Three years ago I started my own business, RedTree Web Design. Even as I write that sentence I’m amazed. It was the scariest and most exciting decision I’ve ever made.
As congratulations started to flood in I found myself in a state of awe and reflection. First off, I can’t believe it’s only been 3 years because it feels like 10 lifetimes. The amount of growth I’ve gone through both professionally and personally, I feel like a completely different woman.
When I first started out I found myself lost and I would literally Google, “How to grow a business” or worse, “How to run a business”. I purchased the business from my old business partner so I already had a huge hurdle concern, which was getting clients. At that time I thought of myself as a web designer and developer but not an entrepreneur or leader.
After my first year, I started to feel more comfortable with running the business and knew it was time to get out of my basement. I found an office in Carnegie, got my first employee and started getting new prospects. Before I knew it I had employees and clients looking to me for direction and, whether I liked it or not, I had to become a leader.
I thought having employees meant I get to sit around and talk about cool design initiatives and groundbreaking technology. I would make “pretty” websites for a business with no goals in mind. This fairy tale quickly faded away when a client would ask, “Why did you do that?” and my employees would take longer than I expected to complete a project. This, of course, led me into a deep state of insecurity. What if I made the wrong decisions? What if I made a suggestion to my client that cost them money? Was I not clear with the instructions to my employees? So I did what any good business owner would do, I froze.
Freezing for me stopped my growth both for the business and professionally. I had no idea how to find security until one day I decided to “get real”. I decided to remove all my preconceived notions and was vulnerable with other business owners as to the struggles I was having. I quickly came to find that I wasn’t alone and other entrepreneurs were having the same issues. I instantly felt a sigh of relief and knew I was doing OK.
With most stats saying that small businesses fail within the first 2 years I find myself in a state of gratitude. Thankful for the connections I’ve made and clients I’ve come to think of as partners. Moreover, I can’t do this alone and the more honest I am with myself and others the less likely I am to freeze and then can continually grow.