And have more in the wings to hire.
The first floor office is having walls torn down to open up the office space. It’s thirty meters deep, so we’re keeping the front showroom, and back kitchen, but the middle will be an open floorplan office.
I’ve hired a second 3d animator. Impressive portfolio, and solid work experience. We’ll be installing a motion capture studio on the 3rd floor. The animators are just to help to make cool product promotion videos for now, but I have plans to expand on their numbers and talents into other industries. It all has to be done with cash flow, so each expansion will be incremental, with new revenue streams with each growth spurt.
I also have a new video production manager. His portfolio seems adequate, to get us started. He’ll hire freelance cameramen and lighting technicians and whatnot. He says he got help on his previous projects from student interns who worked for free. It was a no-brainer to hire these three, instead of flying in Western talent. I had a few quotes in the neighbourhood of 10k to make one short product promotion video, for one or two people and eight days of work. With that money I can pay all three for many months. Almost a year, if you don’t count the bonuses and raises I plan to give them.
After the first successful product promotion video, I should be able to re-invest some of the profits to grow the video production team. I’m told that a quality 2 minute short 3-d animation takes a team of from 5 to 10 people two to three weeks to produce. Somehow or other I need to do top quality video advertising work from this country, and that is going to take some fine HR work. I’ll need to get great people, and lots of them. And then manage them. As I manage teams of engineers. And marketers. My God, I’m the Center of the borg.
A big shipment of machine parts and raw materials arrived from China by sea-cargo a few days ago, and the trucking company is delivering them tomorrow. About 12 grand worth of cool. My three welder/fabricators will be making some awesome man-toys, under the direction of one of my engineers. But I need to design and build a smaller machine for making some smaller precision parts, so that will delay the big project. A second sea shipment is being put together now.
I’m having my secretary research finding the parts we’ll need to build this:
What happens when you RAID 24 SSD Hard Disks !!!!!
We need it to for 3d video and image processing.
As the staff won’t work 15 hour days like I do, progress still crawls along. I’m still desperately understaffed. I’m expecting the new hires for the marketing team to increase income enough to expand the staff. Plus we’ll have some new income streams in the medium term. If we make our deadlines, then by late November I should be able to at least double the staff.
When things don’t go according to plan is often when luck is beaming out from new cracks in your world.
For a year I had a bright young Westerner out here on a generous tax free salary, plus room and board, with options for profit sharing. His job was to help manage my staff, so that I could have more time to be visionary. We also invited and worked with Western interns, and had as many as four interns working at once, with four more visiting to see about working. The optimism was through the roof, and life was at its best.
One guy I let go, another left to go take care of debts, another got homesick and decided to go on a 6 month to a year long mountain treck with his brother, and then finally the last left to work with a friend on his own startup.
Socially it was a loss, but that loss was the best opportunity I’ve had in my life that I can remember ever having.
I was forced to take over Aarons job of managing my own staff. I got serious. People stopped downloading and watching movies while we partied in Bali, and now are micromanaged and put in full productive days. I’ve figured out how to hire qualified, smart, educated and talented Indonesian staff. I’m learning how to effectively manage staff.
If I was not in the water, I would never learn how to swim.
Losing my manager was the best possible thing that could have happened to my business.
Shit is getting real over here. The buck doesn’t stop at my subordinate anymore – I’m the one with the finger in every pie, I’m the eyes over every shoulder. Although there is a hierarchy of command, and I get teams to self manage, and I’m working on profit sharing incentives (yes even for locals), I’m still Big Brother. I’m the picture on the wall. I’m all seeing, all authority.
The attitude has totally changed. It’s not a lax laissez faire environment anymore. I no longer have inept and stupid secretaries arriving late to work and going home early after doing nothing profitable. Not a single stupid employee remains. Now I have secretaries with cum-laude masters degrees, and physics, and engineering and business double major degrees. People are all way into their work. It excites them. They are thrilled about the company, and take pride and pleasure in watching it grow.
I’m no longer afraid to fire people. My personal assistant is devastated that I fired her. She had to go home early today as she was too sad to focus on her work, training up her replacement. She considered this place her family and her home, but I’m not running a social club. This place is now much more like Glengarry Ross than a loose and haphazard clan of people stumbling their drunken way up and down searching for laziness. It’s perform, and perform well, or be fired.
At first firing people was difficult. Then it became easier. Now I’m starting to actually like it. I can still empathise with the staffs pain, but I get pleasure from making my business engine perform to a higher standard. First it was 5 horsepower, then 20, like an old model T. I don’t mind throwing away old parts. I’m not in love with nostalgia. I’m after performance. I’m not about restoring some classic car. I’m not about creating a lovey dovey family. Out with the engine block. Out with the engine. Out with the chassis and body and body plan. Only one of my current staff was here two years ago. Actually, by next week only one will have been here 1 year ago. I’ve had my office buildings in this area for over six years.
I’m not using model T parts anymore. Now I’m getting genuine modern parts, and even some performance aftermarket parts. I’m not hands off anymore. Now I’m working 15 hour days, learning how to properly manage a serious business. I’m not joking around, and no jokers are allowed to be around me. This is business, and business is serious business.
Oh, and the first bungalow is looking great. The water, electricity, septic, toilet and shower are installed, real stone tile on the first floor, sandstone tile in the bathroom walls, huge fridge moved in. It’s two story, and they have started work on the next one, which is 3 story. I haven’t seen it in person yet, but should be able to sleep there within a week or two. The plan is to lease out the first one on a long term lease to pay for construction for the other 4 that are on that parcel of land. Then lease and rent all those out so that I can copy the same architecture on a larger plot of land, with more bungalows.
I’ll either sink or swim. I’m not in a boat, and I’m a long, long way from shore. Nothing left over at the end of the month. Hiring people on planned income. This is way better than playing the stock market. Very risky, all in, but I’m learning how to play this game. I’m starting to really like this game. I think I can win at this game.
Or I’ll lose everything, like I have in the past. I’ll have to fire everyone, like I have had to in the past. Then I’ll start all over again. As I’ve done many times.
But I just. might. make it. This just. might. work. Really work. Work big.