“It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.”
I hear this a lot in the business world.
From a business standpoint, I totally understand the concept of this...but at the same time, it’s hard to wrap my head around it. Or at least my heart.
As a small business owner, the blood, sweat, and tears that get invested into the daily grind of owning and growing a business are very real. And it feels very personal.
When it comes down to running my business and how I run my business...it involves a lot of dedication, courage, faith...which gets extremely personal.
There’s a lot of time and energy that gets invested every day. Every week. Every month. Setting goals to reach.
And although it’s super exciting that I get to wake up every morning to chase my dreams, strive for something bigger, build a business I love...well, honestly, it can also be extremely draining.
I’ve worked for big corporations, startups, small businesses, and individuals over the last 18 years. I still can’t believe it’s been that long! And after working for someone else’s business, I finally decided to take that leap of faith and start my own.
I was tired of being stuck in a box…
Tired of working so hard and not feeling like I was gaining anything.
I didn’t have the autonomy I was seeking.
I wasn’t able to grow, and I stopped being challenged.
And I need to be challenged.
I started my business because I have an incredible opportunity to provide for my family.
Because I can work from anywhere, I can work with clients all over the world. How amazing is that? Sometimes I have to remind myself that the days of having to clock in and out in a traditional sense are far behind me.
And now I’m embracing the idea that, even though the journey won’t be perfect, I’m still forging ahead.
I now have the opportunity to reach financial freedom and have the flexibility to achieve the dreams I’ve had for so many years.
AND I get to challenge myself even more!
So why wouldn’t I go for it?
My husband and I have dreams of traveling the world working on our bucket list. And as our parents are getting older, we want to make sure we have the financial freedom and flexibility to take care of them ourselves.
We want to be able to raise money for nonprofits. Organizations that we believe in and want to support.
Give scholarships to kids who want to study design or business.
We want other people to pursue and achieve their dreams so that means helping other small business owners grow their business and providing them with resources they wouldn’t have access to alone.
We also have goals to finally build our dream house. And we’ll share all the details as they unfold. My family is so spread out. I only have five members in my immediate family, and we live in four different states. Wouldn’t it be great to have a home for our family and friends to stay?
I have a lot of reasons why I started my own business. And I think it’s important to have vision in the things you pursue. And being intentional in your decisions to get to where you want to go is so vital.
All that said, I don’t want to build a business that’s just based on numbers. And a business that’s purely transactional.
And if you’re doing business with people, how can it not be personal?
I just spent about five hours writing my first blog post. FIVE hours.
And...AND...After the intense writing sesh, I decided it just wasn’t quite right. So I scrapped it.
I know you might be thinking that I might be a perfectionist, right? I’m not. Really, I’m not.
I just expect the best version of myself...especially when it comes to work. Does that classify me as a perfectionist?
No...I’m not a perfectionist. I’m just particular. And I feel there’s a fine line.
“When you care about the details and push yourself to do better the next time, people take notice and want that for themselves too.”
My particularity in my work world has helped me to get to where I am. When you care about the details and push yourself to do better the next time, people take notice and want that too.
So what happened to the first post? And why did I end up scrapping it?
I just felt like the blog didn’t have any direction, vision or intentionality.
For those of you who know me, I’m slow to make decisions because I want everything to have a purpose behind it. I like having fun and having a “just wing it” attitude...but not when it comes to business because I want my decisions to have purpose. And I know that my decisions can have long-term effects.
So after a year into my business, I decided to finally start a blog (with the encouragement of my Tech VA, Ranay, who said that it would help my SEO. That’s the business part.
But I didn’t want a blog just to have a blog. And it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to post about.
I don’t consider myself to be a writer. But lately I feel like people have encouraged me to step out a little more. I guess every once in a while, this introvert has a lot of things to say.
I love to teach. And I am very passionate about a lot of things. Helping people succeed in their business is one of the tippity tops. I’ll definitely provide how-tos, branding tips, and business resources, but I don’t want it to be like all the other blogs out there. And I definitely don’t want it to be a dud.
I don’t want to waste my time...and definitely don’t want to waste yours...
Because I believe in being intentional. I don’t want to put out content just to put out content, but I genuinely hope that somehow, this blog can help you.
So welcome to the personal side of business.
I’ll be sharing my personal experiences of starting a business. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I want to share with you what the journey has been like for me so far in hopes that if you’re in a similar place (or will be – or have been there), I want this to resonate with you.
Because starting your own business can be isolating. It can consume you if you let it. But it can also challenge you to do things you never thought you were capable of.
This blog will also include tons of branding tips and resources. Because even though this blog will share a more personal journey, I’m all about practicality and helping people get results.
But first, let me share my story and how I got to this point.
I had the best art teacher when I was in high school. Mrs. Lee was the reason why I enrolled in the School of Fine Arts at KU and not in the School of Education to become a math teacher.
I had a dream recently that I was making pottery in her art studio. I wanted to do something creative and different to get inspired.
I didn't know what to make. So I started making a vase. But the vase became bigger and wider and I was worried that it wasn't going to look like a normal vase. Then Mrs. Lee and I were talking about how terrible I was at pottery. We were reminiscing and laughing about the old days and all the things I struggled with.
"Don't be scared to push yourself." She always said that to me. Without any words, she questioned why I chose to make a vase out of all the things I could've made. "Don't be afraid to do something different."
She somehow knew that my fear of failure held me back from doing more than I thought I was capable of.
She then asked me why she wasn't invited to my wedding. And I told her I didn't know she was back in town. (She passed away over 10 years ago.)
"I would've loved to have met your husband," she said with a smile. "He must be one special guy."
Then I woke up.
Some of us like to hide a little because we were told we weren’t good enough. That we would never make it. That we were crazy to have a dream. I get it. That totally happened to me. Several times.
But to make changes in our lives and in our businesses, we have to be okay with putting ourselves out there... and doing stuff outside of our comfort zone.
“People may whisper if you fail, but what if you don’t?”
I’ve failed a lot. And had been told that I wasn’t good enough.
That happened to me when I was in University when a professor (and my advisor) told me that I wasn’t cut out for graphic design. And I was so angry. And of course had to prove him wrong.
Thankfully, I had a different professor the following semester. She saw something in me and just invested so much of her wisdom and guided me through the next nine weeks.
She was only hired to help that one semester, and as luck would have it, I was one of 15 students that got to learn from her. That one semester totally changed how I viewed things in design and illustration, and it totally changed the trajectory of my career.
Because now I can say that I’ve had a very successful career (of 18 years) thanks to her.
I owe so much to the people who saw the potential in me when no one else had.
Mrs. Lee… who encouraged me to enroll in the School of Fine Arts at the University of Kansas.
Ms. Appleoff… who inspired me and somehow brought out the best in me. She truly helped me figure out who I was…and who I was going to be as a creative.
Tim… who had no plans to hire a graphic designer at his company, but hired a girl with no real-world experience anyway…
House of Blues… who chose to hire a girl with only a year of experience when they were looking for a someone with at least five.
It goes on and on.
They all saw something in me that no one else had.
And now it’s time for me to return the favor.
I see so many small businesses struggle to grow because they haven’t fully identified who they are and who their audience is…a couple core foundations of branding that help them succeed for long-term growth.
And I see their potential where most might not.
I get so passionate about these businesses that offer amazing services and products, but don’t get the attention they deserve because they haven’t established their brand.
But what is a brand? What does branding mean? It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot, yet people don’t seem to really know what it is or know how powerful great branding can do for a business…
Or maybe you don’t believe you’re capable of doing more with your business because you were told you weren’t good enough…
Or that you are crazy to think you can start and build your own business.
I’ve been through it all too.
So if you’re playing small, I’d like to challenge you to think bigger about the ways you do business…
Change your mindset…
Take that leap of faith to pursue your dreams…
Because there are people out there that need your help.
We’ll dive deeper in the upcoming posts to get more clarity on what branding really is and how you can build a massively successful business through a well-established brand.
Because I believe that you have the potential to make an impact with your business.
Until next time,