When it rains, it pours.
We’ve had some much-needed and seriously epic rainfall here in Southern California this year. On Valentine’s Day, the rain was was harder than any time in recent memory and our roof started to leak. The water came in through our bedroom ceiling and started dripping right onto our bed.
Though our whether has been atypical of San Diego, it’s felt strangely fitting for lives these days.
We’ve weathered some crazy storms
These past seven weeks have been incredibly difficult in many ways. It’s felt like the clouds and the rain have dominated not just the weather forecast, but our lives as well. We’ve struggled to build our internal systems and find our rhythm as a team of two, while confronting the the all-too-real prospect of having too little work to support a two-person business.
Of course our roof would leak right now. It’s a reminder that life can be cruel and unrelenting, with the worst of surprises at the worst of times.
Oh, also, I got a flat tire that couldn’t be repaired last week and guess what? When you have a Subaru with all-wheel-drive, you need to purchase an entire new set of tires if one of them can’t be repaired. So I got the new tires put on and you know what happened the next day, another flat! (I’m off to Costco to get it repaired after I finish this post.)
And I almost forgot, our kitchen faucet started leaking into the cupboards below the sink this past weekend too. I’m going to replace it myself, so wish me luck.
We’ve seen brilliant rays of sunlight
But it hasn’t been all doom and gloom. There have been a few warm and sunny days these past two months. That’s nothing notable for San Diego in January or February, but it’s felt much more special than the good weather we normally take for granted.
Those sunny days have come to symbolize our hard-earned victories, and there have been several:
We won our first client together
We had a phone call with a local event planner who hadn’t invested in her website in nearly 15 years. It went well, except when it came to pricing and scope of work. I had quoted her our normal project minimum, which included more help than she needed at a price she wasn’t too keen about.
You see, she’s in a unique situation in which she’s winding down her business, but still needs to look like an expert to the few, select clients she takes on.
When we got off the phone, Daniella helped me realize what a poor job I had done listening to her needs. (Sidenote: Listening is really hard and you can suck at it even after being in business for yourself for 10+ years.)
With Daniella’s help we came up with a plan that would work for her needs and budget. Something that would turn the situation to a win-win for both of us. We crafted an email with a different scope of work and price point and sent it off to her about an hour after we hung up the phone. The next morning she called us and she was eager to sign up and get going.
This is business I would have lost if I didn’t have Daniella on my side. Probably the first of a lot of business I’d lose without her help. I’m good at a lot of things, I swear, but sales is not one of them.
We have a new and improved process for content strategy
I’ve entrusted Daniella with a lot of communication and content strategy responsibilities because I had complete confidence she’d do an awesome job.
She took my ugly “Content Roadmap” spreadsheet that I had used with clients in the past and turned it into a fully-branded Google Slides doc that is significantly easier for clients to interact with and understand. We’ve used it a couple times thus far with positive results.
In addition to the document itself, she has helped streamline and optimize the process of collecting information from our clients and turning into good, usable content for the web. And this part isn’t rocket science here, but she’s been following up with clients to ensure that the content potion of our projects stays on track. That’s huge, and something I simply didn’t have the resources to do on my own.
This is just one example of how Daniella’s expertise is paying dividends as we begin to explore her transferable skills. We’re only scratching the surface here!
We’re seeing our marketing efforts pay off
If you’re reading this post you probably know we’re trying to market ourselves for the first time ever.
I’m not sure if we’re doing it right.
We’ve been fumbling around on Instagram trying to make sense of a social media platform we’ve ignored for 7 or 8 years. Hopefully we’re not too awkward over there.
More importantly, we’re investing our time in meeting with people face-to-face because it’s absolutely the best way to strengthen relationships and build trust. We learn a lot when we meet with new people too, which helps us do our job even better.
Strangely enough, I think our efforts have actually been working. We’ve talked to more new prospects in the past month than I have three months prior to that.
But we’re not turning down the heat just because we’re seeing results. We know we could be doing even better. We’re going to continue building our brand and refining what it stands for, and promoting it in ways that feel natural to us. And that’s exactly how we’re going to help the people we work with market themselves too.
We’re learning and growing as people, parents, and professionals
I’ve felt more scared, uncomfortable, and challenged this year than any other time running my business. But through this change I’m also growing personally and professionally like never before.
This process needed to happen. Our careers had stagnated and we had put things on cruise control for too long.
Whatever the results, we’re going to end up in a better place than where we came from. The knowledge, skills, and experience we’ll gain on this journey will ensure us of that.
It’s easy to dig yourself a hole. We pretty much did that instantly when Daniella quit her job. The growth happens in how we pull ourselves out of it, and I see more sunny days in the forecast ahead.