What does an audio entrepreneur do for living? Although My title was Lead Designer, most of daily chores were anything but design. My key responsibilities were in the field of tangible matters and sales projects.
The most time consuming part of running a business is doing the sales. Our products are not cheap which means one needs to go the extra mile to close the deals. We put great deal of effort in personalized sales and marketing material, tailored for each customer or event. We regard our customers as individuals and do our best to find the very best solutions to his/her/their specific needs.
Being the designer of the product it was really insightful to also do the final assembly and testing. Every decision done in CAD program had its consequences and they indeed materialized on the factory floor. Being in charge of the whole chain gives uniquely holistic approach for product design. This also meant I had pretty good idea of what I was selling to our customers. I also did bulk of our B2B installations which meant I got to know how our products performed in real life situations and what our customers did with them.
Running a young company means that customers don't automatically find you, it is you who has to go to them. This means spending countless hours in trade shows, sales events and on the field in customers' places. Fluent sales pitch is not something that you either have or don't have, it is something that gets better with practice. And I can say I got pretty good at that stuff after few thousand repetitions. Running a road show also gives a routine of hauling massive piles of stuff from one place to another and building exhibition booths in no time.
Another big chunk of work in Uploud Audio was doing graphics for sales and marketing materials, packaging, business cards and what not. Massaging piles of RAW-images and brochures was something that I disliked at first but learned to enjoy to some extent once I got the hang of it.
The most important learning however is the entrepreneur's mentality. I will probably carry it until My grave. Understanding that the customer is one's employer produces fundamental difference in how you interact, what you demand from yourself and how much you appreciate the the hard earned money. And they don't teach that in schools.