You can’t help but to have noticed a HUGE shift in commerce, entrepreneurship and small businesses in the last few years. With the social media booms and customer-service-is-king mantras being sung from the mountaintops, more and more people are choosing to start a business on the side (outside of their full-time gig), or from home. And let me tell you, it is seriously AWESOME. I couldn’t be more excited for this shift in thinking, because it ultimately means, now more than ever, people are able to really seek out their dreams. What once was a ton of red tape, marketing and networking this, SBA and business loans that, has become easier, quicker and more accessible than ever before. I am thrilled to work with these small businesses every day, and it absolutely sets my heart aflame to see people doing what they were PUT ON THIS EARTH TO DO. Hallelujah.
When I started my business back in 2008, the economy was in rough shape. Tiny sparks of the small biz revolution were beginning to ignite. Our communities started to come together to give the “little” guy a chance. I didn’t start my business because of a lay off; I still had a cushy position at a design studio. I started it as a side cash businesses to pay for our wedding – basically a hobby that made me some money. Let me back up a bit – I NEVER envisioned myself as an entrepreneur. I remember telling my husband explicitly that I would NEVER own my own business. I thought it was too much work, and I would never make enough money. My American dream was to work for a huge, successful design agency, with acclaim and prestige. So when my business started getting serious and celebrating successes and growth, instead of my dream to just WORK at a big company, I’d build one. I thought in order for it to be successful, I had to be big. I’d have a big lofty office, downtown, with a lot of employees.
But, you know what’s missing from that picture? Pretty much everything that I’ve now come to cherish so very much. Freedom, personal connection, fulfillment, making a difference. The things that I love SO much in my life today, would have been missing from that picturesque life I’d planned for myself.
While working towards my dreams of building a big design company, I suddenly realized something. I LOVED BEING SMALL. I loved the freedom it gave me. I loved making my own schedule, and having time during the day to run errands. I loved making my own decisions and developing my brand from the ground up. (I didn’t love the accounting – but I’ll save that for another discussion.) I loved KNOWING my clients, and my clients knowing me. I realized if I had that big studio, I’d be shackled to another 9-5, and I’d still be working for someone else – my business.
After this realization, I went immediately to my website and changed all the WE’s and US’s to ME and I. About ME. Contact ME. I believe in this. Yes, it’s just me. No, I don’t have a customer service department – it’s just ME (now I do have a team, but at that time I didn’t.) There was such freedom in that, and letting it be okay to just be myself. I could write the manual on my business, I could run it the way I wanted to run it, I could have my freedom and set my own prices. I could infuse emotion and love into my business. I could make things PERSONAL again.
I want to encourage you today, if you’re ashamed or not sure about being small, to EMBRACE your small, and wear it proudly. In coming posts, we’ll talk about developing a team to help out if you need it. But for now, let’s just be okay with being small. SMALL IS ENOUGH. SMALL IS AWESOME. SMALL is going to ROCK THE SOCKS OFF OF THEM.
It all starts with a small spark.