Happy New-ish Year!
Things around here have been a bit quieter than usual because big things are underway behind the scenes…
A year and a half ago, when Branch launched, I had no idea what to expect. I was traveling around the world with The Blogcademy, had recently quit all outside agency work and was ready to give this new business everything I had. I brought on a handful of family and friends to handle everything from web development to bookkeeping to errands so I could focus on the big picture…though to be completely honest, I wasn’t quite sure what that big picture actually was.
I figured that for the first year, I’d show up fully every single day and see what unfolded. With the amount of determination I had to make the business a success, I knew only good things could happen. Well, bad things could happen too, but I wouldn’t dwell on those. 😉
In the first year, we opened nearly 100 projects. Some were small; an e-newsletter template. Some were large; a website for a real life princess. And through it all, I quietly took notes in my head. What I wanted Branch to have more of and what I wanted us to cut back on. Where I was doing a good job as a boss and creative and where I dropped the ball.
It was intense. Weekdays flowed into weekends. A day off was a luxury. But, if you want to grow a business enough to hand off tasks, you have to understand what it takes to get them done first. As a boss, it’s important to understand what it’s like to be on the other side. It’s about having compassion and forgiveness when things don’t go as planned. Nobody wants to be micro-managed. Have you heard the sentiment that the best learning happens on the job? Truer words have never been spoken.
The not-so-secret secret is that when Branch launched, there wasn’t any time to make everything perfectly polished. That was for the best, anyway — perfection is a form of procrastination. I returned from a trip to Greece….and 10 days later, I would be boarding another flight to LA. In those 10 days, Branch needed to launch. I had no backup plan — it was all or nothing. So I designed most of the site in roughly two days while Star coded it. I wrote the copy in another day. Shot the header photos the day before the site went live. It wasn’t about being perfect. In fact, it was far from it. This was an exercise in throwing perfection out the window, launching and learning. It did the trick. One week after launch, we were booked for a month solid. A month later, we were booked three months out.
The overhaul I’d planned for our website never happened…because the work never slowed down. What a welcome “problem” to have! The biggest benefit of working nonstop for a year was that it allowed me to figure out the voice and style of Branch. Each new client and project brought along a new perspective. What was fuzzy at first slowly solidified. New copy started to flow. Collaborations with photographers started to happen.
Armed with new insight, new ideas and an arsenal of new projects to share, the Branch website redesign is finally underway. The slower pace over here has allowed me the space to map out our plans to revamp the site, the media kit and the voice of the company. It’s all happening. But as you know, good things take time. The roll-out will happen slowly over the next few months…and I’ll be keeping you updated along the way.
Thanks for joining us — it’s been a wild ride and while creating for yourself is one of the biggest challenges, it’s also the most rewarding.
I hope your year is wildly productive and inspiring. There’s a lot more to talk about here — plans, products, insights, and exclusive content we’re pulling together just for you. But that will all have to wait a little longer…because work is calling.
More soon! -Shauna
Photo: Urban Safari.