My name is Jaron Hall, and I graduated from the U in 2017. I spent most of my days on campus in the Lassonde Studios while building my business.
Unlike my classmates, I did not get a job after graduation. Instead, I continued to work on my humble house cleaning business, Utah Maids.
Utah Maids, the still small company, has exceeded over $300,000 in sales. We’ve cleaned over 2,500 homes and counting.
What have I learned on my journey to six figures in revenue?
1. “To-Do List” to infinity
You’ll never be “done.” If you have a traditional day job, you might on occasion be able to finish all your work that day. However, if you’re focusing on growing your own business, then you will never be “done.” Your to-do list will always be stocked full of ideas to try, things to check on, tweaks to make, people to follow up with, software to try out, problems to fix, calculations to run, missing things to discover, etc…. You’ll be wishing there are more hours in the day. But you will never ever do it all. Learn to manage this. Focus on what’s essential. An excellent quote I heard from Tim Ferriss about prioritization is, “If it’s not a ‘Hell Yes,’ then it’s a ‘NO.’” Also, most of your tasks are not glamorous. If it seems like something self-ego-fulfilling, it’s probably a “no.”
2. Emotionally wrecked
On your journey to build a business to six-digit sales, you will experience the feelings of pure ecstasy, deep despair, confusion, total frustration, trust, loss of trust, perhaps even some hatred and a whole lot more. It’s not uncommon to feel these. After all, we are evolved animals trying to operate in a modern world with ancient instincts. However, you must to learn to keep them in check. You do NOT want your startup’s success to be determined by your own personal emotions. You want to have systems in place both in the company and in your brain so that they are separated. Strengthening your mind is a skill just like learning anything else.
3. Destroy the big problems ASAP
You’re probably thinking, “Well, yeah, that’s obvious.” But no, let me tell you how this can slip by. If there is a big problem hidden in the back of your mind about your company, it can seem OK to address some small tasks now instead of tackling the big task. Don’t let your mind trick you like that. The big problems will only become bigger problems. If you recognize a big problem with your service, product, company policy or whatever, then don’t put it on the shelf to do later. Do it now. The small tasks can wait.
I’m a total sucker for reading overnight success stories. Take this headline for example: “Bird Scooters Valued at $2 Billion, Launched 12 Months Ago.”
Wow, how do I do I accomplish that?
Listen, being optimistic is valuable, even required as an entrepreneur. But let’s be realistic, too. Chances are you won’t succeed in the same way. Bird is an outlier, an extreme success. Depending on your product or service, you won’t see results for weeks or months. If you can come to grips that your success will take some time, then you won’t disappoint yourself or burn out as quickly.
5. Procedures are attractive
Ooooooh, I love me a good, well-organized process in an organization. I might be weird, but to me, it’s like appreciating art. I could not get to six-digit sales without delegating tasks and creating internal systems. Utah Maids has over 10 employees, and I have a manager with their own roles and responsibilities. If you “delegate” a broken system to somebody, then you’ll certainly have problems. You must learn to understand a process inside and out, break it down into steps, and then delegate that proven system to somebody. (Training with narrated recorded screen videos is my personal favorite.)
6. Where’s all my money?
When you have a few hundred thousand dollars incoming to your business banking account, and many thousands outgoing as expenses, then you will quickly realize your business finances are much more complicated than your personal finances. So many businesses keep bad financial records in the beginning (including me!). You need to see where your dollars are going, even if it’s a pain to stare at excel sheets all afternoon. Get in touch with some Lassonde staff, and I bet there will be a Lassonde Workshop or Hours with Experts event that can assist you with handling your business finances. It’s not always fun to learn accounting when you could be building your product, but it’s a must.
Feel free to reach me. I would love to hear from other student startups. I might have a few things to share with you, and I bet you could teach me some awesome things as well. Find me on twitter @jaron_hall or email me at email@example.com.