Everybody says knowing your way around an accounting journal is incredibly useful when starting a company. But when I created my business, I learned that running a company is about so much more than knowing your way around taxes, financing, and accounting.
As I began planning my business, I knew my business knowledge would be indispensable, and since I was starting a writing company, I also expected to draw on my writing skills and background. What I didn’t expect was how important random skills I had picked up over the years would be.
Today I’m sharing five unexpected skills I needed to plan, launch, and run my company. Each of these skills have saved me time and money as I developed my business.
In today’s online era, having a website is the equivalent of being in the phone book. If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.
Luckily, there’s a huge host of ways to create your website. Many website builders offer very simple plug-and-play options. However, I knew I wanted my company to have its own unique website. Plug-and-play is great, but I’ve seen too many websites that blur together because of generic design.
As a result, I found myself navigating the world of website building. I had a fair amount of experience with a couple website builders, so while I learned a lot along the way, I also had an extensive existing knowledge base.
When designing my website, I had a very specific vision. I had done my research on websites in my industry, I knew my company’s branding and aesthetic, so I knew exactly what my site should look like.
Working within the limits of a website template wasn’t achieving the website I wanted. So I turned to other customization options: programming the style of the site myself.
CSS—aka cascading style sheets—is a way to change the style of your site. It can change fonts, colors, alignment, the list goes on. Essentially, it’s how you change the appearance of your site.
I’d never used CSS before, but I did have some experience in coding from lessons my dad gave me years ago. I never thought I’d use those lessons, and I’d even forgotten almost all the specifics. However, the general concepts had stuck with me. And they turned out to be incredibly helpful. Between those lessons from years ago, internet research, and the occasional support chat with WordPress, I got my site looking spick and span. Along the way, I also got a solid understanding of CSS that has proven helpful more than once.
Research and Problem Solving
Speaking of research, every time a problem pops up, I’m the one responsible for finding a solution. As a business owner, everything—at the end of the day—falls to me to figure out and fix. No matter how well you plan, there will always be problems. The question is whether you can figure out these problems.
I’ve spent hours combing through articles looking for options and solutions to obscure problems.
Even before launching my company, when creating my business plan, I spent countless hours researching the market, contingency planning, risks, and on and on.
Beyond problem solving, I’m also constantly searching for ways to streamline systems. How can I make my business more efficient? More effective?
Knowing how to research and problem solve has been an invaluable skill as I created my business and as I’ve continued developing my company.
Design and Graphic Design
All the design on my website? My logo? My branding? I designed all that. Many people hire a graphic designer—which is a great option. But I had some design experience from previous website building I’d done and from random artsy projects I’d undertaken in my spare time for fun. If you don’t enjoy design, then hiring a designer is the way to go. As somebody who enjoys design and art (and who had a very specific idea in mind for branding), being able to create my own branding was important to me.
Because I enjoy drawing and digital art, I had experience working with Krita, a program similar to photoshop that I used to create most of the branding materials for my company. It has also come in handy to edit photos for blog posts.
Combined with my experience in website building, having experience with website layout allowed me to create the overall look of my site.
Writing (and Editing)
I do run a writing business, so of course I need to know how to write. But on the administrative side, I find myself employing my writing skills all the time. And as I was creating my business, my writing skills were one of the most valuable skills I had.
I wrote my own website (and I write these blog posts). As I mentioned above, almost all businesses nowadays need a website. Creating and designing the website is only part of the equation. You have to fill your site with content. You have to tell people why they should hire you.
This is another area where you can hire somebody (like me) to take the stress out of it. However, since I had the writing background and experience to write and edit my own site, I did. It was time consuming, but having the skills to do so was extraordinarily handy!
At the end of the day, being a business owner and starting my business has meant having a wide range of skills or finding a solution when I don’t already know what to do. I’ve had to learn a lot along the way. But part of what I enjoy about owning a business is being able to pull together a diverse set of knowledge to operate my company.
Feeling overwhelmed starting a business? No time to write or create your website? Get a free consultation to see how I can help so you can focus on the rest of your business.