Startup Business 101: An honest review

Dan Barrett

With my startup business in full swing almost entering into our second year, I wanted to take a moment to divulge some highs and lows of what it has taken to get to this stage I find myself in today.

Off the bat, running a startup or going self employed is certainly not for the feint hearted (As I quickly discovered). I took a 100% pay cut to full-fill a long standing burning desire I have had for many years to start my own business ‘Naughty Robot Creative Marketing‘. I had a vision and a plan that was bullet proof, nobody was stopping me and I was going work less and earn more…how wrong was I.

The first month of the business was very exciting, there wasn’t any fear because I had my bullet proof plan beside me that I had been working on for the 9 or so months before. I managed to land a meeting with a client (I felt so lucky!) and at the time the business was actually owned by myself and my Sister, so as you can imagine we where over the moon! We prepared the proposal, we had the meeting and walked out like we had won the lottery…

A few days passed, nothing. Radio silence. We chased, we followed, always out the office. We lost the lead. We eventually heard back telling us we where too expensive! Oh crap, my bullet proof isn’t quite as I had planned isn’t so smart after all.

Reality started to hit me very VERY quickly. My Sister and I worked at my kitchen table, cables and paper everywhere. Crazy ideas being thrown around about how we could promote ourselves but with barely enough money in the account to pay the both of us at the end of the month. My Wife chipped in doing everything she could scouting for work on Facebook groups, through friends and family.

Stress was hitting an all time high, Christmas was fast approaching and having a Wife and two Children and my business not exactly going to plan was a really REALLY scary place to be in. I had almost promised a new and better life, my Wife was as invested as myself in my dreams of freedom and free of financial burdens. This is now how I had planned it, at all.

It felt like somebody had given me a lucky break, out of the blue we had been referred a client, not just any client but a client that is integral to the business even today. I decided at this stage to go to this meeting alone, it was almost a ‘last chance saloon’, ‘make or break’ deal now. the meeting was great, the client agreed there and then, I almost cried on the car journey home as I called my Sister and told her the most amazing news! It had felt like we had won the lottery.

The positive news kept rolling in, we then secure another client – again by way of referral, and again with a client who is practically the backbone of my business. This is the stage where I felt like we had something, we where able to move forward.

As Christmas passed (I hadn’t actually earned any money for roughly 6 weeks) we entered the new year. The accounts where battered, I had enough money to last another money and the game was up. All of a sudden my clients, referrals and enquiries sky rocketed out of the blue, it was a new year and now our services where required. Again, from out of the blue we had been thrown yet another life line – and boy did we grab hold of it!

The year rolled on working with more and more clients, meeting some fantastic new people and learning about industries I never new existed, I would say this year has been an incredible year of every feeling you could imagine from fear to elation and everything in between. I am now the proud owner of a small startup business entering into year 2, with a totally new mindset, strategy and thought process. We have amazing clients who we work with on a daily basis and we never forget that.

I am often asked, “Would you do it all over again, those first few months?” – The honest answer is, No. Starting a business is hard, you are always against the odds no matter how much you prepare, you are always thrown a curve ball. But you know what? Would I change what I am doing now? No way! I am living my life, I get to take my children to school, I have a degree of freedom and most of all I am the decision maker.

If you are in a similar position to myself or just starting out and could do with utilising your time on focusing on your business and need support or assistance with your WordPress website or Digital Marketing please do reach to me, you can learn more about my process and how I can take your marketing to another level here and get a call booked in.


Father, Husband, Web Developer & Founder of Naughty Robot Creative Marketing. I have both life and career experience so trust in me when I say I know how difficult it can be to manage time let alone a business and a website. I have over 10 years of Digital Marketing expertise to take your online presence to another level without reading it all from a book.