29 Jun 5 Years of Something Beautiful
Today a Facebook notification popped up, “Your Memories on Facebook”, dated June 28, 2012:
“Tomorrow is my last day working in book publishing, after eight wonderful years. Thanks to all of those who shared it with me: it was never well paid, often absurd but always fun – you guys were awesome”.
I often wonder what it is about me that didn’t work in a corporate space and why I never progressed much. I suppose I chopped and changed roles and companies many times, learning as I went, meeting amazing people, but there was something about my career that always made me feel stifled and frustrated. Like I was just swimming the race, never really excelling.
But then I had my first child and suddenly everything changed as far as priorities went. I didn’t want to sit at my desk and clock watch, when I’d done all my work and my baby girl was waiting for me at home. I didn’t want to add to the stress of a sick child by having to apologise to my boss and take time off work to go to the doctor. I felt like I had skills and experience that simply weren’t being used. And so I jumped.
Black Mountain started out with one client, who happened to be my husband’s business (that had also just started out!). I don’t really know how we afforded things as a couple but we were relatively young, renting our flat in Joburg and keeping bills to a minimum.
In terms of our business plans, we didn’t overthink it, Catherine and I. We just did our best work, kept trying, kept pitching, kept networking and very slowly, the work started to trickle in. We over delivered on most things, because we wanted our work to be perfect and we wanted people to leave their experience with us knowing they’d received quality work.
Every piece of work got 100% of our attention, got edited multiple times and only sent through when we felt it was absolutely perfect (this still happens by the way, we’ve just got faster at working!). We put the hours in. When there was no work to do, we were thinking about how to get new work, or brainstorming ways to find new business, or thinking of industries we wanted to approach. Or we were giving clients the odd marketing idea, or social media strategy – thinking of ways they could use our content to make it work harder for them.
We’ve learned so much in five years. We’ve got more selective about the projects and clients we work with, because we know what works for us and what just doesn’t. We’ve learned our worth though, and the value we add, and although this applies to our work and to our company I think I can honestly say that it applies to me personally too. I’ve got confidence now that I never had and owning my own business has allowed me (us) to shine.
So here’s to more than tripling my salary. Getting to be the master of my own time. Taking a holiday when I want. Being my own boss. Here’s to celebrating five years of growth. And the something beautiful that blossomed.