As Kyle and I approach our the first anniversary of making FML our full-time gig, we've been experiencing many emotions: accomplishment, awe, anticipation, excitement, hope, and a little fear. Even in such a short period of time, the business that we started has evolved into a different – and better – version of itself. Change is necessary for growth, but as we've grown it has become apparent just how much our business has changed.
When we drafted our business plan over one year ago at a quaint wine bar in Manhattan, we wrote out the vision, mission and values; eleven months in – with tons of content created and two magazines under our belt – it was time to revisit the ethos of our company. First things first, you may have noticed that we've changed the M in FML from Marketing to Media. This change was born out of realizing that what we planned to do was ultimately only a small piece of what we would actually end up doing. Finding our niche allowed us to better understand our strengths and capabilities, as well as our limitations.
Here are three lessons from our first year that we hope to bring into year two:
1. Find balance- When you're solely responsible for your business, it can seem like there's no such thing as free nights and weekends. It's easy to get caught up in working constantly, which can lead to burnout. Use tools like time blocking and calendar management to hold yourself accountable to a schedule and remember to make time for exercise, meals, rest, and quality time with your friends and family. Not only will you be healthier and happier, but you'll avoid setting a dangerous precedent with your clients that you are always available.
2. Stay flexible- If opportunities present themselves that are outside of your intended wheelhouse, consider if it is worth it to expand your capabilities. If clients are consistently seeking a different service from you than the one you offer, ask yourself if you're offering the correct product or service. If something you thought you'd be willing to do suddenly seems like a waste of time or resources, stop doing it. Understand your market and constantly seek ways to improve your business; change leads to growth and growth leads to change.
3. Be aware- There will be challenges. Often, the same challenges will present themselves time and time again. Pay careful attention to the actions that continually lead to frustrating circumstances and invest the effort into achieving a different outcome. On the flip-side, take note of actions that lead to positive outcomes and repeat them! Many of the most annoying problems have incredibly easy solutions – you only have to be open to finding them.
Do you have any tips of your own you'd like to share? Leave them in the comments below.