Our business baby turned three this week! On April Fools Day to be exact, which I kind of love, feels lucky for some reason. Craig and I are pretty terrible about getting in front of the camera but we decided to get some photos of us in the workshop. We had some brand burns to do and I suppose an excuse to put on some makeup isn't the worse thing in the world (but please note: I would seriously never put on makeup before getting in the workshop. It's dusty AF and I'm usually sweaty. Such a glamourous life…) I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the last year, personally of course but also on the blog, and weirdly these words just starting flying into the forefront of my mind. I'd like to talk about them if you have a moment to listen.
SACRIFICE - There isn't an adult on the planet that does not experience sacrifice. It isn't strange. If you are responsible, if you care about your career, if you are tending to a family, if you are making goals for the future, you make sacrifices. I had a few tough ones this year. Committment to work kept me from attending a good friend's wedding. It hurt badly. I really hate disappointing people. But when you own your own business and you literally do not, cannot, take off the business owner hat, there really wasn't a choice. I had to commit to Manofatto or it would have been really detrimental to my success during my busiest time of year. On that note, not for one second prior to starting Manofatto did I truly think about the sacrifices I would make during the holidays. Christmas is heaven to me. I love it so much. The traditions, the magic, the music, the hunt for the perfect gifts. Now Nov 15-Dec 31 is extremely, extremely busy. Most days I feel like a chicken with my head cutoff. It's just so busy and overwhelming.
YEAR 4 GOAL: Insert joyful, calm moments into the holiday work days so I don't forget the purpose of what we're trying to do. Remember that come January 10th when business is slow, I will be begging for it to be mid-December again. Deep down, being busy > not being busy.
FREEDOM - There is no denying the fact that owning your own business means you decide how much you want to work. I'm the creator of the schedule. Of course the workaholic gene passed directly through my Mom and Dad into me, so I work all the time, but I had some moments in the last year of realizing, hey, it's okay to just.take.a.break. It's also the freedom to go to the gym when it's slow, or taking the dog for an hour walk so I can devour a new podcast, or snag the dentist and doctor appointments when no one else can. Or pack up at 2pm to snag that patio spot in the sunshine. This freedom is one I focus on when I'm stressed because I know how lucky I am. It's a true priviledge.
YEAR 4 GOAL: Use the freedom of my schedule to give back to the community. I'm long overdue for some good old fashioned volunteering. I'm all ears for suggestions!
FEAR - There are so many fears. Fear of rejection. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of going down a path or making decisions for the business that are wrong. Fear of underdelivering. Fear of unhappy customers. Fear of not making enough money. Fear of becoming a bad spouse because my mind is constantly on work. Fear of not getting bigger, faster.
YEAR 4 GOAL: Be less afraid. Mistakes are literally the only way you grow. Make wiser financial choices to lesson the burden of money. (That last part is a little worrisome, I don't think there is a way for me to be less stingy… #myfathersdaughter)
LESSONS - Mistakes leading to lessons. Each year I do learn more. However, I recently slapped the wrong label on a package and mailed it to middle of nowhere North Carolina. The shitshow that ensued to reroute the package was beyond painful, costly, and time consuming. I actually realized that FedEx has some faulty areas of their own. I will never, ever make that mistake again because I went through the process of experiencing it. I've also gotten to a point where I can say no. I think every small business owner reaches this in his or her own time, and it is a bit of a lightning bolt. I am responsible for the integrity of Manofatto and what we make. I am not in the business of giving things away for free. Or lowering my prices to accommodate someone's request to the point where I cannot make money. Or letting someone customize a product so far away from what we do that it's no longer something I'd claim as my work. I never want to turn anyone away. Why? Because it's hard to say no to business, and I want people to like me, and I want to send Manofatto's into the world, but there are times when I have to say no. And it's not so terrible to do so.
YEAR 4 GOAL: Don't make the same mistakes twice. Listening leads to lessons. Make more coffee/wine dates with mentors and local vendors. Learn from each other. Keep the integrity.
PURPOSE - I'm getting old. You can't get old and not think about your life's purpose, your immortality, and the things you leave behind. Work is an enormous part of my life, it consumes my everyday really, so I better make it alive with purpose. Everyday, I curate boxes to make someone's day better. It's little, but maybe not really that little. I recently listened to a podcast which talked about how we can break our choices into two categories - does the choice bring you and others happiness, or does it bring you and others suffering? I feel committed to the purpose of Manofatto, which is to bring people happiness, to surprise and delight, to make their day better. It's simple, but I really mean it and I really like doing it. I even had a few clients tell me recently that by sending Manofatto boxes to their customers, it improved the shaky relationship they had had and improved the quality of their exchanges and business dealings from that moment on. What a win. I'll toast to that.
YEAR 4 GOAL: Stay true to the purpose. Choose happiness. Spread happiness. Do esteemable acts. Make something beautiful. Make a stranger's day better.
From the bottom of my heart (and Craig's too), thank you for supporting Manofatto for 3 whole years. We are honored to have the ability to keep doing this work and look forward to the next 3.
with love // katelyn