Coffee Date: 6 Things In 6 Months
It's always so amazing for me to reflect on the actual growth and change that happens over time - especially because the day-to-day can seem so uneventful.
Here are six big things that have happened (and one huge hint about something BIG happening next week).
1 - My Ballet invitation, from Dana & Ben's wedding, was featured on the Bride's Magazine Instagram account. WHAT THE WHAT? I did not submit the invitations in any way, and had no clue in the world that the feature was going to happen. That one feature connected me with so many incredible brides, and really reminded me of why it's so important to always believe that something wonderful could happen at any given moment.
2 - I fell in love with Sincerely, Jackie and my choice to leave my full time job. Truth: I cried for the first three (maybe even longer) months after leaving my full time job. I thought I might have made the biggest mistake of my life. I wasn't sure I would ever feel as appreciated, supported, and needed as I had when I was working as a business coach. For the first few months, I felt lonely, undervalued, and financially stressed. I think it had partly to do with the fact that I left my full time job during the invitation slow season. As busy season approached, and clients started reaching out, all of the pieces began falling into place. Today, after my greatest invitation season yet, I can honestly say my heart is so full and I do not at all regret leaving my full time job. I sincerely love my business and the people I work with every day.
3 - I expanded the Sincerely, Jackie team and made meaningful relationships. After leaving my job, I thought I would never have a "real" coworker experience again. But then I realized that, while I'm not in a traditional office environment, I own this darn business and if I wanted coworkers, I could make it happen! While my new coworkers aren't in the next office or cubicle, they've truly become the pillars of my business and my cheerleaders in life. I hired Angela back in November, and (spoiler alert) began collaborating with Charmaine around the same time. These two women have taught me so much about myself, creativity, life, collaboration, and business.
4 - My days were busy, busy, busy. I took part in 6 styled shoots, created over 16 (WHAT?!) brand new wedding invitation designs, over 40 new non-wedding designs (save the date cards, birth announcements, social party invitations, stationery, etc), created a blogging calendar that I love (even if I had to take a few months off during busy season), and successfully dug my business out of debt. Friends, no wonder I don't remember what I had for breakfast this morning.
5 - I had some of my best client experiences, and I had my very worst client experience, ever. I did not follow my usual contract and payment process and it blew up in my face. I not only learned how the importance of never bending the rules for anybody, but also how to remain graceful while in a low, low place emotionally. Sure, I'm not perfect, and there will be client hiccups in the future, but this one particular client situation was hopefully the worst of the worst, and will never happen again. The silver lining is that the situation allowed me to see new ways to improve my business, to protect myself, and to create a better experience for all of my other incredible clients.
6 - I think I discovered that one of the main purposes of my business is to work with clients in a way where they don't feel like it's purely business. I believe that wedding planning should not feel like a series of business transactions for the bride and groom. Yes, my clients have to sign contracts, pay deposits, formally approve proofs, etc - but my clients are also welcomed into my home studio, have my personal cell phone number in case of emergencies, are showered with gifts and encouragement, and are hugged on the regular. They support my love and passion, and I am here to support them in their invitation experience. It's business, but it sure as heck doesn't need to feel that way.
So there you have it - the last few months have been filled with extreme highs and extreme lows, but the highest peaks have prevailed and I am SO thrilled with where I am right now and what's coming up. Speaking of what's coming up, you might notice some really lovely new things around the website. Come back next week for the official reveal and a special, limited time offer!
Come back every Thursday for a coffee (or tea!) date. During our coffee dates, I let my hair down and chat a bit more personally about whatever's on my mind, as if we were old friends catching up over a cup of java at the local coffee house. See you next week!