I try to make it a habit that at the end of every year I look back and think about the past year, see how far I’ve come, and lessons learned before moving forward.
When it came time to write this year’s article all I could think was, ”Whoa”; I wouldn’t even know where to begin. For me, 2020 has been a pivotal year both professionally and personally.
How it began
I can remember the end of 2019 and EVERYONE was so excited for 2020. It was going to be the decade everyone succeeded and I fell right into it. I set large goals for myself and my business and I didn’t know it at the time, but felt the pressure of all those large goals. But this was going to be my year, so I charged forward.
Then in the first week of the new year our admin came to me and said, “We don’t have enough money to run payroll.” I shouldn’t have been as shocked as I was but I felt like the wind had been taken out of me. “This was supposed to be my year/decade; how could this happen? Either way we found money, aka I stopped paying myself, and we took out loans to last us until March when I knew things would turn around.
Well March came and we all know how well that turned out. March is when the nation started to see the impact of COVID-19 and we all went into shutdown.
My immediate reaction was PANIC. During this time I learned the true value of relationships. Immediately I knew that I couldn’t be the only one panicking, so I set up a webinar with business owners from different industries to give insights and direction. Those same AMAZING people stayed close as we pivoted daily to plan for what I now realize was unplannable.
I wish I could say I took my own advice and stayed calm and patient but I didn’t. My already-struggling business was struggling even more and I felt the pressure increasing even more as my wife and I just found out that we were expecting our first child.
Things needed to change and they did with the help of others.
Know your numbers
I heard this term being used so much in business and I thought I knew my numbers but I didn’t. That help I needed was from two different women that I respect greatly saying, “You’re top- heavy. You have too many expenses and not enough sales.”
So I made some adjustments, then I made a few more and before I knew it I was faced with making the worst decision any owner has to make, I needed to let someone go.
I know I’ll never forget this moment in my life and the feelings of guilt, sadness and defeat that decisions I had made would affect someone else’s life. It’s something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone but I kept saying to myself, “letting someone go is not something you do to someone; it’s something you do for someone.”
I spent most of the summer and fall in management mode because I had a TON of extra time on my hands due to lack of travel to/from work, events and meetings. I took that time to really “count and inspect my beans”; looking through our processes, efficiency and costs and I found a bunch of little things that added up.
At the same time my wife and I were preparing for our daughter to come. This time with my wife is something I will always cherish. We used to say we were “passing ships in the night” but due to the lockdown, we were able to spend more time together and connect on a whole new level.
Then it happened. On Oct 2 my daughter was born. The moment that doctor lifted her in the air, like some scene from The Lion King, I felt my whole life change. Priorities, goals, values and vision shifted in that moment.
Being an Owner
The struggles that I went through this last year gave me a whole new perspective of what being a business owner or entrepreneur means. Before this year I over-glorified being an entrepreneur thinking of freedom, glory, and money. It was a hard truth when it came time for me to make hard decisions, decisions that would affect other people’s lives, while going through the loudest imposter syndrome voice I’d ever experienced in my life. I came through those challenges by leaning on those around me and trusting my instincts to move forward. Looking at myself in the mirror today I can see my growth, my drive, and my passion as clear as day. I know that by going through those challenges I will be a better woman and owner tomorrow.
A New Goal
After a long year I’m happy to say that RedTree is healthy and thriving and we have a whole new definition of success. Somewhere along the line I thought a business, and its owner, needed to look, operate and feel a certain way. I now know that the beauty of having your own business is to be able to determine what success means to you.
It took a global pandemic for me to realize that I don’t need a huge multi-million dollar business. I want to work with clients who value our expertise, have a team that values collaboration and boundaries and being present with my family and friends.
I’m grateful to be heading into 2021 with a new set of goals around my own definition of success.
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