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

Let’s chat (about small business life, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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50 Years of Satisfaction: How You Can Learn From The ‘Stones

On a recent visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, I was reminded how amazing the Rolling Stones are. They’re still rocking 50 years later and are as relevant as ever. While browsing the two-floor 50 Years of Satisfaction exhibit, I started thinking about how successful of a business venture the band — and brand — is. What can we learn from these legendary rock stars?

the Rolling Stones brand

It’s All About The Brand — In 1962, these aspiring musicians didn’t just seek to form a band; they wanted a defining brand. Yes, they love making music, but Mick, Keith & co also understood the business side of creating and promoting a successful brand as they grew… and grew. Today, the iconic red tongue is as recognizable as the Nike swoosh and McDonald’s golden arches.

Image

Adapt (& Improvise) To Survive — 50 years is a long time to be relevant. The band has adapted throughout the years by adjusting its sound without losing its identity, especially as band members have come and gone. They’ve also followed their instincts and pursued opportunities that felt right, even when they went against the grain. Today, they’ve embraced social media and the digital landscape to connect and promote. How can you improvise to survive and thrive?

Mick enjoying a little "reading"

Stay True To Yourself — The trick to adapting is to remain true to yourself. The Stones are the Stones, like them or not. They hit the scene as the bad boys of rock when it was anything but popular. As they’ve dropped the drugs and hit late middle age, their music has followed. Their lyrics speak of their current lives and experiences, which fans appreciate and identity with.

The Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction

Remain In Control — They’ve experimented, argued, taken changes and closed deals, but they’ve always remained in control of their band and brand. While the Stones have no problem working with business managers, partners and companies, they always have final say over projects and products that bear their name. Keep that in mind as you approach new opportunities.

So there you have it… How the Rolling Stones have survived and thrived in a cut-throat, fast-moving, trend-driven industry. Oh, and some amazing music, legendary live shows and fabulous albums, too.

Open Mic

Are you a Stones fan?

What else have you learned from the Rolling Stones or other performers?

Have you used ideas from other industries to improve your business or brand?

Who’s your favorite musical act of all time?

All photos taken at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH 

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,
Jaime

You Can’t Always Get What You Want… but you can connect with CCC:
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