It’s hard to believe it has been seven years since the birth of JAM. As the milestone of our seventh year approaches, I felt the need to press pause to reflect on my why and share some reflections on the ethos of JAM. I hope you enjoy learning more about the backstory and my reflections on life and my business, because, at the end of the day, it’s all contingent on my amazing clients – without them, this story would be left untold.
While there were a plethora of reasons that I decided to enter the world of entrepreneurship, my number one priority had nothing to do with business at all. The truth is my high-level corporate career did not allow me to be as accessible and available for my two sons as I wanted to be. At the time I made the leap, they were twelve and eight. Little did I know what was in store for all of us…
Reflections on the Past Seven Years As An Entrepreneur
- No amount of preparation truly prepared me for my first year as an entrepreneur. Like a new parent, I did not truly know what to expect when I opened my business. Just like parenting, there are, of course, thousands of books set on helping you navigate the complex world of business ownership and all the levels of responsibility and challenge that come with it. There is a need for mastery of the operations as well as the emotional side of things. Although I had the experience and the know-how, I was often surprised in these early days by the long days and late nights, the stress of the uncertainty and the learning curves that were only conquered through trial and error. While many of the things were extremely hard in the beginning, the rewards, alternatively, offered so much more than I had ever imagined.
- Sometimes I still have to pinch myself. Even after seven years, I still revel in the amazing fact that I get to do what I LOVE. When I was growing up, I dreamed of becoming a designer, but it seemed like such a pie-in-the-sky idea that was not practical or attainable. For whatever reason, I put that in the category of saying that I wanted to be a movie star or superstar athlete. I pursued more practical careers that never truly felt right. When I gave myself permission to call myself a creative, a strategist and an artist, I embarked on this new path that led me to heights that I never imagined. When I say new heights I mean that both literally and figuratively – check out my trip last year to the Shanghai Tower.
- The example I’m setting may make the world a better place. No matter the heights (again, pun intended) I have achieved, the greatest gift of owning a business has been relative to my kids. They have had to observe the demands and challenges that come with being an entrepreneur, the freedoms it awards us as a family and, in some cases, the sacrifices success requires. Just like any other parent, I want to mold my kids into good humans to benefit the world they enter. As a business owner, I feel strongly that this example in action pushes the wheel forward positively for the world we all live in. There are a multitude of lessons my kids could only have learned by watching me grow JAM.
- My community gets credit too. It takes more than luck and hard work to succeed in creating a viable business. As the saying goes, it takes a village. The support I find in my community has had a huge impact on JAM’s success. Every relationship plays an important role – from my dedicated and patient husband who unwaveringly supports my goals and picks up the slack when deadlines loom to client dynamics to creative and production service providers to the friend that you call when you need a little inspiration. Every person makes a difference.
As my oldest son embarks on his second year of college, my youngest heads toward his sophomore year of high school and my business hits the seven-year milestone, I’m taking a moment to reflect on all of our collective experiences, insights and accomplishments. As I take it all in, I am left with a feeling of awe, optimism and accomplishment. And most of all, gratitude.