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Surprise! Being a Small Business Owner is Not Easy

Surprise! Being a Small Business Owner is Not Easy

I’ve been really busy lately.  But that tends to go with the territory when you run a bootstrapped small business on your own.

In fact, in my software business (Long Tail Pro), I essentially where all the hats – visionary, product testing, marketing, technical support, billing, spokesperson, and more.  While I do have a programmer that handles the actual coding, and use some contract helpers in other areas, most of the responsibilities lie on my shoulders.

So, if I need a cool tutorial video?  I do it.

If the product isn’t working properly?  I have to detect it and make sure its fixed.

If I want to sell more?  I have to go out and get new customers.

Running your own small business is not an easy job.

The past week or 2, I’ve been overwhelmed with rolling out the new Platinum version of Long Tail Pro.  Its something I’ve worked on for months. I just did a webinar last night, and I have to respond to customer queries about new features and suggestions.  Yes, owning a software company is a lot of work!

Oh and to add to the stress, the webinar recording didn’t work properly.  So, now I need to re-record myself doing the presentation for everyone that didn’t see it live.  (For those of you waiting, it will probably be Monday or Tuesday before I can get that out).


BUT, it can also be very rewarding!  The contacts I’ve made with truly amazing individuals through my business is rewarding for sure.  The personal development as far as skills learned is huge.  And of course, the amount of money I’ve been able to make compared to where I was a couple of years ago working in the corporate world, is well worth the effort!

There are other advantages to:

  • I get to work from home and see my wife and kids alot.
  • I can listen to Pandora all day to whatever stations I want (as loud or quiet as I want to).
  • I don’t have a boss, so I answer to no one but myself.
  • Granola bars, Gatorade, cereal, or other snacks are always right around the corner!
  • I don’t have to wear shoes.
  • I don’t have to shave (until my wife tells me).
  • I can go out for a jog whenever I feel like it.
  • I can set my own schedule for when I work…or when I don’t.

Overall, I’ll take the advantages over the disadvantages any day.

Automation is so Important!

Lately, I’ve just been working a bit longer hours and harder than usual on finishing up projects, so it feels overwhelming.  However, I also have to realize that I’ve set myself up pretty well to make things as automated as possible.

I get a large number of free visitors to my sites everyday from Google, because I’ve done well at keyword selection, content marketing, and overall search engine optimization.  My email list grows whether or not I’m awake.  People continue to buy my software, or click on my Google Adsense ads whether I’m around or not.  I have auto-responder emails that are working for me all the time to build customer interest.  My products and license keys are delivered automatically no matter what I’m up to.

Overall, I’ve automated my business quite a bit; which makes my job MUCH easier than it would be.

So, if you are thinking about going into business for yourself…surprise!  Its not easy 🙂 .  For those of you that currently own a small business, you are well aware of the time and effort it takes.  But I would never go back to sitting behind a desk in the corporate world.

Ok, rant over.

11 Comments for this Post

  1. Casey


    Sound’s like the life, though! Even with all the work that comes with running a small business on your own it is very well worth it.

    Good to hear every thing is going good for ya, man!


  2. Jon @ Authority Site Income

    Jon @ Authority Site Income

    Sounds like fun/rewarding work, even if it does probably not have the same amount of human contact. The amount of work and isolating drives a lot o people to form partnerships for start ups.

    I was wondering what your take is on where long tail pro/keyword research in general is headed if the current shift to fewer larger sites in someone’s portfolio continues?

    I haven’t upgraded to the new version yet but looking forward to it. Thanks for creating such a useful tool.

  3. Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

    Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

    Been pretty busy myself between school and keeping up with the various businesses I’m working on. Mostly my fault for taking on many different things, but I can’t help myself 😉

    Checking out the LTP Platinum Beta version now – looks pretty cool!


  4. Will @

    Will @

    Awesome post!

    The rewards indeed outweigh the hard work it does take. The crazy thing is that there are many people who work extremely hard on their job not understanding that the only goals they are getting closer to are the goals of their boss or company.

    When you run “YOUR” own business “YOU” are working hard to make sure “YOUR” goals are accomplished. That is truly awesome in the long run. Anyone working a job should look at it as temporary or a means to gain capital to start your own business one way or another.

    =-D Thanks again for the post, seems I have gone on a rant myself haha.

  5. Sunil l Building Passive Income

    Sunil l Building Passive Income

    definitely agree with the benefits and quality of life Spencer.

    that said, would your perspective change if you were in a job where you had autonomy in terms of work hours, location, travel schedule (timing and destination based on where your company has presence of course), a good “work life” balance and a healthy salary – let’s just say $200,000 annually for the sake of this discussion.

    sure, there are still deliverables and bosses to report to, but given all these facts how do you think this impacts an entrepreneur like us?

    there are many other benefits to a W2 lifestyle – i.e. healthcare, retirement accounts, a W2 at the end of the year which allows us to take big advantage of leverage (for example: rental properties, our mortgages, etc), paid time off, etc.

    most people who go on their own never even come close to making $150,000 a year, but money certainly isn’t the only factor involved here. true wealth, as the “enlightened” realize is more than that – i.e. freedom.

    interested in yours and everyone else’s thoughts on this ? ? ?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Sunil – I have a W-2 just like anyone else. (I pay myself as an employee). So, I think many of those points you bring up are not issues. I also have retirement accounts. Also, very few people can get a job that pays $200k.

      However, yes, to some people having a flexible job would be enticing. There’s nothing wrong with having a job.

  6. Steve


    I am not quite at the point where I can rely solely on my online income and quit my full time job. I think part of the reason why is everything that you have written about is SCARY.

    It would feel great to be able to call all the shots and pick my schedule etc but at the same time I am not ready for the pressure of having everything on me all the time.

    I envy you for what you do and I know that in time I will get more comfortable and be able to make the jump to being a small business owner….I have a lot to learn until then though

  7. Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

    Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

    Nothing is easy in life, right? 😉

    Great post here Spencer, and you are certainly correct by saying it’s not easy. Anything in life is worth fighting for, right?

    ..It separates the men from the boys.

    I wish you much continued success!

    All the best,

  8. David


    I hope to be there with you one day Spencer! I am just getting started so it will be some time before I get to where you are. You always have great posts on here and have inspired and educated me along the way. I think the flexible hours is what is most appealing to me!

  9. The Story of Long Tail Pro: How I Built a $100,000 Software Business from My Own Needs | Niche Pursuits

    The Story of Long Tail Pro: How I Built a $100,000 Software Business from My Own Needs | Niche Pursuits

    […] the creator of Long Tail Pro, I’ve discussed some of the ups and downs of owning a software business, but I’ve never divulged all of the details that have made this […]

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