This week marks the three year anniversary of opening our retail shop and I can honestly say that I've learned so much during that time. I thought I'd share a few of the lessons.
Humility: I have been humbled by this business. I have have been exalted by the happiness that we have brought into people's lives, the good that we've done in our neighborhood, our community, and in individual lives. And I have learned that for all these highs, there are so many lows to balance things out. There have been times where I have been brought so low by the pressures of the day to day operations and all that goes with running a business that I've been in actual tears. And for each of those moments, I've realized that owning a business is a struggle and a fight, every day.
Friendship: I have made friends in this job that I would never have expected. Customers who I have come to call friends and brothers. I've met so many like-minded individuals who understand the struggle to own their own business, have the freedom to exercise their creativity and ideas and still survive, and know the joys that go with that struggle. I'm so thankful for all of these friends.
Employees: I've had the pleasure to work with many great folks at the shop. Some who are now a part of my family in many ways. And, I've had the flipside to that as well. I've learned that good help, as the saying goes, is hard to find. And, beyond that, good help that cares is even harder to find. When you find them, keep them. Keep them close, and do everything you can to make them understand how much you need and appreciate them. As for those that don't help you advance your business, don't waste time on them. Don't be afraid to cut ties when it's needed. It's hard, especially if you're able to see the good in everyone, but, there's no need to keep people that don't help your business.
Hard Work: Simply put, it takes a ton of hard work to make a business work. It is not the freedom that most people think it is. It is a commitment to an idea and in the case of select lucky people, it's a commitment to a passion. That passion becomes the most driving force in your life. It becomes difficult to turn it off. You hear an email come in on your phone at 11:00 pm, you immediately look at it and respond. You work till 2:00 in the morning on a regular basis. You can't stop thinking about the business and start comparing your business to everyone else's. You go to dinner and think how you would do things differently, and better. And you run the risk of ostracizing those around you. Which brings me to the last and most important thing:
Family: There are those people who make it possible to follow your dream. And they aren't all related by blood, but some are, and they are the ones that may not understand your dream, but they believe in your passion, your will, and overall, you. These people will move heaven and earth to make your dream succeed. Whatever that means. It's hard, but, simply put, acknowledge and nurture those relationships.
I've learned so