one of the bigger things i’ve learned while running kettle & fire is that there are a LOT of things i hate doing. bookkeeping, accounting, reading contracts, any sort of admin stuff that feels boring. dealing with sending in amazon inventory. calls with agencies. working on legal stuff.
this aversion to doing stuff like the above has had really, really, painfully negative consequences for kettle & fire. worse, avoiding the stuff i don’t like up front has inevitably meant i’ve had to spend 5x more time fixing the issues i avoided early on.
i’ve now realized the importance of understanding what i hate doing, and taking steps – early on – to build a system that ensures i never have to do that those things.
for example, amazon has some nitpicky stuff you have to follow to send inventory to their vendor central service: applying labels an inch from the side of the boxes, including very exacting paperwork in each shipment, sending orders within a tight delivery window, etc. as soon as i realized this, i wanted nothing to do with amazon.
the result? we spent months without amazon running smoothly, all while paying our amazon brokers and spending money on the channel itself. madness.
this situation repeated itself early on across bookkeeping, certain legal matters, basically anywhere i didn’t feel competent, comfortable or interested. and it led to the same consequences every single time.
now, when i come across something i don’t like doing that will be an ongoing feature of the business, i’m getting MUCH better at working with my team and the relevant actors to pull together a detailed process that gets it right the first time. for the first time in the company, we are writing SOPs to ensure things run smoothly, giving appropriate account access, and setting up systems that mean i will no longer have to do stuff that i don’t want to do.
because the truth is, when you’re running a company you have 1000+ things you can do. stuff you aren’t good at and don’t want to do will hardly make it to the top of your list. instead, it just… sits. slowly hurting you, hurting the business and causing larger and larger problems until you suddenly have to deal with it.
i’m now of the opinion that – as soon as you find something you don’t like doing – you should do it RIGHT. immediately. and then take steps to document and share with others who can take that thing off your plate.
i know it’s made me happier, more productive and drastically improved the business. but boy did this lesson come with a lot of pain.15