Managing the change
Back in May 2017 I decided to stop running Miggle as a web development agency. I told my team in September 2017 and my clients, to whom I said I would support up till end of August 2018, soon after. In January 2018, on our 11th birthday, I made a wider announcement and explained the rationale behind it in more detail.
The relaunch today of miggle as miggle.one marks the end of what has been a successful journey through change. Key points along the way were as follows:-
I had a great team, and so the various organisations who were lucky enough to convince ex-miggles to join them got some star performers. There was always going to be a point where we either had more clients left than staff or vice versa and some of my team transitioned quicker than I’d hoped, which made the end of Q1 2018 quite full on. But the upside of that was a massive boost to cashflow, so the pain was worth it.
While I’d given clients 10 months notice, meaning we’d support a lot of them until August 2018, most had transitioned by the end of May. We’d subsequently agreed with three clients we’d support them until the end of 2018, which in the end became the end of Q1 2019. That turned out to be useful as it gave me longer to think about next steps, with a much reduced workload.
All in all, what was a carefully thought out plan came off pretty well, so much so that I’ve summarised all the more detailed learns in a presentation called A Toolkit to Escape your Lifestyle Business which I hope to take out on the road soon.
That said, the key learn is this: If you’re going through a period of change be clear on what the core objective driving it is, and if that’s the goal you want to achieve don’t deviate from it.
None of this would have been at all achievable without so much fantastic support from team members, clients, friends and family. Crucially, the plan would have fallen well short without a trusted foil to help manage it, challenge it at every turn, seek external advice and push me outside of my comfort zone. That person was Gaby, my Office and Business Manager, who, with me, is the last person left at miggle for a short while longer, with both our roles rapidly changing as our new work work becomes clearer.
Beyond the clear work/life balance reasons for making the change, I wasn’t fully clear at the outset what was going to make up the work part of the equation, in a way that would leave both Gaby and myself with rewarding roles.
In the interim, what I found myself doing though was helping clients find new agencies to work with. Then I found myself helping businesses who were still asking miggle to pitch for development projects find the right agencies too, given we were no longer in that market. And all of this was work I enjoyed doing. It was still very true to my over-arching desire of wanting to help organisations be self-sufficient, and to be that safe pair of hands that help them achieve operational freedom. So now I’m actively looking at how I establish that as a service.
Many of the clients I work with are fairly clear on who their customers are and what sort of content they want to put in front of them online. But they are less sure on the underlying technology and the associated resources needed to deliver in that. And that’s what I enjoy helping them with.
If that sounds a similar situation to one you are in then most likely I can help you too.
The major bit of work Gaby convinced me to invest in was a rebrand. The dilemma I felt I had was the close association between my business name, miggle and my own name, Mighall. Very few people get the igh trigraph and pronounce my name Mighall as in higher. Instead I’m always called Alick Mig-hall. I even go to some events, or get correspondence, where my name is written as Alick Miggle. So, whether I’m emotionally attached to the name miggle or not, I felt it was inescapable.
The core thing I needed to communicate was that, going forward, in terms of the person offering the service, it was just one person, me, whereas miggle as a business had a clear legacy of being a larger team. Gaby and I also felt that it was key that we focussed on doing one thing well, as opposed to a number of things less well.
Which brings me to Miggle One
By trade I say I’m a Product Manager — but that doesn’t really mean anything to a lot of people. To my customers, I’m a navigator, most often seen as the most ‘technical’ person in the room; a digital technologist who’s on your side. When clients find themselves at the crossroads and they’re not sure of the best direction to take, I help them. I’ve been solving large-scale online challenges for over 25 years, so my digital compass is pretty well tuned. I assess the lay of the land to help clients choose the best agencies, people or technology, leaving them to concentrate on doing what they do best — building audience.
For me, miggle one boils down to this…
There’s only one choice that’s the right one — an informed one.
So, while I’ll continue to trade under the name of miggle, I’m really keen not to have that make it look like it’s a consultancy that is bigger than it is. It’s just me doing the billable work for now. If you engage miggle, you’ll get me, and everything I write and tweet from here on in under miggle will be in the first person.
Digital decisions are never a walk in the park, so please get in touch and let me help you find the right way through the technical landscape.