|photo by Magna Vita Photography|
"5 years is a long time for a small business, " said a friend recently.
And then it hit me. Wow, 5 years. Has it really been 5 years? In the grand scheme of life, 5 years doesn't seem like much, but when my business anniversary coincides with the birth year of my youngest child, I realize how much can happen and change in 5 whole years.
I am so grateful to all of the people that helped make it possible for me to still have a business after 5 years. I am also really excited for what the next few years will bring because we have some amazing plans.
I have learned so much about launching and operating a small business, in particular, a small food business. Lessons that one can only learn along the way, building from the ground up with one's own blood, sweat, and tears. Lessons that are learned from mistakes and near misses. Lessons learned from years of observing others, interacting with others, and collaborating with others.
In Business as in Life
A huge part of why I wanted to be self-employed was to have my work blend with my life. I have always been a bit of a workaholic, and while I don't subscribe to that way of life now, I did learn that I like to be able to flow from work to life easily. I started to think about my dream work environment, and instead of waiting for a corporation to create one, I decided to make my own for myself. I also started to structure my schedule around what works with my family, my health, and my workload.
The more I spend time as an entrepreneur, the more I realize that for me, success is having my work fuel my life and my life inspire my work. I don't turn off and on, but I flow from one to the other, and sometimes live and work at the same time.
Define Yourself, over and over again
Time and time again, I have been reminded of why this is so important. As a business owner, it is essential to success that we know exactly who we are, who we want to be, and who we don't want to be. It sounds a little soul-searching/mantra/holistic, and it is. Like life, business is fluid and ever-changing. Knowing who you are in the midst of change, and being able to evolve, grow, and change while staying true to your vision is what I believe sets the success stories apart from the statistical failures.
Do what you're good at; outsource the rest
I think it is easy for entrepreneurs to think that either a) they are good at all parts of their business, or b) they need to do all parts of their business. I have learned that neither is true. At first, when I was starting out, I was a one-woman show so yes, I did everything. But I quickly found resources that helped me leverage my skills. Social media was just exploding when I launched and Facebook and Twitter did wonders for my business in my first year. As I grew my business, I was able to figure out what I need to do and what I need others to do. I am still working on creative ways to outsource and I am going to share my ideas in a future post.
Be a Champion of Others
The small business world has shifted dramatically in the past few years and more than ever I see people collaborating, working together, building each other up, and supporting each other. It is honestly inspiring and gives me hope in the future of our economy and culture. Whether it is fundraising for a favourite charity or cause, or collaborating with like-minded business owners, so much positive growth and development can come from being a champion.
Be a Great Boss
So many entrepreneurs set out to be their own boss and to be a better boss to others. I think it is imperative to be very deliberate about what kind of work environment and experience we want to provide others. It says EVERYTHING about who we are as business owners and human beings. I have spent years in the world of Human Resources and I was a very forward-thinking HR executive. However, as I shape my business I have thought about new ways to be a better boss. (More to come on this too!)
My Final Thought for today
There were so many times when I felt frustrated that I wasn't where I wanted to be, accomplishing all that I was dreaming of, that I was impatient with results and discouraged with my work. All of this, looking back, was ludicrous! My business has been successful and despite personal challenges, my business is thriving more than ever. But more than that, I have realized, and this here is important if you are still reading, everything happens when it needs to happen.
EVERYTHING HAPPENS WHEN IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN.
I used to believe that everything happens for a reason. I kind of still do, but I realized that there was more to it. I have learned that when we feel like we SHOULD be somewhere, doing something, being someone, that in fact, we are not supposed to be there yet. And when we do land there, it will actually be the right time. Trust me.
Thank you and what the future holds
Thank you to everyone who was been a part of this journey so far. We have a lovely community here and I enjoy the emails, comments, and interactions on social media (Instagram is my fav!).
So much is happening right now that is very exciting for me! We are launching our Holiday Menu next week and some of my wholesale customers have had a sneak peek. It is delicious and delightful and full of new, fun treats.
The new year is bringing some new fun too and I can't wait to tell you all about it soon! I have been working behind the scenes on a few goals that I think you will all love.
Thanks again for 5 great years and I am thrilled about what the future holds.
With marshmallowy love,