Starting a business is one of the scariest, all-consuming ventures one can embark upon. It is also one of the most rewarding. It has been one year since Jenny and I decided to take the leap and start Centric Creative Consulting. The past year has been one of tremendous growth—professionally and personally—for each of us. We have had to work through difficult situations we never imagined, have learned some lessons the hard way, and have been fortunate to work with amazing clients that have helped our business grow beyond what we could have ever imagined.
As I sit and ponder on all the changes the last year has brought, here are the things that have been most surprising to me:
- Starting and running a business is hard. There are so many minute details that need to be addressed—What font do we use? Is this the right shade of green? Should we offer this service? How much should we charge?—and while they seem trivial, when they start to pile-up, it can be slightly overwhelming. And, if the little stuff doesn’t get you, the big stuff will. There are always at least 1,000 tasks to complete each day and there never seems to be enough time.
- It’s even harder with kids. Rochester is an amazing community for entrepreneurs. There is tremendous growth taking place and we are seriously living in an incubator for success. \It’s different, however, when you have little people depending upon you. We don’t have the luxury of selfishness or time. And, we have still managed to make it. #Thankyoucoffee.
- Let’s not even talk about the financial elements…thankfully, Jenny takes care of all of that! Our business has grown exponentially quicker than we anticipated. We have grown out of our home offices, our cozy first office, and now have to have part-time help. We are being very deliberate in the way we spend money and are working hard to invest back into our business and our clients.
- There’s no such thing as “getting away” or “unplugging” from work. Throughout the last year, Jenny and I have gotten a bit better about being away on the weekends and have actually taken vacation time. For me, I have realized that getting away and unplugging—even for the weekend—is often just enough to help re-energize me and allow for creativity when Monday morning rolls around.
- It’s hard not to take things personally. While we have a fairly high “close rate”, there are times when people choose not to work with us. As women, I think this is especially elevated—I’ve never heard a man say, “I just can’t figure out why this happened!” However, we have learned to roll with it, focus on our clients, and move on.
- Our families have sacrificed, too. We do have flexibility with our schedules, for the most part, so we are able to be present more than we would if we worked for someone else. However, oftentimes, even when we are there, we’re not all there—the phone call needs to be taken, the email responded to, or we are just plain tired.
- But, at the end of the day… our job is a gift. Every day our clients entrust their business to us and that is an awesome responsibility. It is so affirming to have business owners trust us with their livelihood. The level with which we help each client is different, but the job is the same—doing our best to help their business grow. Each of our clients are people just like us who have a desire to see their business grow and are willing to invest not only time, but resources into it. Sometimes, in the day-to-day of running our business, we stop and remind ourselves of the honor we have been given by our clients. Their constant belief in our strategies, our creativity, and us is humbling, to say the least. As the kids like to say, “hashtag blessed”!
Ultimately, starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a lot like being a mom—the work is constant, you’re always tired, yet you love it so much, there’s nothing that will stop you from seeing it thrive.
From the bottom of our hearts, a sincere “Thank you” to our clients. Without your belief in us, we’d each just be another gal, sitting at her desk, counting down the minutes to 5pm.