5 Years In: Life as a Small Business Owner

Something crazy happened this week: CCC celebrated its 5th anniversary. In the midst of client projects and deadlines, I almost missed it — which is so appropriate. It was just another day in what has become my life as a small business owner.

We're celebrating 5 years in business!

When I started this journey, I never thought I’d get here. Sure, I made plans and thought about where I — and my business — would be in five years, but to be honest, none of it was real. There was too much treading water just trying to stay afloat.

Looking back, I’ve learned a few things and will continue to do so every day. That’s part of the process, one that I enjoy.

Here are five lessons I’ve learned in five years as a small business owner:

  • This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done — and my greatest accomplishment (to date). Finishing my first half-marathon is a close second, but the daily grind of starting and building my own business has permanently changed me. It’s challenged me beyond my wildest dreams, and shown me what I’m capable of. You can read and plan all you want (and you should), but until you jump in, it’s hard to imagine.

An Omnipresent View? The Life of a Small Business Owner

  • You have to learn to say no. Your time is your most valuable commodity, especially because you probably won’t have the money to hire help when you start out. It’s not about missing opportunities or being afraid to take chances; it’s about taking control of your time and your business. Saying yes to everything and everyone will leave you burnt out and likely out of business.

The Power of Saying ‘No’

  • Enjoy the everyday moments. Take time to sip a latte on a patio on a beautiful spring day while brainstorming a blog post or contemplating future business decisions. It may be tough for you to take time off from your business for a long time, so enjoy these moments that relieve stress and sustain you for another day.

Celebrate the Magic in Everyday Moments

  • Be honest — with your clients, prospects and yourself. It may be uncomfortable, but it will benefit all involved in the long run. As difficult as some situations may be, try to step back and take a look at the bigger picture. If you’re not best suited to help a prospect, refer him to another company. If you’re continually running into issues with a client, have an honest (yet professional) conversation. It will either spur changes or an end to the relationship, which may be for the best. Long-term, mutually beneficial relationships cannot be built on lies and half-truths — in business or in life.

A Look Back: 4 Lessons Learned in 4 Years as an Entrepreneur

  • Stay true to why you started your business. It can be difficult to remember your vision as you get bogged down in day-to-day activity, start to grow or deal with a catastrophe. Whether you create a vision board or have an image burned into your mind, keep it front and center. Remembering why you started the business can help you make decisions and decide which opportunities to pursue.

It’s been fun looking back on the last five years this week, which have been an incredible journey. Right now, there’s more work to do, but maybe I’ll be able to sip a latte on a patio this weekend to celebrate this special milestone in CCC’s story.

Thanks to everyone for your support!

Starting chapter six,
Jaime

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Curiosity // by Alastair Reid

Curiosity

by Alastair Reid

Curiosity may have killed the cat; more likely

the cat was just unlucky, or else curious

to see what death was like, having no cause

to go on licking paws, or fathering

litter on litter of kittens, predictably.

Face It.

FACE IT. Curiosity

will not cause us to die —

only lack of it will.

Never to want to see

the other side of the hill

or that improbable country

where living is an idyll

(although a probable hell)

would kill us all.

Only the curious

have, if they live, a tale

worth telling at all.

Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,

are changeable, marry too many wives,

desert their children, chill all dinner tables

with tales of their nine lives.

Well, they are lucky.

Well, they are lucky.

Let them be

nine-lived and contradictory,

curious enough to change, prepared to pay

the cat price, which is to die

and die again and again,

each time with no less pain.

A cat minority of one

is all that can be counted on

to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell

on each return from hell

is this: that dying is what the living do,

that dying is what the loving do,

and that dead dogs are those who do not know

that dying is what, to live, each has to do.

*****

I’m not typically into poetry — writing it or reading it. But this poem caught my eye in high school and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s graced a wall (printed out on tie-dyed paper) at various stops along the way and always has a prominent place in my mind.  

What do you think?

What does this poem say to you?

Chime in with your thoughts!

Cheers,
Jaime

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What makes you smile?

I’m sitting here polishing my toenails while making updates to my website and a squirrel just ran across my windowsill, stopping to peer in. (Don’t feed the humans!) I realized that I was smiling despite the damage that the little critters can cause.

What makes you smile?

Sometimes a midst the frustration and minor annoyances of day to day life, it helps to take a step back and remember what makes you smile. Then seek out those things, however small, so you smile more and more. It’s amazing what it does for your mood!

Here are some things that make me smile!

my Starbucks #sipface

Showing off my Starbucks #sipface while enjoying some espresso on a beautiful day.

after a day of trail running

I ❤ trail running (and a little mud)!

hitting my goal in the Akron half-marathon

In my 3rd half-marathon, I hit my goal (with the help of my blue toenail polish)!

relaxing on the beach

Soaking in the rays on Hilton Head Island…

I'm contemplating life

Just another day in the life…

Now it’s your turn –> what makes you smile?

Drop your list in the comments below or share your blog post link. I’m looking forward to your responses. Enjoy the weekend, and remember to smile!

Cheers,
Jaime

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