If you’ve been following our journey you might recall our goals for 2018 were 1) living more conscientiously 2) being authentic and 3) finding our niche. Well the results are in, and we’re proud to share our scorecard with all of you! After all, isn’t that staying true to goal #2?
As an ex-corporate gal I’m very goal oriented. Likely because they were tied into a bonus payout. But when you’re your own boss you have a different measuring stick. You can see that from the goals we set for ourselves, they aren’t all business oriented! Some of our most important personal goals include having a balanced work/life which is a critical measurement of how we’re doing as people, not just entrepreneurs.
I’ve learned pretty quickly that running a small business is very different (in many ways of course, but speaking in terms of strategy) than an established company. Smaller operations are nimble, and can change direction if something isn’t working. It can also be a slippery slope and you can lose focus of your strategy and how you’re going to achieve your goals. Enough ramble though, let’s get into it.
Goal #1 – Living Conscientiously
First off, it helps being around the house to run it more efficiently! I am pretty proud to say that I haven’t purchased things just for the sake of it. I’m more aware of little things like reducing plastic bags in the kids lunches, making my own cleaning solutions, and not falling prey to the allure of fast-fashion. A great way to deter me from wanting to spruce up my wardrobe has been going through what I already have and organizing. It feels SO good when you can appreciate what you have instead of wanting something new for the sake of it.
Heather’s gotten crafty with her wardrobe too. Last week we needed to present ‘profesh’ for a meeting. Instead of buying new pants for the occasion she rescued a pair of her husbands old business trousers that were about to be sent off to donate! She’s so adorable, she can make anything look good.
Can we do better? Of course we can. Things like leaving the car at home, or not making a special trip to the store for that one thing you think you’re desperate for. Being more careful with energy usage around the house (the boys learning about energy reduction at school and are now keeping me on my toes!), and getting creative with home décor by using materials around the house.
We give ourselves a 7 out of 10 here.
Goal #2 – Being Authentic
This one sounds easy, but it’s actually HARD! We have been investing our Instagram Business account over the past few months and finding some pretty good success marketing on the social platform. That said, when you are surrounded in a sea of perfection and impeccably manicured images it’s very easy to lose sight of your own brand and authentic representation of yourself. Being mindful about little things like not over-editing to look too perfect or unrealistic. We strive to be authentic about who we are, including our shortcomings, and try to depict an honest representation of Heather and Leanne.
No one is perfect 100% of the time. We all have our shortcomings, or moments where you beat yourself up over something you said (or didn’t say!) or when your inner 5-year-old takes the steering wheel. Recently, I have been accepting the fact that perfection is not a comfortable resting place and being more forgiving of that not-so-perfect side. We all make mistakes, but it’s how you bounce back from them that builds character.
We give ourselves 8 out of 10.
Goal #3 – Finding our Niche
Community has been key for us. From small businesses networks and local support systems, we’re found and grown a solid community on social media. It’s proven quickly that connections made in these small groups are more powerful than a larger networking event where you need to deliver a glossy elevator pitch. Heather has fostered new relationships and joined the Women Connecting Women networking group as their designated web and graphic designer. She even delivered a branding presentation to the members on her second week. (Whoop whoop!!)
At the beginning of the year, Heather and I thought hard about our target customer and narrowed it down to 3 sectors we would focus on. Other entrepreneurs told us that successful businesses found a niche and lived in it. But it was at that moment we started focusing on our target audience that opportunities started coming out of the woodwork, from every industry and sector. Apparently WE were the niche, and appealed to businesses because of OUR size, location and offering.
We give ourselves a 9 out of 10 on this one!
Overall Q1 learnings:
- Our priorities are straight – clients always come first. Even if that means putting your own marketing on the back burner.
- Referrals have been our main source of traffic.
- Instagram is where it’s at! Check us out Instagram/featherandline
- Communication is important. Partnerships need to encourage an open and honest dialogue which helps create a foundation for the business and clarify roles.
- Slow progress is still progress.
- We don’t know it all. Realizing that things that worked in a big company don’t apply here. I’m learning a new job as I go, and we’re finding our own way.
We’ve learned a lot in a relatively short amount of time which only helps propel our growth. We will continue to evolve and change course on how we get there, but our vision remains unaltered. With every new client, or positive feedback we gain more and more confidence. And at the end of the day, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s a creative business after all!