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About

About CompanySheets

My goal for CompanySheets.com is to write articles about my personal experiences as a young entrepreneur who started consulting business and has been successful for 10+ years. I hope you find content both educational and enjoyable to read.

Like Forrest Gump says; “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get”, business is similar because there will always be unique challanges.

A little bit about me

My name is Mark Mathews, I love to learn and can be a bit introverted at times.  When I was 9 years old, I would spend countless hours building and “try to fly” remote-controlled airplanes.  I would crash them, repair them until they were full of glue, tape and no longer repairable. My Father who was very supportive would order me a new airplane kit when my previous one was beyond repair.

This went on for about 3 years until something incredible happened, I managed to fly my remote controlled airplane an entire circle before crashing again! But hey, this was progress and it was very exciting.

I realized later in life that running a business is a lot like flying model airplanes.  If you don’t take care to plan and operate it correctly, the business will most likely fail or worse never get off the ground.  It takes passion and grit to keep a business profitable.

Honey, I quit my job

Back in 2006, I had no special talents that made me exceptional. My programming skills were not any better than the other programmers I worked with.  What I did have is passion and grit, and a ton of it.

I believe you need two things to run a successful business: passion and grit.

Wikipedia Describes Grit as a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. 

Having this sense of purpose, I decided to leave my programming job and start my own software “consulting firm”, as a liked to call it.  I thought if I had more control of my projects this would be really cool!  However there was a problem, I had no Clients…

My First Client

As I mentioned above, I had just given my two weeks notice to my employer and I was very excited to move on.  I had no real plan for my business, just a feeling that everything would work out.  On my last day of work, I received a phone call from a previous employer who asked if I was interested in a 1-year contract at 24 hours per work, “yes, of course, when would you like me to start.” Contract pay was 30 percent more than what I was used to making. A week after leaving my job, I was making money again.

First year in business

My first year in business was daunting. I made $26K that year and was not exactly sure how this was going to pan out. Recall in the previous section that I was offered three days a week from my first client, that’s about $37K/yr, not too bad I thought.  About two months in, the company I was doing contract work for ran into budget issues and decided to reduce me to 16 hours a week. This change resulted in a $11K loss for me that year.   The loss in wages taught me a valuable lesson; Contracts are legally withstanding and Contractors are expendable. Take the time and prepare proposals and have then signed by both parties.

Lession#1, Contract and Contractor are not the same!

I was determined to conger up some work, so went to 10 local businesses asked to talk with the owners and gave them a flyer.  No one seemed overly interested, so I decided to take a break.  While I was driving home, I noticed McBride, Manley, Miller CPA.  I thought, my current accountant is kind of far away, these guys are right in my backyard maybe I’ll drop in an see what they charge for tax services.

To my surprise, Glen who was one of the partners there began asking questions about programming, my abilities and how long have I writing software.  I was not sure why he was asking these questions, after all, I was the one looking for an accountant.  Then he asked, “would you be interested in reviewing the details of a product we are looking to bring to market”?  Sure I said, and within a few months, I was working on my first ground up commercial project.  During the next five years, Glen taught me a lot about business. His firm handled my taxes, and I did a lot of work for them as well, it was a win, win for both of us.

OnTimeExpense.com is launched (Dec 2006)

Early on, I realized that I needed to track hours to be profitable.  At the time it made sense to write a program to monitor these hours for customer invoicing.  So I created a web application that was hosted at OnTimeExpense.com that would allow me and others to track hours.  We got a few hundred signups, but it never really achieved enough visibility online to do well.

Next eight years in business

Time sure flies when you’re having fun! After acquiring a couple more clients, I realized that working from home was not very productive.  Office rentals were limited and pretty expensive.  I thought if I purchased an office I could build equity over time. Two months later we bought an office building on land contract. Three months after that the real estate market crashed. Oops – Bad timing! Beyond my immediate loss in real estate value, my productivity skyrocketed now that I had my new office space. Customer where happy and I was having a lot of fun running my own business.

Note: Having the opportunity to operate thru a rough period like the Great Recession builds allot character, it will either make or break you.

Having the opportunity to go thru the 2008 thru 2013 recession here in the US gave me a greater respect for how quickly the economy can change.  Fortunately the Grit I possessed allowed me to persevere during those years.

CompanySheets.com is launched (Feb 2013)

In 2012 I decided to rewrite OnTimeExpense.com entirely and re-brand it as CompanySheets.com. The new software would offer time tracking, punch clock, project tracking/costing and many other cool features. We hoped that the new domain name and polished appearance would rank better in search results.  It took a little more than a year to rewrite the software.  In 2013 we launched CompanySheets.com.

Sadly just three years later 2015 we decided to decommission the CompanySheets timesheet software due to overhead costs and lack of revenue.

OnTheClock Partnership (2014 – Current)

In 2014, I partnered with OnTheClock.com team as a managing partner and product development.  The decision to migrate away from maintaining many client projects and designing our products was an easy choice.

Today my primary focus is driving product development and the growth of OnTheClock.  We have an exceptional team, and people are thrilled with our product and services.

The takeaway

My intention for this website is to offer a glimpse of an ordinary guy who was able to start his own business and consistently grow as a result.  I hope that someone will read my story and say; “I think starting my own business is possible!”

This blog is just getting started, over time there will be articles explaining a variety of many topics that come to mind.  Some of my initial thoughts are:

  • Starting a Business (DBA v.s. LLC v.s Corporation).
  • How to find customers.
  • Why having a CPA or good accountant is important.
  • Why debt should be avoided.
  • The power of networking.
  • How to find good employees.
  • Tracking employee hours.
  • Taxes and Liabilities.