What a difference a year makes.
It’s quite amazing how simple those words are and yet how true they ring at the turn of each new year. Around this time last year, I was in the second month of my business, with was the result of a leap of faith, and had just written my first blog for this website on how passion led us here. Back then, I approached the coming new year that would soon dawn with mixed feelings of excitement and fear. On the one hand, I was elated and enthusiastic about the beginning of what would be a great adventure courtesy of my venture into entrepreneurship--the launch of Enrich My Brand, my very own creative and marketing agency. However, on the other hand, I was afraid, as most daring entrepreneurs are (whether they admit or not); I was fearful of the unknowns that lied ahead of me in the new year.
Although I would soon land on my feet so to speak thanks to a deal I made with my former employer--the company from which I resigned to undertake this new endeavor, the fantasy of peace of mind would soon give way to the reality of the struggle of entrepreneurship. Several months into launching my agency, I would experience the cold, hard truth that is the difficulty of gaining traction in the market, and the perennial uphill battle that is client acquisition. Before long, I found myself not owning a business, per se, but being owned by a business, spending countless hours hustling and bustling as a ‘solopreneur’ taking two steps forward and one step back, only ever making incremental progress.
Was I frustrated? Yes. Defeated? Never. Around the half-way mark of my first year in business for myself, I did some introspection, and it dawned on me how exhausting it was getting a new company off the ground in earnest. One way or another, I was always working; I spent countless hours researching my industry--from competitive landscape to market potential to best practices and trends. I learned so much about my field thanks to blogs, guides, ebooks, social platforms, webinars, and podcasts. I had to do it all and burn the midnight oil as part of my routine workflow. I almost got burnt out in a relatively short time, and that’s when I realized that steering this company to success per my long-term vision was my career’s Goliath.
It was around that same time I had a bit of a eureka moment, recognizing that I couldn’t build a successful agency with insanity as my business plan. By that, I mean doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. No, something had to give, I had to make some significant changes. Per the Chinese proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,” I decided to take on a partner. After looking outside my little, two-person agency at the time, I would finally find the perfect business partner within my organization. Enter Rachel Beaird. In many ways, that has made all the difference as we have been able to accomplish more together--whether it be acquiring new clients, managing client relationships, interviewing and hiring, and subsequently directing and developing our interns.
Nevertheless, two (or more) partners do not (necessarily) a good business make. During this past quarter, we have undergone more turbulence than we could have ever anticipated--financial setbacks, internal turmoil, loss of clients for various reasons, an intern quitting, to name a few. However, we haven’t let these challenges leave us dispirited as we approach year two for several reasons. For starters, I am a better leader today than I was this time last year because of all that I have endured. Also, I have the support of a competent, capable and loyal business partner to share the highs and lows of this journey. Moreover, the countless hours I spent earlier in the year honing my craft, being a student of my industry, have prepared me to navigate these challenges, while my faith has enabled me to do so without using that same boyish enthusiasm I had when I first set out on this venture.
Today, Enrich My Brand is a better agency poised to grow and scale exponentially starting with the dawn of a new year. Having learned from adversity, from our mistakes and failures, we know ourselves better; we know our strengths and weaknesses, our opportunities and threats, we know our niche, our ideal customer, our core services, our brand identity and message, and how to tell our most compelling brand story. Furthermore, we are positioning ourselves to begin investing in arguably the most essential asset any business can hope to have--quality personnel who buy into the vision and have a vested interest in the company’s success.
As is the way of the world since time immemorial, one year will soon give way to another, and at the turn of this new year, each of us will have the opportunity to reset. Each of us will have the chance to redefine who we are, what we choose to do, and how we go about doing it. My hope for you is that wherever life takes you, you resolve to make progress from this year to the next, however incremental it might be. That you continue to evolve, so you don’t have to keep subjecting yourself to yet another cliche New Years Resolution year after year. I pray that in 2019, you resolve to identify your purpose by looking where your passion lies and turning that passion into your life work, perhaps even a business, if the burning desire for entrepreneurship is something that calls out to you in your dreams. Godspeed, my friends.
Founder & Chief Wordsmith