When I set out on this journey 2019 seemed so far away, I thought that I’d never make it. I had lofty goals and set the bar high for myself for my first year in business, so I took a moment to reflect about this past year and look at some of the highs and lows.
West End is closing out 2018 with 54 client projects. (Holy S@*#!) When I set off I had a goal of 20 in order to make financial ends meet. I was sick to my stomach and so nervous that I wouldn’t make it. It’s been a ton of hard work, long hours, luck, and the people I’ve surrounded myself with that give me unlimited encouragement and collaboration. That last statement was an understatement but I can’t really put into words how much of a whirlwind it is until you do it.
We’ve grown out of our home office rather quickly, and set our sites on opening a studio downtown. I’m sure my husband will be ecstatic that there are no longer tile samples scattered through out the house. We also have 3 part time employees! One of the things I learned right away was trying to do everything myself was impossible. Brining on help was one of the best decisions I made this year.
Along with all the good, there was also some bad. I’ve learned to call bad situations learning experiences, because they are just that. We aren’t going to make the same mistake twice - and as we are flailing through our first year of business it’s okay to make mistakes. All the experience in the world working for someone else wouldn’t have prepared me for owning a business. We’ve learned what works in terms of our contracts and payment, we’ve formed relationships with those business who are like minded in our philosophy, and left those behind who fell short. We’ve said no to projects that didn’t feel 100% the right fit, after learning that trying to make them work is not worth it.
I was thinking one day while walking Milo on how to describe what opening a business felt like, and I came up with something along the lines of:
Its like jumping off a bridge and learning to fly and then hitting the water. Then learning how to swim and reaching land. Then you have to learn how to walk, but you realize you’re alone on a remote island LOL. Well, at-least sometimes it feels like that.
On top of trying to master the business side of it, I’ve pushed myself and the team to think outside the box when it comes designing everyone’s spaces. I’ve consistently been sourcing new tiles, fixtures, lighting, and hardware in order to not source the same thing for different projects. We’ve been blessed with some clients who have given us the green light to some really unique ideas that have turned out fabulous.
Looking forward into 2019 we I’ve set some new goals into place. We are getting the studio in gear o open early in the year. I’m looking forward to finding the balance of being open to the public, but also having a space to spread out and work with all our materials in plain sight. I am messy by nature so that should be an interesting combination. Concentrating on not growing too fast and making sure our systems are in place to accept and successfully manage all the projects that come our way. Sometimes I like to say yes to everything thinking I am a super woman but in reality I can’t spread ourselves too thin. Finding that perfect balance will be something to master in 2019.
We have our first trade show in 2019 and will be traveling to Vegas to attend KBIS. Hoping to bring back all sorts of goodies!
Personally, it’s been quite a year as well. I got married! Wooo! I’ve been lucky to travel almost every month working remotely. When I set off into business I defined my success as work-life balance and whenever I get too stressed I remind myself of that. Looking forward to a beautiful 2019, thanks for all who have been along on the journey.