5 Takeaways in my 5 Years of Business
This month marks my fifth year in business. Similar to divorce, the statistics for failure are high. It’s bleak. Closing a business is more likely than splitting up for the first time, getting hit by a bus, or being friends with a vegan. Though this reality is daunting, I’ve heard the only way to keep the doors open is to keep on.
I’m celebrating being able to keep on keeping on. <Rasta horn bleep bleep bleeeeeeep.> I wanted to mark the moment with a personal share on what I’ve soaked up over the past five years.
Takeaway 1: It’s never as easy as it looks
Over the years I’ve had friends and family comment how easy and fun my work is. They’ll say something like, “It must be so easy getting up everyday because you love it, yeah?” Yeah but it can be grueling, lonesome, and scary. It’s just me. I try to remind myself on the “bad” days that I need to look long term. And on the “good” days I try to savour it as it helps me cope for the inevitable forthcoming tough ones. I tell others that we all tend to share more positive moments than tricky ones so take my smile, my Instagram, and my work with a grain of salt. Like most things, it’s both good and bad.
Takeaway 2: But it’s never as hard, too. Especially if you ask for help with it.
While it can be brutal and lonely at times, the work makes it worth it. Once you find something that you can take pride in everyday, then you’re a part of the lucky few. Building the business bit by bit, baby step by baby step, is all there is. There’s a starting point, sure, perhaps when I decided to do it or the day I actually incorporated, but I know there really isn’t a finish. All that’s really there is the day-to-day work. One must enjoy the work to keep going. This is why I check in with myself to see if I’m still loving it and if I need to ask for help. Usually yes; and yes again. Funny enough, sometimes those two things are at odds with one another, too.
Takeaway 3: Working With Good People Makes All the Difference
I have had the joy of being around a bunch of people – more lovely than not - for most of my varied, earlier career. But the ones that really get it; the ones who really see me are the ones with me now. The saying, “It takes one to know one,” surely makes some sense. It’s a bit harsh and insular so I can’t totally align with that thinking. That noted, there is something special about being around people who are carving out their own lives in their own way and building their businesses too that I’ve become very connected to. I can see it in their eyes and feel it in my belly. Ride on, entrepreneur friends.
Takeaway 4: It’s Worth It
To have something that I am building for myself, for the people around me, and best yet, for my clients and collaborators that I get to work alongside is pretty insane. And the best part is I did it. I get to help steward where it goes next. And then where it goes after that. As egotistical as running your own business is, turns out it’s really important to me. I’m working every hour for myself for a present day and future that I actually want. Cue Frank Sinatra’s “I Did it My Way.” No. Wait. Scratch that. I’m cuing up Beyonce’s “Six Inch Heels.”
Takeaway 5: There’s More to It
(I’m leaving one thing blank as an appreciation and steadfast reminder that while I’ve learned a tonne, there’s so much more to experience and discover. I am committed to staying inquisitive and excited to learn more and more and more.)
These years have both flown - and at times cruelly crept - by. I understand that’s a part of the troll toll. To go past, you have to pay.
I owe thanks to each and every one of you. Here’s five things I’m super grateful for.
Thank you for wanting to be you.
Thank you for believing in the power of choosing your version of fashion.
Thank you for your eyes and ears.
Thank you for your curiosity.
Thank you for support.
Cheers – coffee at this hour – to another five (at least) more years.