision?
A: Then I'll know not to do it next year.
What if I'm compromising the success of our business by going away for a week?
A: If I'm compromising the success of our business by going away for a week, then our business is not very strong. I know Russ is competent and will make sure nothing catastrophic happens.
What are all the customers going to do if they write and I don't get back to them right away?
A: We have built a business with amazing customers. These customers know us as people and know that we're just doing the best we can. They'll either be patient or they'll write us again in a couple days. No one is going to die.
What if Russ has a question that I can't answer because I'm not available?
A: Again, Russ is competent. He can answer most of the questions and if he answers in a way different than I would have answered, well, that's ok too.
So today, we're going over how to fulfill Amazon orders, setting up our Renegade booth, packing up all the Renegade stock, and staying focused on the present.
It's hard, since I really want to start planning out the new place and designing change-of-address cards and stuff, but for TODAY, we have to focus on what's in front of us.
And on that note...