About a week ago, I decided to dedicate a chunk of my day to cleaning out the never ending pile of journals I have collected over 2016. Reading over business ideas, completed to-do lists, sketches, and little notes of self-motivation took me down the wonderful (and transitional) rollercoaster of what 2016 represented. While 2016 was full of growth, knowledge, mistakes and milestones, there are 5 fundamental things I learned in 2016 that changed the landscape of my life as an entrepreneur.
I launched BMB in 2012 after quitting my job and I literally became a full-time entrepreneur overnight. Like, Im not exaggerating. I quit my job on a Friday and met with my very first client, a diamond jewelry designer, the following Monday. Within my first 6-months in business I relocated to my dream condo in Miami, FL and had the best live/work space a fashionista like me could ask for. As BMB grew, it required more and more of my time. I had no separation between work and home life and I knew things had to change fast if I was going to be able to keep up with the growth of my brand.
*where it all began – smiles*
BMB continued to grow, and I knew that what I was providing was bigger than I could handle alone, so about a year ago I relocated to Atlanta, GA (my hometown) with the goal of securing office space, scaling my business and hiring a staff. I had my hands full handling all the changes that were coming my way while maintaining all the demands of my busy clients.
I spent 2016 researching, planning, and restructuring and now in 2017 I am on the other side of all of that. I'm now in an office with a staff (come thru, #goals!) and I have a better relationship with time. Here are a few jewels I picked up in 2016:
1. Learning to Plan and Pace Myself: I tend to attack my goals very aggressively, sometimes taking on way too much at once and feeling overwhelmed and burnt out by the end of a process. Taking time to realistically look at my plate and plan things out not only made my life easier, it made me fall in love with my passion again.
2. Creating A Schedule: When I became a full-time entrepreneur 5 years ago, one of the most freeing feelings was that I was in 100% control of my time. After a few years this freedom became chaotic because my life lacked structure. I'd overwork myself and neglect other responsibilities and obligations (like going to the gym and meal prepping) because I was "hustling." Creating a schedule gave me a general snapshot of my weekday and weekend routines and allowed me to make time for those things I had been neglecting.
3. Learning the Art of Brain Dumping/ Mass Scheduling: Being a creative, ideas are constantly flowing which can be a gift or a curse if you don't know how to streamline your thoughts and focus when needed. Once I discovered Brain Dumping I knew I had found my cure. Brain dumping basically consists of you writing all of my ideas/goals etc on individual post-it notes so that you get all of your ideas out of my head without worrying about organizing them in any particular order. From that point, I'd schedule all my ideas and/or goals on a calendar for a seamless transition.
4. Learning to Adapt to change: At the beginning of the year, I redesigned BMB's website and migrated from Big Cartel to Shopify. When I switched platforms, I added a bunch of technical lingo that explained my packages in detail but was not in a tone that connected with my audience. I changed all the descriptions of the packages on our website and immediately the questions slowed up and my conversion rates increased.
5. Not Being Afraid to start over: This summer I had an ah-ha moment and decided to rebrand our social media pages. This meant wiping our Instagram page clean and starting over with a new post format (we added videos and quotes) and a new color scheme. This was the scariest thing ever because I was unsure what the response would be to us deleting all of our content (which contained a great deal of our portfolio) and repurposing it into video format. 4 months and almost 1,000+ followers later, I am super happy I considered the quality of my content over the quantity of posts on my instagram page.
What were some of your biggest lessons of 2016? What are you trying to accomplish with your brand in 2017?