5 Years of STORY SPARK and 5 Things We Learned
When you blink, time has gone by. When you cry or laugh, moments of tears or happiness have gone by. When you give your attention to an activity, you are giving all of yourself: mind, sight, and body. I did not realize this until I looked up and wham, five whole years have gone by since we started STORY SPARK.
During this journey, we are soo very thankful to every single person we have met. These conversations have encouraged us to do better and to better serve our customers and community. Hopefully by sharing our insights, this can help others who want to embark on the entrepreneurial journey. Some useful advice I heard along the way was: it's you who have the desire to make the trip, so if you don't take the first steps – who will?
There were plenty of days (and even during this quarantine time) that I didn't feel like talking about the business or even thinking about it. At first, I thought it was ok to do so and just give yourself a break since the world is in a pandemic anyway. However, I realized that the lazy part of my brain got stronger as I skipped one day to the next of doing absolutely nothing...which may be ok for those who can jump back in but for me it got harder to stay disciplined once I went down that path. The negative voice strengthened until I remembered why I am doing this and each time that we would hear from one of our customers, it was a reminder to look for a silver lining and get back into focus.
2. Set goals
Whether it's a budget that deals with finances or spiritual milestones, setting a goal for your business helps a lot. Writing down long-term goals provides guard rails for each decision you make about the business. Long-term thinking is envisioning what the business will look like in 10 years. At first I thought it was silly to plan that far ahead but seeing how fast 5 years went by, 10 years will come regardless if you planned for it or not.
3. Work together
You may know, Alex and I founded STORY SPARK. Being business partners can sometimes be a challenge since both of us are emotionally invested in it. However, listening to each other's ideas sometimes feels easier than providing feedback. Learning how to communicate with each other is always ongoing and setting boundaries also helps.
4. Work on both creative AND business sides
There's a saying that you have to work ON the business not just IN the business. I interpret this as a need to do a pulse check on both the creative and business sides. Asking ourselves as creatives, are we doing enough to stay productive, and on the other hand are we taking steps to reach more people? This is a tough juggling act, yet both sides need just as much attention as the other.
5. Enjoy the process
Sometimes the paint doesn't dry fast enough to see if this is the painting that we wanted to create. But take a moment and realize that there is value in taking the time to paint it. However way success is defined, we are thankful that both of us have taken the first step. It's not quite the time to look back entirely but just enough to know that what we have created is worth it.
Thank you again for your time to read this. The road is not always paved but the adventure on it is all yours. Let's keep going!