What a difference a year makes!
One year ago today I drove home from loosing my corporate marketing job of 11 years with a tear in my eye, knots in my stomach...and a smile in my heart! I hadn't been happy for a long time and certainly didn't feel like I was doing my best work, so in a sense, I was looking at this as an opportunity to do something more meaningful. But, although I knew I could soon find another role working for the competition, I couldn't imagine another 20 years in the rat race. I wanted more from my career, for myself, my family and my future. I wanted to follow my passion and over the years watched many co-workers lose their jobs and move on to fulfilling roles as entrepreneur's or working for a company that did something meaningful with their millions.
The next day my husband and I got on a plane for a long weekend in the Bahamas, a pre-planned 10th Anniversary celebration. I sat on the beach thinking about the opportunities that lay ahead and could only see my life getting better. I decided right then that it was now or never to take the plunge and follow my dream to start my own Interior Design business. The next several months that followed I completed my Interior Design Diploma, joined the Canadian Decorator's Association, developed a business plan, created my own website, joined Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, started this blog, and posted my sign up on as many Design website directories as I could find.... and wonderful things started to happen!
I learned Google Analytics and saw traffic coming to my website and blog - people I didn't even know! Whereas I used to have someone tell me the stats of our latest campaigns, I was now doing it myself and getting back to my Marketing roots. I met some amazing people - fellow designers willing to share stories and references; entrepreneurs living on the same start-up rollercoaster I was; suppliers and vendors that also love what they do and wanted to help me succeed by providing unique solutions as I needed them. My new Village was being built and it was good!
I found that true friendships stand the test of time and that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I have built incredible relationships over the years with the gang back at Corporate and these are the people that get me through tough days and share my successess with genuine support and pride.
I've discovered a lot about myself and what I'm capable of when I put my mind to it. I've learned how to learn again and how much more critical marketing, planning & time managment are to a small business. I have a great support network of business colleagues that are always happy to take the time to work through a problem and respond graciously when I ask a stupid question. As I continue to build my supplier list, the level of excellence, quality and customer service builds also.
I want to say Thank You to all the great people in my life who inspire, motivate, encourage, promote, and lift me up when I need it. And, to the wonderful clients who trust me to bring them beautiful spaces that will enrich their lives, I couldn't continue to be creative everyday without you - I appreciate the friendships we are building as well as your business.
As I look to the next year I am hopeful, excited, optimistic, and a little scared, but grateful that I get to do what I love everyday and I look forward to what lies ahead!