“The road to success is not a path you find but a trail you blaze.” – Robert Brault
In the five years that we’ve been in business, Green Bag Designs has had some big wins, and some massive fails. Let’s chat about some of our big hurdles:
We didn’t have a support system
I’ve got to be honest; when I started this business, I only saw the perks; work from home, set my own hours, make connections with people that I loved working with. I never thought about how isolating working at home could be, or how my friends and family would not be able to relate to some of my day-to-day ordeals. It wasn’t until I started networking with similar small business owners that I felt connected and supported. These people were my new colleagues, and we would all support each other through a small businesses hills and valleys.
My favorite support system is the women of Hatch Tribe. Hatch Tribe is an all-women entrepreneur powerhouse. My business coach, Hilary Johnson, and the rest of the ladies have been a rock in our business. I highly suggest that if you do not have a support system of fellow like-minded individuals, that you get one immediately. Your family and friends mean well, but having a mentor or a fellow small business owner that you can lean on provides a different level of support that you may need.
We didn’t celebrate enough
When we first started, every facebook follower, friend request, and won proposal felt like a huge win. In the hustle and bustle of day-to-day, we lost the little happy dance we do whenever accomplish a goal. The excitement wore off.
Now, we have morning stand-ups (where we all share our wins from the day before, our tasks for the current day, and what’s holding us back from getting sh*t done), monthly staff meeting celebrations and our #bigwin bell! It’s our favorite way to celebrate a website launch, a new client, or just getting through the day!
We had a bad hire
Growing pains happen in every small business, even with solopreneurs. As we were growing from our team of one (just Chris) to our team of five (including Bailey!) we’ve had our fair share of missteps. As our team grows, we’ve gotten to hire an amazing group of people including full-time staff, part-time staff, freelancers and contractors. In this process, we’ve made some mistakes, and we’ve been able to grow from them.
We now have a Human Resources Representative (what up, Cindy!), who has walked us through the hiring process, created our GBD employee handbook, and have flushed out our employee onboarding process. We’re so thankful we’re able to grow our team, and look forward to growing even more in the future!
We spent a ton of money
Our first year of business was a mess; we didn’t have a game plan, or a budget, or a clue of what we were doing. We signed up for “solutions” that didn’t work, and spent money on things we didn’t need (hi, shiny glass bowl that holds nothing but looks pretty on my bookshelf!).
We now have a CFO (hi, Robert!) who makes sure we save enough for business taxes, getting through the holidays, and planning for our future. He even helped us track our mileage, keep our receipts, file our business license and fill out our W-9s. We still don’t love tax season, but it no longer leaves us shaking in our boots.
We didn’t take time for ourselves
It’s easy to get engulfed in your small business. I’ve been known to send out emails at 3 in the morning, or draft blog posts on a Saturday night. During the first few years, I was working 60+ hour weeks on client websites, social media calendars, and various digital projects. It wasn’t until my family threw up their flares and begged for me to spend some time away from my laptop that I was able to create some work/life balance.
The biggest boundary that I set was an 8 o’clock bedtime. Not for myself, but for my computer (although sometimes going to bed at 8pm is real nice). At 8pm, the laptop is off and put away for the evening. This includes checking emails, answering phone calls, and completing projects. Now I use the evenings to play fetch with Bailey, watch movies with Robert, and relax.
These hurdles are not specific to our marketing business; these are common hurdles that all businesses must face and overcome. We hope that you can learn from our mistakes as we have, and learn from your own mistakes. Please share with us your biggest hurdle in your business, so that we can share, commiserate and learn with you as well.