As I reflect on my first year in business, I’m pretty dang proud of myself. Not knowing what to expect, I didn’t go into the first year with many set goals, but rather I was open to the many opportunities in front of me. Reflecting back, there are many lessons I’ve learned, but most importantly, there are three reoccurring themes that peeked out throughout the year.
Relationships are GOLD.
To many of my friends, it was a complete shock when I launched daph.. Unsure about how things would turn out, I kept the whole venture under wraps as long as possible. When I did eventually launch on December 16,2017, the amount of support varied. Yes, there were those friends who were amazingly supportive, proud and inspired. They were and still are my cheerleaders and can be found at my pop ups, sharing blog posts and spreading the word about daph. to anyone they see. This means the world to me, and for this I’ll always be thankful.
Much to my surprise, there were many people who I thought would be the first to congratulate me or share in my excitement who were radio silent. I’ve discussed this with various people and mentors and came to the consensus that some people just “get weird.” For some, we are at different stages of life and for others, they didn’t have time to share their support. At first, I was really hurt by the lack of support but quickly didn’t have time to think about that (literally). However, it was a good reminder of the value of relationships.
Relationships have been everything this year.I have met amazing people and made new friends every step of the way. Whether they are in the fashion industry, budding entrepreneurs, established business women or a fellow boss lady, I am so thankful to each and every woman who has answered an email, jumped on a call or grabbed a cup of coffee with me. They all left a nugget of knowledge with me that has impacted daph. at various levels. Of course, I can’t jump at every suggestion that every person may share with me, but speaking with so many people allowed me to put together common themes or suggestions that I have shaped my business strategy. It’s always refreshing to get an outsider’s perspective on business decisions, branding or expansion plans. I’ve also made a very strong effort to make these relationships actual relationships, making them personal. I want us to learn about each other and work to grow each other’s business or to grow professionally. I always make an effort to follow up with whoever gave me a certain piece of advice that I acted on and share with them the result. I find circling back with a handwritten thank you card really adds a personal touch and strengthens the connection that ultimately leads to a friendship. (I’m also a sucker for stationary and paper goods, so it’s a great excuse to hit up Papersource!)
Time is Valuable.
Now this one was the easiest one to figure out. The whole reason I started daph. was to use my time doing something I enjoyed, rather than sitting at a desk doing something that did not positively influence my life and passions. As I previously mentioned, there has never been a day when I did not want to work on daph. or even felt it was a chore or struggle. It’s always another challenge or adventure I’m eager to tackle. That being said, I have also realized, sometimes in harder ways than desired, that the time I choose to not work on daph. is taking away from its growth. This year I learned that I can be working on my company without actually working on something related to a product launch or marketing campaign. I can take the time to talk to people about what has worked for them in their business. I can form relationships with boutique providers. I can attend a workshop or class on Instagram growth. I can even take time to read a business book or start a vision board for future designs. I can work on my business while not being physically present.
I recently had a conversation with a business owner who is working on her second company, product based, after selling her first digital media company. It was refreshing to hear her agree with my thoughts that some days it is OK to take the day off because you just don’t feel inspired or motivated. It is okay not to work on your business 24/7 and, especially, 100% okay not telling the world how hard you work. Which brings me to the final lesson…
Comparison is the Thief of Joy.
It’s simple, don’t do it. Don’t compare yourself to other people and let their successes downgrade yours. In a world where a filter can make life appear picture perfect and the number of followers can define your influence on others, it’s easy to get discouraged by everyday things like a reaction, or lack thereof, to a social media post.
This year there have been times when I have compared my milestones with those of other’s, and there have been times when others have done it for me. There’s no better word than annoyed to describe how these moments make me feel. Not only does it bother me that I am letting some other person, who in most cases I don’t even know, let my win have a little less shine, but it’s even more annoying when other people, who have no idea about the industry, my business strategy or story, compare me to other people. By realizing that I truly have no idea what their experience, goals, inner struggles, company hurdles or drive could be, I’ve realized that there is no reason to compare myself and my wins to those of anyone else. Instead, I need to focus on all the challenges I’ve overcome and risks I’ve taken. If that doesn’t work it’s also eye-opening to realize that although I may not be as excited about some things, there are people out there that are comparing their wins to mine! Weird, huh? In any case, I’ve concluded that it’s healthy to celebrate all successes, big or small, with anything such as treating yourself to a day off to a simple pat on the back. Celebrating keeps you motivated!
Although there are other lessons that I learned this year, these are the top three which have had the highest impact on daph. and me as a person. As 2019 approaches I cannot wait to get started on new goals, increase branding visibility, exposure and reach. And most of all keep creating pieces you will love and use in your everyday life while giving back to a place so near and dear to my heart. I can’t wait to meet new people, learn their story, keep sharing mine, overcome new challenges, and continue learning along the way. And with that, I’m off to celebrate my first anniversary!