Monday, March 10, 2008

Signs of Success

My favorite life coach, Valerie Burton, had an interesting thought in her newsletter today as she spoke about the signs of Spring:

It's encouraging to notice the little signs that what you want is on the way - it reminds you that you are moving forward even when it sometimes feels as though the season you are in will last forever. It is very easy to ignore the little signs, but when you do you miss the beauty of transformation as it occurs. My guess is that your life is in a process of change right now - whether in a relationship, your finances or health, your work or spiritual life. There are changes you are making, and sometimes it feels as though the change isn't coming fast enough!

This week, I challenge you not only to notice the ways in which you need to practice patience, but also the ways in which you need to embrace the process. In our world of quick-fix makeovers and instant gratification, we have lost our appreciation for the journey. There is something to appreciate at every stage of your journey.

So I took a moment to consider this in terms of my business. My partner and I were talking on Saturday as Mr. T and I headed to our accountant to drop off some needed info. (I don't think I've named my partner in any way yet, huh? How about Bizzy Girl? Works for me on two levels!) So Bizzy Girl and I were just so enthused by the accountant. He came to one of my business meetings. I liked the way he spoke. I told Bizzy Girl and we set up a meeting with him. Bizzy Girl loved him too. Now Village Works has an accountant and we give him our personal taxes too since they go hand in hand. Mr. T. likes him as well so the accountant is a hit on all fronts.

Bizzy Girl does our finances - and very well, I might add, though she's always thinking she's lacking - so she took him the info she had compiled. Accountant was pleased with her work, as I knew he would be.

"I feel so legit now," Bizzy Girl gushed.

"I know," I gushed back. "Even with the LLC, it's only now that things feel on the up and up."

This is one of those signs Valerie spoke of. When I stop to think of our signs of progress, I think not only of our wonderful accountant but also:

1 - our lawyer
2 - becoming an LLC 2 1/2 years ago
3 - our 7 artists - 4 of whom are people NOT related to us in some way
4 - being able to pinpoint the ACTUAL cost to produce our greeting card puzzles
5 - being able to tell a quick story of how we got started the same way every time (not as easy as you'd think and it's a long story too)
6 - turning our logo into something that says puzzles
7 - finding a real talent to handle our website (though we can't pay the price too often right now so the site isn't as updated as I'd like it to be)
8 - getting into the right kind of store, even if we are paying to be there
9 - having set up a fundraiser program
10 - having finally organized my office so I can think straight and I know what I really do and don't have (now to get the computer files re-sorted)
11 - Mr. T. not putting up a fight when I tell him that whatever money we get back from taxes that is due to my having a business, is money that gets invested back into the business. And for his never complaining about my time away from home, either.

When we started, we both liked puzzles (OK, I loved them) but we had never thought about what it took to make them. Now we understand what it takes, though is always something to learn, and we are able to realistically focus on the marketing of the puzzles and the growth of business and not get tripped up by those pesky production issues that need to be ironed out before you can even give someone a quote.

So far we can honestly guarantee that the recipients of our puzzles will be happy because so far we haven't had a complaint. People tend to come back with the biggest smiles on their faces, especially the custom clients. It's just better than they anticipated, they say. And that gives us the incentive to keep pushing until we find out niche. We know it's out there. For now, we'll take the little signs of progress and wait until it's our turn to blossom.

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