It's officially been two whole years since I started this gift box company and I can hardly believe it. I know that sounds cliché, but it truly feels like it has flown by. I think that because this business is largely based on holidays, or at least that's where we do significantly more sales, those dates stand out in my mind and really put time in to perspective. I can vividly remember our first Christmas holiday season, so when last Christmas rolled around I was like, "Whoa, I feel like we were JUST HERE." This past year has been amazing in so many ways... we've grown in every sense of the word, we've had a lot of firsts, but there are still so many big things in the works that I feel as if we can't truly celebrate until those things have happened, BUT WE WILL DEFINITELY CELEBRATE.
In honor of our "business anniversary" that we refer to as our birthday because that's more fun, I want to continue the tradition of sharing a few things I've learned as a business owner over the last year and some milestones we've reached. I'm including some successes AND some failures, because those are even more significant to me, and I'll start with that:
1. FAILURE IS MY BFF. I fail just about every single day, which sounds terrible, but I've learned that it's all about how you recover. When you're making so many decisions every single day, at least one of them is bound to be wrong (and in my case, usually several). Rather than beat myself up, curl up in a ball, give up (I've attempted all of those things, trust me), I strive to immediately accept it and recover. Most of these failures are small and really don't matter as much as I might think they do initially. Failure also brings an opportunity to learn and grow, which is how you actually get to success. Failure is a necessary evil, you might say. Embrace it!
2. TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK. Riveting, I know. I spoke to this a bit in the post I wrote for our 1st birthday, but in this case I'm talking more about finding your tribe, even if that tribe is just one other person who believes in you and makes your goals their goals and just GETS IT. That person (or tribe) is invaluable. Invest in them and you and your business will thrive. It may take some time before you are able to trust and delegate, but keep pushing through because you stand a much better chance of survival with the right people helping you.
3. EXCUSES ARE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE, JUST DO IT. Nike really nailed it with their slogan, right? As simple as this sounds, it's much harder when you're talking about starting something. If you're wanting to start a business, the thought of all of things that need to be done can completely overwhelm you. This is one of my biggest downfalls, even today. I talk myself out of a lot because I feel like I don't know where to start. What I'm realizing with a lot of self-help and introspect is that what I am struggling with is the ability to focus on one task. My mind is always racing with countless thoughts, ideas, comparisons, YOU NAME IT. We all wake up each day with a to-do list and we also have like, a thousand distractions at any given moment. Having the willpower and determination to shut everything out/off so that you can focus on just one important thing at a time is crucial (at least for me). Figure out a way, and make it happen.
Some noteworthy milestones from the last year:
- I hired Sam J., who embodies everything I said earlier about finding your tribe. She loves BV like it is her own and in the short months that she's been here, she's made a HUGE impact. She's a Jane-of-all-trades, so resourceful, so productive and feeds me baked goods all the time. What more could I ask for? I always say that I work for her and I mean that in the best way possible because that's how I know she's the right person. We're looking forward to growing the team even more this year!
- We had our first appearance on live tv! We were asked to do a short bit for the local Fox News channel and when I say short, it was literally 3 minutes. It was during the holidays and I was asked to showcase some holiday gift boxes. I was so nervous, it was a blur, truly, but such an awesome experience and I can't wait to do it again!
- We fulfilled our largest order to-date, 400 custom gift bags! It was a huge undertaking for us in our current temporary space, but we made it happen and even recruited some friends to volunteer helping us with the delivery. This would NOT have been possible without their help and came with some very stressful moments, of course, but we pulled it off.
- We grew every month (year over year) and had our best month on record to date. We also fulfilled over 2000 gift boxes!
And now, I'd just like to say THANK YOU. If you're reading this, you have helped me and my business. The fact that you take time out of your day to follow along, whether or not you've ever purchased a gift box, means more than I can express in words. When I need encouragement, I think of you all. I think of the amazing community and support that we have, and it always warms my heart. I say this all the time but we are so lucky to be able to help spread love and kindness every day, and my goal is to always show the most gratitude possible. BIG HUGS!