14: Working On & Working In The Business

The importance of working ON your software business as well as IN the business is big topic and a daily struggle. Aaron and Darren share their views, current work load and their goals for working In/On their businesses.
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[intro music]

00:10 Aaron Weiche: Episode 14, working on and working in the business.

00:16 INTRO: Welcome to the SaaS Venture podcast, sharing the adventure of leading and growing a bootstrap SaaS company. Hear the experiences, challenges wins and losses, shared in each episode from Aaron Weiche of GatherUp and Darren Shaw of Whitespark. Let's go.


00:44 AW: Welcome to the SaaS Venture podcast. I'm Aaron and I'm back from vacation.

00:50 Darren Shaw: I'm Darren and I don't know when I'm gonna have a vacation.

00:56 AW: There's a clear separator between us. I feel your pain. So, how have you been man.

01:01 DS: I've been great, thanks how have you been? .

01:03 AW: I am newly relaxed after my first real vacation since earlier in the year, in March, my wife and I went to London for a week and that was definitely a vacation. We left all the kiddos, all four kids at home for that though. So this was a family vacation out to San Diego, so left behind 30 degrees in Minneapolis and enjoyed 75 sun and a perfect breeze every day in San Diego right on the beach.

01:37 DS: Wow.

01:38 AW: And yeah, had a great time. And finally, this is sad to admit, plays into our topic today. But I had my first two days straight of not opening my laptop in probably six months which is kind of scary right when you look back at it.

01:54 DS: It's pretty good to do that though. I find if I go away for two weeks, then I do always have to bring a laptop so it's like when you have it, it's easy to open it and get caught up on a few things. Maybe if it's just like for a half hour before bed or whatever. And it's just nice to not do that at all for a couple of days and really take a break.

02:14 AW: Yeah, no, my backpack was there and I set it in the corner, I basically put it in a time out in our room.

02:23 DS: That's right.

02:24 AW: I would walk by it and I would just look at it and I'd be like, "Not today, my friend, not today".

02:28 DS: That's good, that's the way to be, nice. So it was pretty short though it was how many days.

02:35 AW: Yeah Friday to Wednesday so, five days, travel time in there, but it is so fun... One thing that I love is I travel alone so much and when I'm traveling alone, I often look at other families in the airports, and kids are usually... They're going somewhere fun, they're excited and I can't help but wish my kids were with me, and when we get to all travel together to go on like a vacation, it's often somewhere warm to break up the monotony of Minnesota late fall, winter pre-spring kind of deal, and yeah, my kids just love it, they're happy, it's so fun to be with them. My little guy right now, my youngest is three, and everything... He met the pilot, and he got a sticker and...

03:30 DS: Awesome.

03:30 AW: And he's telling everybody, he's a pilot, and riding the bus to the rental car center, he was then their bus driver, and just watching everything through his eyes and the beach and the ocean, and everything else. So rewarding it's so fulfilling that. I just love it.

03:48 DS: Three is so cute. Oh man, I look back at videos of Violet when she was three. Just adorable, love it. That's a great age.

03:55 AW: Yeah, no, it's a fantastic age. I wish I could freeze them and I have all the others, my kids are 15, 13, 10 and 3. So I've gone through this many multiple times, but I am enjoying his threes more than any of the others because you just, it's known, you understand so many things and you realize just how fast it goes. I can't believe my oldest has her driver's permit and...

04:21 DS: That's crazy.

04:22 AW: Yeah, 10th grade and all of the... She's only gonna be at home a couple more years, which is mind-blowing. So.

04:29 DS: Man four kids and CEO of a really popular SaaS company. How do you do it? 

04:35 AW: Because I have an awesome CEO at home that runs the ship there. So that's exactly how I do it. She makes my life easy. So that's how.

04:44 DS: Yeah, I've got a similar set-up here, so yeah, it works out pretty well.

04:47 AW: Yeah, you gotta have that support crew.

04:49 DS: Yup...

04:49 AW: What have you been up to? 

04:52 DS: Well, I've just been busy with work stuff lately. Our next vacation won't be until March, we've got a four-day trip, planned to Jasper, we go skiing in the mountains every year, and so that will be awesome. We do that. I love to ski, yeah, but so at work, we finally launched a huge update to our Local Rank Tracker." It's a crazy update, because it's... The big thing we're announcing is, "Oh, you now have screenshots in our Rank Tracker, so you can actually look at the results on each day, right? But behind the scenes, we rebuilt that whole thing from scratch, it was a complete rebuild. So internally, it was a huge job, and we've got it out the door now and I'm really excited about it, because we can iterate so much faster on feature updates, now, so it's gonna be fast and furious pulling out new features over definitely one or two feature updates per month are gonna be hit in that Rank Tracker. So I'm excited about that.

05:51 AW: That's awesome.

05:52 DS: Really good growth potential for that software. And I know a number of people who are in the industry are excited about it. So I'm excited about it too. Sounds good, our GMP service continues to grow, it's we'll keep adding clients at a pretty decent pace and we're gonna have to hire again pretty soon. The next couple of months, so that's great. That service is doing very well, it just feels like I'm on the hamster wheel right now with all of this end of year work, and it's like all of my team is totally tied up, and so, I just find... Getting to our topic of the day, I just really feel like I'm working in the business so much right now. 

I've got so many projects that I have to allocate time to and actually sit down and work on them, and it's just so hard because all day long, I'm just dealing with the business, and then so in the evenings, I have to sit down and actually work on the projects. It's just... It's been tough. Just lots of work right now, and... Which is great, 'cause work is great, but it's just been really busy.

06:53 AW: Yeah, and it's one of those things that... Oh man, it ebb and flows so much, right? 'Cause when we were talking before this and we didn't even have... Nailed down what we wanna talk about today. And you kind of alluded to like, "Oh, I feel like I'm on a hamster wheel." I'm like, "Perfect. That's it."

07:08 DS: It might be a good topic.

07:09 AW: Let's just talk about what's going on right here and right now with it. So tell me a little bit. Do... Other than having this conversation with me, creating some space for you to reflect and be like, "Man, I am just spending a ton of time working in the business right now." Do you usually realize that yourself and pull yourself out to work on the business, or does that only happen when you get a break from working in it? Like what does that look like for you? 

07:42 DS: Yeah, it happens naturally. So it's not like I make some concerted effort to pull myself out, but it's just right now, a number of projects piling up that have to get done and I'm the person that is best suited to get those done, and so I'm just working a lot in the business. But when those wrap up, I think, I've generally got a pretty good set up in terms of company organization and structure, and I have people that can do all of... Most of the things, and so that allows me to just have a little bit of breathing room to spend more time with more strategic planning. 

So it's like, if I'm thinking about where we're heading and all that stuff, and that just feels more like working on the business. But if I'm doing projects, then that's working in the business, and just right now I'm just busy with that. But I think that it'll ease up over the next couple of months. So January, for sure, I'll be back to spending more time on the business.

08:40 AW: If you had to break that down into numbers and give a percentage of time in versus time on, where would you say you're at right now? What does this last year look like for you? 

08:52 DS: Well, that's a good question because I think we have to define what is working on versus what is working in it, right? So if I'm planning out HR policies, is that working on the business or is that working in the business? It kind of feels like on the business. So I have to do a lot of that stuff too. If I'm strategizing new processes and scripts for our support team, is that on or in? It feels to me like maybe that's on. So I guess, if I break it down, I probably spend 50-50 right now. Yeah, it depends on what you consider on versus in. So what do you consider on versus in? 

09:32 AW: Yeah, I guess, in is more things directly related to clients, getting tasks accomplished, things like that, where on is definitely more planning, strategizing, right? It's not just so much task-driven but more ideation, mapping it out, a future state, goal-setting... Where do we want get to with those things? And in is...

10:00 DS: Sure. If we defined it as that, it's like goal-setting, ideation, mapping things out, then I'm like 90 in the business and 10 percent on the business.

10:10 AW: Yeah. And where do you think you'd like to get to? What do you think would feel right or you'd be happier with? 

10:16 DS: Probably 30. 30 percent more of that strategic planning stuff. Honestly, I think I would run out of ideas. Because it's not like it requires that much time to be putting in goal-setting and all that stuff into your documents, right? So there's still all the other day-to-day, like issues come up with customers, and working with the development team on testing software, giving feedback, working with designers, working on hiring, all that stuff is day-to-day work that is gonna require most of my time. So I don't know. I think, if I got the strategic planning to about 30 percent, I feel like that would be a better balance. How do you feel about it? 

11:00 AW: Yeah. Yeah, I would probably say I'm closer to 80-20 as far as 80 percent in and 20 percent on. I'd love to probably get closer to 50-50. It would be more ideal. One of the things I've found in between the growth that I've been able to be a part of at the last two companies, one being an agency and then, now GatherUp in the SaaS space, a lot of that comes from team growth. Right? 'Cause eventually, you get... You're trying to plug in... I've found that the best thing to do is recruit or hire owners that can own the task-driven elements of it. 

When you don't have that, then you have to own it. Right? I think you already made the comment. Like, "I'm the best person to get these things done," and eventually you have to realize, "I need to hire someone who is better at getting these things done than I am, so I can bring myself up."

12:01 DS: That's a really important point that you've made there. And I think that's big and is... I think, it's also... As a founder or CEO, for me, maybe it's a bit of a failing is to assume that I'm the best person to get it done. But yeah, I shouldn't be. For me, it's like resources are thin and I know that the team members that would be best to do this thing are just completely strapped right now, so I'm like, "I can't put another thing on their plate." So it's like it falls to me. I gotta get it done. Someone's gotta get it done. No one else has room on their plate, so it falls to mine. That's kind of the situation I'm in right now.

12:37 AW: Yeah. And with it, I mean, do you think about that when you're going through and you're looking to hire? I mean, are you always hiring for task positions? Or are you ever hiring for somebody it's like, "Alright," who can also be a thinker, not just a doer, who can own this, build more process, scale it, do those things where I don't have to be responsible for that part? I need to be responsible for helping them with the vision of it, aligning it, making those things happen."

13:05 DS: Yeah, I think it's an opportunity of growth for me to look at it from that perspective, 'cause I think I do mostly hire task-based. It's like, "Here's the job. We need someone to do this job." But everyone kinda reports to me, which is probably not the best. They should mostly report to themselves and just give me regular updates. And then they'll have team members that report to them. And I do have that across the organization in a few key positions for sure. And I think I actually, I maybe sell myself too short. 

I actually have a lot of really solid people in key positions that run with a lot of stuff that doesn't have to go by me, which is great. So trying to delegate more of that and empowering those team members to like, "Hey, I trust you. You're doing a great job. Just go ahead. Do that thing, and I don't need to see it. You can just tell me about how I went." I think I'm getting better at a lot of that and having these key trustworthy people being able to just run with things.

14:01 AW: Yeah, no, for sure. Trust is a big piece of it, but some of my most rewarding things are often times where all I did is mentioned or provided initial direction. And then all of the magic happened by others making it happen.

14:14 DS: Totally, yeah.

14:16 AW: Right? It's a super rewarding thing, and time is the biggest commodity. And at some point, Darren is completely tapped out of time.

14:25 DS: Yeah, that point was like five years ago.

14:27 AW: To do these things.


14:31 AW: It's hard. It's super hard, but that's one way I found of doing that. The other is just finding planning some of that discipline time where knowing and understanding... What do I need to think creatively, right? Is it time away from a computer? Is it traveling? Is it setting or planning meeting with certain people? Is it going to a conference and being inspired? So it's figuring out what things help create space for me to get in the mindset of working on the business and higher-level thinking and make sure that you're putting those into your schedule on a somewhat regular basis instead of filling your entire schedule with task after task after task after task.

15:14 DS: Calls and... Yeah, exactly. Yeah, we both need to get flotation tanks in our office, and it could just be like, "I'm gonna schedule an hour, I'm just gonna float in the tank for an hour and think about the business." [laughter]

15:27 AW: Yeah. Is there anything that you do on a daily basis? So we don't have a flotation tank, but do you try to work it in as far as that tightly or weekly or monthly? What are some of those things for you? 

15:42 DS: I currently do not schedule strategic planning time. So I should. I love that idea. What I try to do, this concept of being so distract-able and so accessible is a problem in my business. In the way I operate, I feel this problem. It's like I get in front of my computer in the morning and I've got 16 Slack messages, and 25 emails and I just start banging through them. It's probably the worst way to start your day because then you're off on somebody else's schedule all day long. And so what I'm trying to do and I haven't been very successful at it so far, is the first two, three hours of every day is just my time. It's like, I've got this project I wanna work on, or I could squeeze in some strategic planning into there. And then, I'm not available until afternoon or something like that. I won't answer your Slack messages. I won't respond to any emails until afternoon. And then at least I have that feeling that I have accomplished what I needed to accomplish from my own list. And now, "Okay, everyone else, what do you need from me?" That's where I'm trying to get to.

16:50 AW: Yeah, no, makes sense and totally is the right direction. Sometimes I try to stretch myself, and I try to push all the way to like, "What if I was 100% on that side?" Right? Setting vision, strategy. What if that's where I spent all of my time? How would I go about that? How would I accomplish it? And then what would I need underneath me to actually implement it and to make it happen?" And I find that that stretches me a great deal, and it definitely causes me and especially at certain times within our growth that makes me think a lot more strategically about, "Yeah, I could hire somebody who does this, but why don't I find someone who has an experience and has those capabilities?" And I get, it's much harder, because it's gonna require more budget, recruiting the right person. You don't wanna miss on those types of hires. But I've almost always found that no matter how scary those are or you're investing more time, money, resources or whatever it might be, they pay off like three to five X over and over again, where a lot of just the tactical ones pay off on a one to one.

18:00 DS: Sure. Yeah, getting the job done versus creating broader vision and moving the company forward.

18:08 AW: Yeah, so let's talk about what's a little bit like, "Why are you in the hamster wheel right now? What are some of these things that are going on that you're so heads-down on? Why do you feel that they matter so much?"

18:21 DS: So they're big enterprise projects that are custom projects that require a lot of man hours, and they're important for the revenue of the company. So it's like I couldn't really turn them down. And so they just had to get done. And so, they're wrapping up over the next couple of months. But these are the things that I'm putting in like a few hours every day on. And so they're really pulling me into the business, just getting the task done, actually doing the work. It's just timing and end-of-year project. I always often find this. A lot of our enterprise clients are like, they've got end-of-year budget, and so a lot of this stuff happens in Q4 for us. So I'm just in the middle of that right now.

19:04 AW: Yeah, well, I'm no different. I mean, end-of-year, it's so conflicting, right? 'Cause on one part of you is trying to get as many things done with this timeline that's there, right? It's like, okay, this is the end of the year. There's all these things that we talked about at the beginning of the year that when you looked at them at that time, it's like, "Yeah we can get those done and it's gonna be awesome and great." And then you get towards the end of the year and it's like, "I basically have like four big features that I thought would be done by the end of the year. And now, the reality is like two of those are gonna be done." And then I've had to get resourceful. 

We're actually trying to knock out a third by using, we have a couple of contractors that are full-stack devs, but they primarily do front end development work for us. But we're basically outsourcing them, building a feature to get this third one done. And so it's breaking our protocol a little bit more, but it's looked at like I'm basically buying a feature from outside of our workflow because timing-wise, it's like, okay, I look at that and it's like, "I need to get those done 'cause otherwise, if those spill into 2020, now there's my first quarter of 2020."

20:15 DS: Yeah.

20:16 AW: It's this perpetual putting you further behind. So at the same time you're trying to wrap all that up then really, you should already be strategically thinking about 2020 and planning out how 2020 is gonna look. But you don't have time because you're so busy wrapping up 2019.

20:30 DS: Exactly. Actually, that's another thing that's really taking up a lot of my time. So I was quite busy with the launch of the Rank Tracker update, so preparing videos, talking with marketing, bug fixing, testing, really spending a lot of time in that talking with clients and customers and really getting a feel for it. And just our support team is bringing up issues. So a lot of stuff on there. I'm working on a redesign of the software, so a lot of back and forth in revision requests with the designer on that. I'm working on new software features across a ton of our different platforms. So this is a problem actually. GatherUp has one software system. It's a reputation and review management and feedback management. 

Whitespark has four different software systems and three different services. And so I really feel like quite spread thin because I have to be touching all of these different things. So I have stuff happening in our citation services that are ongoing revisions, lots of stuff like managing and overseeing all of that. Each individual software I have different teams on each of those software things. So this is really driving a hamster wheel. So it's just all of the management of the different moving parts of the different services and software in our business.

21:53 DS: And so, yeah. And then plus, on top of that, managing these projects that I actually have to do the work on. So that's where I'm at right now. So I feel like I'm gonna be like that until the end of 2019. And then when 2020 rolls around, hopefully, I can... What I need our product managers, project managers, they can oversee all of that. But it's not like I have all the money in the bank to just hire six new people, right, so that's the trouble.

22:21 AW: Yeah, yeah, well, and here's the breaking news. You're gonna have a whole new set of really important, really big things as soon as you put these to bed. [laughter]

22:30 DS: Yeah, breaking news.

22:32 AW: It's like it's not gonna change. Yeah, but some of those things, Darren, those are the things that cause me to work backwards on things. And what do I need to create to get to more of those resources? 

22:42 DS: Yeah, exactly. And I'm definitely doing that.

22:45 AW: Yeah, that's where you have to think about pricing and profitability. All those things tie into how do I create this then. If my only constraint if I have endless ideas and things that need to get done and high importance and all those, how am I not creating room for those to happen. And it comes down to then a pricing conversation or margins or what are we paying for other certain things and are they valuable enough? 

23:12 DS: Yeah, and I think we're definitely seeing growth across everything right now, which is great. I think we've made a number of strategic moves that have been very helpful for the company, and so growth is happening. And I'm also... I see so much future growth as we continue this launch train. So we've got a number of things that are coming out. And that will increase revenue, then we can make more of a strategic hires. And then I just basically sit in my isolation chamber all day long and think about the business. [laughter]

23:45 AW: Alright. So here's a working-on-the-business question. Have you ever thought of removing one of your offerings and then doubling down on one of the others that you feel has more potential or more profitability or things like that? How scary is that or how much time have you spent looking at that? 

24:04 DS: Yeah, I have thought about that. It's once something's out the door, it's making enough revenue that you're like, "Wow." You're not gonna ditch that, and lose those tens of thousands of dollars a month in revenue." So what you do is you just table it for a while. It still continues to operate. We just continue to support it, but feature progression stops on it. And so we put all of our attention on something else for the next little while. And then we'll come back to it. But what I'm starting to look at more and more now, and I've actually had quite a bit of success with, is hiring, like you mentioned this too, hiring a contractor to keep that thing moving forward while our company resources are allocated somewhere else. So I'm actually doing this, but that falls to me. I'm the guy that has to manage all the contractors right, so yeah.

24:51 AW: But you could be buying a contractor to double down or triple down on something else that has more right? There's still a cost of keeping it running, supporting it, kinda all those other small pieces, right? 

25:04 DS: Yeah, all of the individual parts that we have are successful enough in their own right, that... And they also form the broader picture of where the company is heading that I don't see myself ditching any of them. They all provide value and will provide greater value in what we're building. That's my vision anyways. That's my strategic vision.

25:24 AW: Yeah, and as you mentioned, right, you're working on a plan to unify these. I think if you'd go back, you would say, "My misstep is creating these in silos as separate items when I should have been building them all together. [laughter]

25:38 DS: Yes. Many, many times have I declared that misstep, yes. [laughter]

25:44 AW: We all have them, that's for sure. So there's one other question that I had for working on, what are some of the things you do for inspiration, motivation, where are you gonna get ideas from? What does that look like for you for working on the business? 

26:02 DS: Where does that come from? It's not like I sit down and say, "I'm gonna bang out some ideas." It's like the ideas, they just come so fast and furious, they're all over the place. It's like just being engaged in the community is probably a big part of it, so talking with other local search people, reading all the articles that are coming out, so just being involved in my industry is an endless source of ideas of how we need to improve the business and then of course talking with customers and clients, all the emails that come in, and all the support requests and talking to our support team. It's just like how we need to improve the business is right in front of me all the time. I don't need to spend some time, but sometimes, I would say the best source of idea generation is the shower. 

So just I'll be... [chuckle] I'm in the shower, sometimes I'll take a half-hour shower 'cause I've gotten an idea brewing and then I get out of the shower and I write it down. It happens to me, on at least a monthly basis. I don't know about you. How about you? Where do you find the time and what do you do with that time for business planning, strategic planning? 

27:04 AW: Yes, so you're right about the shower sometimes, which then usually causes me to say...

27:09 DS: Exactly! 

27:09 AW: Did I shampoo my hair or not? And then I'm like, alright, I'm just doing it twice, I'm either extra clean or that is the only time I've done it, so that also makes me feel like I'm getting old and things are starting to fall apart already. I have learned about myself that I find this the best, when I can immerse in something different than my usual so I get it a lot out of traveling, and when I do that I really try to immerse myself since a lot of what our product does ends up touching like a consumer is the end customer, right? 

And so getting into places where I can interact with another business and look at like what's their customer experience like, how do they talk to their customers, what technology are they using, at what points in that interaction could have they have asked me for a review or done anything like that. How can I just sit and pay attention to other things? So it's when I can take my role and I can actually remove myself from being somebody running a company and running projects and tasks and are all of these things getting done and when I can get myself closer to an end user of my product and put myself in the client's shoes of the business I'm in, and then also the end consumer.

28:28 AW: And a lot of times when I see those are... I get a lot there or when I push myself to just experience other people's technology and solutions. It's one thing, I was just thinking about from a different vein today, where it's one thing I need to do to push our team more is just this constant awareness of trying other pieces of software on free trials, just to extrapolate what's the UI like, what's the user experience, what's the on-boarding process. 

And I think you get so busy on the hamster wheel of like, "Here's how we do it and here's what we need to build" and everything else that you're not doing this reconnaissance and research and immersing yourself in these other experiences to be like, "What's great about these? And I see your team, you end up so laser-focused and you're running that hamster wheel so hard that you're not taking any time to step outside of that, that even people on our team they do it.

29:20 DS: Would you call that working on the business? So if you're doing some kind of strategic research where... This happened to us recently, we're looking at improving our on-boarding process for our Rank Tracker software and so we did exactly that, we signed up for a bunch of things, watched other emails come in, and we've been taking notes and putting that down and preparing our own process for that. And so would you call that working on the business or is that working in the business? 

29:45 AW: I would say the first part of it, thinking and outlining like, "Hey what's gonna make us better while researching other products, getting new ideas, seeing their communication patterns, on-boarding process all that, I'd say that's working on the business. Then once you get into, "Alright, somebody needs to sign up and I'll take a look at these things and log the research and get the emails then that's... " Now you're working in the business, right? And that's a little bit...

30:10 DS: I was gonna say, then it's like five minutes on the business, and 17 hours in the business right, 'cause it's like, it couldn't take long to come up with that concept that, "Okay, I'm gonna check out some competitors."

30:23 AW: But it's even, I would say it's stretching further, like don't just stop at your competitors right, and that's probably where you need to set the tone of what could be similar to this? What are real life experiences that... To me it's like I look at, if you go... If you're on vacation and you go on a tour somewhere, right, there's an on-boarding process from ticket sales to pre-tour to what they set out for you when the tour starts, like all these things, right? And then you can break those down, it doesn't have to be a software interface. You can say like, "Oh how does this company do a great job of setting my expectations, capturing more dollars for me, ensuring I'm gonna have a great time, letting me know when and where I can ask questions and how to get the most out of this experience, right? 

31:10 DS: Sure yeah, totally.

31:11 AW: So all that stuff I find really, really fascinating and because I'm able to look at it and get my mind right around it, I can take a lot more out of it and there's probably time right? My family probably wishes I wasn't looking at certain things that way, 'cause I'm over-analyzing instead of just being present, maybe sometimes.

31:30 DS: Yeah, totally.

31:31 AW: But it's like even when we were in San Diego, we rented kayaks, and then brought them into some of the Ocean Bay waters to go kayaking, but I was looking at, "Alright, we signed up on an iPad and filled out waiver forms and everything else and how they got equipment together for us, life jackets and paddles and the kayaks, and then we had to drag them a couple of blocks on these little carts to get them to the waters. Could they have made that easier by having one of their staff leading us all down there, right," there's a bunch of little things that I was parsing and it probably took me until I was actually in the water where I was done, thinking about a physical on-boarding experience.

32:14 DS: Did you send them in an email after with all your business suggestions, how to improve? 

32:18 AW: I didn't, I took eight photos of their business, so they would have better photos in their GMB listing, so...

32:25 DS: Nice.

32:27 AW: I'm still guilty there from that side of things. And then I thought about writing a review, so other people would realize what to expect, what's part of the process. So all those kinds of things. So...

32:39 DS: Just can't stop your brain from thinking that way, what are you gonna do? 

32:42 AW: Yeah, no, you just end up programmed that way for sure.

32:45 DS: Yeah.

32:46 AW: So alright, well, I think in the spirit, one thing you and I have talked about is being a little bit more timely with our podcast length. So.

32:57 DS: Yeah.

32:57 AW: I think we should we should look to wrap. I think we covered enough things. If I was gonna leave one take away or over-arching statement. Is that no matter what stage you're at, even if it's you. You're a solopreneur. You're the only person building your SaaS company. You need to set aside time to have these big ideas. And I get so much of initial traction is how much work can you bang out, tasks can you get done? There's so many things to do, and at every stage, there is. 

But you do hit a tipping point where you free yourself to do more of that thinking. And if you've made yourself void of it, your product has probably fallen behind because, what was your great idea? Now time has gone by, and you're not staying in step with what's next. So, it's like don't ever leave that out of your regimen. You need to include working on it at every step and every stage.

33:53 DS: Yeah, I totally agree with that. And I think I could add a little titbit to that. It would be, carve out some time in the mornings because I really find that by the end of the day, I've got decision fatigue after running the business all day long. And so I get my least valuable brain power at the end of the day. And so really just saying, "The first hour of the day, I'm going to spend doing this stuff. No email, no text, no Slack, just turn everything off for that first hour." I think you'll get some really valuable results there. That's what I'm trying to do anyways.

34:30 AW: Yeah, I know. Killer points. I say all the time. My biggest challenge across everything is prioritization. So prioritizing that time in the morning, prioritizing working on the business, those are likely really key things that if you break stuff down, they have to sit high on your priority list. Otherwise, if they fall off, you start to lose your sense of direction and the ability to course correct and keep that direction.

34:58 DS: Yeah, totally.

35:00 AW: Alright. Anything coming up for you in the next few weeks until we talk again that should be aware of? 

35:06 DS: I don't think so. Just business as usual. Hopefully, I'll have these projects wrapped up, and I'll just be spending more time on the business.

35:13 AW: [laughter] I'm with you. I'm gonna be working hard to try to get comfortable with where it's kind of like, "Alright, November is an indicator on will December the feast or famine to get us to the finish line of getting a few things out the door so hopefully we can roll them out in January, and then move on to the next set of challenges."

35:37 DS: Alright, how about you? Anything big coming up? 

35:40 AW: Not really too much. I just have a couple of small conferences, have a couple trips, a couple of really, really big pitches. That's been nice. We've seen in the last month some really nice sized, hundreds to thousands of locations, brands come in that at this timing, they're looking to get something kicked off for 2020.

36:04 DS: For sure.

36:05 AW: So they have urgency on their side at this point in the game. So, very serious talks right off the bat. Hoping to close a few of those up and make 2020 already look healthier from a growth standpoint.

36:17 DS: Nice. You guys keep growing, doing great.

36:20 AW: Alright. We'll keep after it. Darren, thanks as always. For those of you listening, if you have questions, if you have a suggestion, something you'd like us to cover, hit Darren or I up on Twitter. Our Twitter handles are on the website, posted in the show notes as well. If you like what we're doing we always appreciate reviews at whatever site you're listening to, especially within iTunes. That's always helpful. And Darren, pleasure, and we'll talk to you again, hopefully in two or three weeks.

36:51 DS: Yeah, pleasure. Thanks.

36:53 AW: Alright, thanks everybody.

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Creators and Guests

Aaron Weiche
Aaron Weiche
I'm the Co-founder and CEO of Leadferno, a business messaging app. Leadferno creates delightful connections at speed through SMS and messaging platforms centralized in one app to close more leads faster. I designed my first website in 1998 and never looked back. I have co-founded and been in executive roles in multiple digital marketing agencies and SaaS companies. I speak frequenty at conferences of all types on digital marketing, customer experience, mobile and local SEO. I'm part of Local University and a founding board member of MnSearch. Outside of work I'm a sports fan, love Nebraska college football, Minnesota Twins baseball, snowboarding, boating, BBQ and anything with my 4 kids and amazing wife. I live to the west of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Darren Shaw
Darren Shaw
I'm the founder and president of Whitespark, a local search company with software and services that help businesses improve their rankings in Google. I started developing websites back in 1996 during my first year of university. I failed plenty of courses because I was skipping class to work on my HTML, CSS, and Javascript projects in the lab. Fortunately, people wanted to pay me to build websites, and in 2005 I started Whitespark as a web design and development company. In 2010 we stopped doing web development projects so we could focus on local search, and we launched our first SaaS software, the Local Citation Finder. We now offer multiple SaaS applications and services. When I'm not speaking at conferences, researching the latest in local search, or designing the next best local search application, I like to spend time travelling, skiiing, and dining with my wife and daughter in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
14: Working On & Working In The Business
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