Three years old and ‘Happy most of the time’
Well, that year went quickly – Creative Cadence is three years old today! Whilst we celebrate by consuming copious amounts of cake, we thought we’d ponder the challenges of being a three year old* …
*(How the Gesell Institute Book “Your Three-Year-Old” characterises the qualities of a three year old child.”)
‘Happy most of the time.’
Describes the past year pretty accurately! Running your own thing, you’re happy when the going is good and unhappy when it’s not. Luckily, the going has been good ‘most of the time’. Happier now I’ve got through the ‘crucial first two years’ people talk about. I also think it’s only after three years you really start to settle and find out who you like working with, who your ideal customers are and you’ve got some of the systems nutted down. Yes, I still cry if something hurts, but it’s getting less often now! And, no, I still wouldn’t work for someone else, given the choice (people keep asking me more and more!)
‘Loves new words.’
I’ve continued to write blog posts and had more comments and interest over the past year. I’ve also tried to be more realistic with this, just setting myself the task of writing one per month. Why break your back trying to do more, if it becomes less enjoyable? I’ve also been asked to write my first guest blog post this year, which, whilst small in relative terms, I felt was a real step forwards.
‘Sure of him/herself.’
After three years in business, I’ve obviously made a few mistakes and learnt from them. But, the longer I run the business, create design that people and businesses love and see the value in, the more confident I get. Three years in, it’s still a tough place to be, and every day is a challenge … but I’m standing more assuredly on my own two feet and stumbling over less!
‘Tries to meet and understand social demands.’
One of the many things I like about running this business is being able to meet and work with such a breadth of different people and businesses – be they clients or suppliers or partners. Yes, I’ve tried some networking and knowledge sharing groups and decided not to go back, but I’ve also tried others this past year and stuck with them and enjoyed what they have to bring to my ever-continuing learning. (I try to attend Bristol Bath Marketing Network and Bristol Content Group when I can).
‘Expresses affection readily.’
Working alone for the majority of the time, I find that social media provides a welcome platform to build professional relationships on, but can also provide my ‘office banter’ and ‘water cooler’ moments. I have followers on Twitter and connections on LinkedIn who I rarely meet (some I’ve never met) but I regard now as friends. I’ve learnt that sharing and commenting on social media helps to cement these relationships, builds trust and can lead to referrals. I can also ‘share the pain’ with business owners and creatives who are in a similar situation as myself.
‘Clings less at bedtime and may go to sleep better.’
Any business owner will have the odd sleepless night every now and then. I still have sleepless nights occasionally, or, more truthfully, trouble getting to sleep. This past year I’ve tried to worry less by making sure I always have a ‘to-do’ list at the end of each day, ready for the next day. I use Evernote for this, which I can access & continually sync via my smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. If I remember something in the evening I need to add to the list, I can do so easily – leaving me to not worry about it and grab some well-earned zeds.
‘Approaches adults with requests for help or information.’
The later half of my ‘third year’ has seen me enrol on a year-long course with the good folks at Watertight Marketing. This is giving a real push to the business on a month-by-month basis – building up to some real ‘roll my sleeves-up’ tasks to hopefully help deliver long term sales results going forwards. The course is providing another community of people and like-minded business owners, with help on tap from trusted marketeers. We can all share our pain-points and gee each other along. New work has also emerged from this community – a fantastic added bonus.
‘Temper tantrums decline.’
With more confidence and more new leads comes (slightly) less stress, which in turns leads to greater resilience when things do go wrong. Okay, so I’ve not exactly reached ‘zen’ levels of calm, but I’m not throwing my toys out of the nursery quite so often!
If you’re at a similar ‘toddler’ age of business, it would be great to hear your thoughts. Do any of these points ring true or do you disagree with this three-year old’s behaviour?