Welcome to an update with Dan Sodkiewicz from Royal Deer Design in New York and also now from GeekSeller. We first met Daniel in January 2015 and had an update chat in April 2016. Daniel formed his company a year before I set up Libro, it’s always interesting to me to see the different kinds of paths that businesses of the same age have taken. Back in April 2016, this was Dan’s plan for the year: “I would like to see 80% of our income source to be from our newly developed SAAS products (mainly GeekSeller.com), and 20% from web design business. That would be the ideal scenario for my business”. Did he achieve that? Read on to find out …
Hello again, Dan, and good to talk to you over the ocean. Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
We are actually a way ahead of where I thought we would be. Our new company (GeekSeller) has grown much faster than I expected.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
As planned, we closed our web design business and are now focusing on GeekSeller.com (an ecommerce multichannel platform). We do not do web design anymore, but are running our SAAS business, now with more than 15 people on the team and we’re still expanding.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
You shouldn’t hold off too long on hiring people. This is a common struggle for founders, who try to do everything themselves. Building a large, successful company can only be achieved as a team. I am very happy with where we are with GeekSeller, but I suspect we could have grown even faster if we had started hiring more aggressively early on.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Focus on your users. This was and is the main factor in GeekSeller’s success.
BONUS NEW QUESTION: What question would YOU like to ask other small business owners?
How do you deal with stress and overwork? Is there such a thing as work/life balance when you run a startup?
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
We would like to double our company’s size and have GeekSeller become the go-to company for ecommerce multichannel solutions, supporting all major platforms on the market.
I think Daniel’s point on hiring is very interesting – it’s a big leap to take, and not one I personally chose to do, but it’s very hard to get the timing right. I’ve seen people who’ve hired too soon and not had the work or finances to sustain it, and people who’ve hired later and wish they’d done it sooner. I’m not sure what the solution is! With regard to his question on work/life balance, the people I’ve seen who’ve achieved this are the ones who’ve planned back-up and holiday time from before they even started operating, and I feel this must be the key. I’m doing OK now, but it took a few years to even out and still gets tricky sometimes – I think that’s how it goes, though; it’s never going to be perfect and I still think you get more out of being self-employed or running your own business than you lose. Good luck to Daniel and GeekSeller for the next year – I’m sure all will go swimmingly!
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