Where the Rubber Hits the Road

My name’s Simon, I’m a blogger. It’s been 142 days since I last wrote a blogpost. Sorry about that.

But it’s not like I haven’t been busy. I’ve pushed out a number of articles on the TestRail site. I’ve linked to them all here, if you want to peruse them.

The fact is though, life has looked very different for me over the past few months, and the changes have taken some adjustment.

Allow me to explain.

How I spent the summer.

Around 4 months or so ago, I made a decision to basically go freelance. Combining some test management consulting for some developers I’ve worked with previously with some writing work for the TestRail folk. It meant I was travelling up and down to Brighton quite a bit, which has been fun. And then spending the rest of my time working with the Gurock Team helping them to produce content for their TestRail marketing strategy.

For reasons that I won’t get into here, the TestRail work didn’t really pan out how I expected it to. It’s now taking up much less of my time.

But my interest in all things marketing continues… (It’s been evolving over time as you might see here or here.)

I’m now spending most of my time working with my wife on our own business.

The Test Management stuff I’m working on is coming to a natural conclusion (i.e. going live) fairly soon, which means I have a decision to make.

Before I get to that though, I want to talk a little bit about the work I’m doing for our own business. To me, it’s exciting, challenging and interesting. But I appreciate that not everyone might think so. Often, when folk hear the word marketing they just think sales (which is obviously the desired outcome), but in my experience so far there’s actually a surprising number of parallels with testing.

Marketing is like testing. Really?

A lot of the effort that I’ve put into our business for example, has revolved around the automation of sales funnels. And then testing those funnels to try and figure out whether they’re working or not.

Whether a sales funnel works from a marketing perspective isn’t so much of a functional issue though. It’s more related to where people are coming into the funnel from, and whether the service and product aligns with their worldview sufficiently for them to convert from being a prospect to being a customer.

Trying to figure out the answer to that question means spending a lot of time looking at analytics, analysing them for potential problems with our various sales funnels. If I can spot a problem, then I can form a hypothesis as to what change can be implemented to try and fix or improve it. Once we have a hypothesis, we implement it and try to gauge whether it’s worked or not.

That is basically A/B split testing. It’s interesting stuff. And I’m very much enjoying it. It pushes a number of my OCD/tester/number-crunching/techy/hacker buttons.

Along with the more intellectual challenges though, come some other issues to think about.

Where the rubber hits the road.

Trying to launch your own thing is risky. And, as you might imagine – being a tester – I have a bit of an aversion to risk. When you’re starting your own business, dealing with the question of whether or not the thing you’re doing is actually going to work – and by that I mean at least replace your current income or provide you with enough money to cover the basics while you get things off of the ground – is a daily battle.

Choosing to focus on your business… Choosing to take a risk and suffer the opportunity-cost of taking your focus away from the thing you’ve historically been reasonably good at, and earned a decent living doing – is hard.

Fighting that battle means working on much more than just getting the business right.

For me, it’s meant examining my own worldview – the lense through which I see the world around me, and dealing with some of the self-limiting beliefs and behaviours I’ve observed as a result. It’s meant figuring out how to live and work and be completely responsible for doing the work that creates a result that adds to the bottom line of a business that is just about learning to fly.

And it also means making the decision I mentioned above.

It means deciding whether I’m 100% committed to making our business work, or whether I’m 50% committed because I know that I can always just go back to testing if it doesn’t pan out.

That’s a tough choice. Testing is comfortable. Testing is known. I can get and do the work easily, and probably get paid well for doing so.

Starting a business though… That’s risky. It may not work.

But unless I try, I’ll never know.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to reach out via a comment or on the socials if anything resonates.



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