Truth be told, we could probably write a blog on this topic every month for the next year, but we’ve boiled it down to four lessons we think might be helpful in your own business journey.
1. There is Always More to Do
Our to-do lists, when written out in their entirety, are very long. Always. Every day. All the time. We can chase that *oh-so-satisfying* clear queue until the cows come home, but once we reached a certain point in our business growth, that feeling hit unicorn status. You think it could possibly exist in a faraway realm, but that’s about as close as you ever get to it. The lesson? We are so much happier when we accept that our to-do lists will always have something on them, but our success (and value) is not measured by how close we get to that completed list. Instead, we have learned to prioritize our tasks based on what actually needs to get done, and everything else can wait. Read that again – EVERYTHING ELSE CAN WAIT.
2. Not Everyone is a Good Fit
This is a tough one when you’re a people pleaser, like Sarah. It’s also tough when you’re not one to back down from a challenge, like Olivia. Thinking everyone is going to be the perfect client for us is about as productive as thinking everyone should like the same hairstylist or grocery store. People like what they like and, every once in awhile, that’s just not us! Over the years, we have become much better at letting go of a client when it’s clear that our way of doing things isn’t benefiting their business. We’re not here to make money for the sake of making money—having a symbiotic relationship with our clients is extremely important to us and the overall health of our business. The next level lesson here? Not being a good fit doesn’t mean we’re not doing a good job.
3. ASAP Doesn't Always Mean ASAP
When most people hear “ASAP” what they really hear in their brain is “this is an emergency.” But over the years we have found that, more often than not, ASAP doesn’t actually mean right this second. In fact, depending on the person, it can mean anything from ‘within the next 5 minutes’ to ‘by the end of the week.’ When it comes to this anxiety-inducing four-letter word, we have learned to always (always) ask for clarification. Asking for an ideal deadline and a hard deadline gives us something we can actually work into our schedule.
4. Sh*t Happens
Sometimes, even when we’ve done everything in our power to avoid it, we mess up. We are human, along with everyone else on our team (although our bookkeeper might actually be an angel) and it’s impossible to be 100% perfect, 100% of the time. Do we try our absolute best? You better believe it. But even Olivia misses a typo occasionally, and even Sarah delivers a low res graphic every once in awhile. And sometimes we even mess up really big and put the wrong time on a giant, expensive sign (sorry Erin!) But the great news? We know that those mistakes don’t determine our value as people, or even as business owners. The best part of our humanity is the ability to make mistakes, learn from them, and try to do better next time. If we’re constantly holding ourselves and everyone else to impossible standards, we’re going to end up disappointed every single time.
As you can see, we have had to learn some tough lessons along the way. Each one has been an excellent opportunity for growth and we wouldn't have it any other way! We know we're not alone, and we encourage you to adopt a "forever student" attitude when it comes to your business.