A little over a month ago I pulled the trigger and announced the opening of Cafe Notes + Company. I had been discovering, learning and working for 7 months in order to make that May 2nd launch date where I could move from saying, "I'm working on opening a business" to "I have a business." It's amazing the power a few different words in the same sentence can have on your confidence.
You'll never know enough, but you can take comfort in the fact that you'll always be learning
The first month of business was fast, empowering, humbling, frustrating, overwhelming and a little...wobbly. But the amount I've learned, even in a month, has been incredible. I think that's the biggest take away from the first few weeks: you'll never know enough, but you can take comfort in the fact that you'll always be learning. I knew running my own company solo would be a challenge, but wearing so many hats has tested me over and over again this first month. I would like to say that I always handled the stress with grace and aplomb, but this is an honest post and I'll admit to a few melt downs and a couple late night "why did I do this to myself?!" thoughts. But then I revisit my why. The why I had spent months honing and perfecting: providing products that help you connect on a more personal level and in that process finding a community of people that I identify with creatively, professionally and emotionally.
I've learned that no matter how much you may plan your day, week and months unforeseen events will always crop up to effectively smash your organized life. The last two and a half weeks a family emergency has caused work to take a back seat, but I kept reminding myself that is why I became my own boss: relationships and people are what's most important to me and being able to have the freedom to focus on those has been phenomenal. You'll remember from this post that I started Cafe Notes + Company as a freedom passion project. And freedom is what I've gained. I've been able to take care of my family during the day and take care of my business by night without getting that annoying eyeball from the unfeeling boss. I've learned to be patient with myself (and my 1000 to-do lists) and to prioritize the time that I do have to work.
We all know the phrase "build it and they will come," but what that fails to cover is that you need to build it, maintain it, grow it, talk about it, make signs so people can find it, expand it and improve it
I've also learned that just launching is not enough. We all know the phrase "build it and they will come," but what that fails to cover is that you need to build it, maintain it, grow it, talk about it, make signs so people can find it, expand it and improve it! I wasn't naive enough to think that the people would come flocking in the first month if I just sit back and do nothing; however, I will be honest, there was a certain moment of "oh crap, now what?" after I launched. I had focused so much on starting the business that I forgot to think about perpetuating the company. So I adapted. I re-evaluated my 30, 60 and 90 day goals as well as my year plan and tried my level best to be honest about what I was capable of each day, week and month. When you work for yourself it's hard to bullshit the boss. Lesson #3.
Finally, this first month has taught me that community is everything. The amount of support I have received from day 1 has been immeasurable and I feel as though I can't say thank you enough. For a person who is pushing the importance of saying what you mean to say, I often find myself at a loss of words at other's kindness toward what I've chosen to do with my life. If I could go back and tell myself on May 2nd, when I was so nervous and vulnerable that I couldn't feel my hands after announcing the launch, the type of love that would come out of the woodwork I think I would have been a much calmer woman that day! From sharing social media posts to texts and phone calls of encouragement to purchasing products, every single moment means the world to me. So thank you, thank you, thank you!