|… but I cannot afford not to.|
Almost a year ago I decided to quit my job and start 2011 doing something I've always wanted to do: start my own company. I started with two primary aims: 1) to provide the best, most accessible app translation service and 2) learn as much as I can about running a business as possible. I decided from the very start it was ok if there were a few mistakes along the way, just learn from them for the future.
Now I'm at a point where my knowledge escapes me and I'm looking for some advice as I'm beginning to turn away customers.
My revenue is client based. A small iOS or Mac OS app can take me around 4-5 hours of my time in a week. A medium sized app 8-10 hours. A big app or a technical app takes me much much longer. And that's only if things go well. You all know client work involves last minute changes and lengthy email discussions.
As you can see with those times, there's only so much I can do.
I don't charge enough. Revenue minus costs is healthy, until you factor in my own time. When we're talking pennies per word ($0.14 USD per word) you can see how a small project (250 words) costs me money and a big project (4000 words) costs me a lot of time (which means I have to refuse other projects). I can't increase costs because of competition, even though I am sure my service provides a much higher quality translation.
I can't afford to take a second person on. We will be able to take on more work, sure, but I can't guarantee someone a full-time position. Maybe I could use a vWorker, but I want a relationship with my colleagues. I need to know we're on the same page.
So as you can see, I need a bit of advice. I love my clients and the rapport I have with them. But I need to expand and move this away from a life-style business into something a bit more automated (while maintaining quality).