I know that I haven’t exactly been absent here on MML this November, but the truth is that certainly haven’t had the time to devote to it that I usually do. In the past (and ideally in the future), I spend up to half of my day working on MML related activities. And in recent weeks, time has been difficult to manage. So given a momentary lull in the chaos, I’d like to sit down now and chat with you about what has been going on in my life.
A lot has changed.
When I think back over the past three months they are a blur of activities, risks, challenges, faithfulness, and blessings for both the business and my personal life. And now I’ll do a quick recap of each of those aspects so you can get a full idea of what has happened. Though this kind of self-reflection may not appeal to some readers, I do think it’s pretty interesting and hopefully inspiring for other entrepreneurs or people going through life changes.
Jess LC – Activities
Right after moving to my new apartment in September I flew out to Denver for speaking about social media with American Express OPEN. I also flew to NYC in October to do a press preview with my PR firm, Red Light PR and introduced Jess LC to magazine editors and stylists. I started reaching out to bloggers to work with over the holidays and prepared for the holiday rush by ordering more raw materials than ever before. These actions though without immediate results, laid the foundation for things to come.
Jess LC – Risks
While doing the activities above, I did not see a significant payoff. Though I had faith that they would result in more exposure and sales, I had no guarantee. I had also extended myself further than ever before in my business career. I took out a credit line for inventory and PR and invested serious money into the business. I was no longer taking things baby step by baby step. I was learning to jump.
Jess LC – Challenges
Then the challenges came. The money I had invested in all of these new endeavors was close to completely maxed out. I was hitting the ceiling of my newborn risk threshold. It was time to readjust my PR strategy (going to a bi-annual outreach rather than a monthly retainer). It was time to reconfigure and reflect on what needed to be done with what little there was in cash flow.
Jess LC – Faithfulness
Once I reached my limit with everything I had laid out for the business since the re-branding in April, it was time to look back and reflect. I had devoted a significant amount of my savings this spring to re-imagining Jess LC. And then gone forward with a line of credit to build the new product lines and take on a serious PR firm in LA/NYC. All of these actions I knew deep in my heart were right. They were what was needed to really get Jess LC to a new level. But at the same time, the difference between last year and this year in numbers was not that striking. Especially when you considered how much more equity was in the business.
So it was time to have faith that it would all pay off. I did the best I could with what I had and it was time to leave the rest up to God/Life/Fate. I could only do so much.
Jess LC – Blessings
Right after flying home from NYC and transitioning my PR strategy to be more financially limited, the Daily Candy Deal went live. My PR team had worked hard to make the deal go smoothly, and it was time to see what was possible. The results were staggering. This November we did 280% more business than our busiest month to date. All of the concerns about how I would cover my taxes, savings, and expenses were resolved. So though I certainly don’t feel as though I’m any more wealthy, I feel financially stable, secure, and able to meet my responsibilities.
Seeing how the re-branding, PR, speaking, writing, and essential piece of press combined to create such a tidal wave of business confirmed that all my efforts this year were worthwhile. That my journey has been on the right path all along. When I look at the homepage of the business and compare it to last year, I am still a bit shocked to see how it’s developed into what I’ve envisioned all along. When I chat with the girls while filling online orders the past few weeks I smile and remember that the level of business we are at is what I knew was possible back in 2009.
Personal – Activities
In my personal life, I’ve had a flurry of activity. In the three months I’ve lived in the new apartment I’ve had seven guests visit for fun or business. I’ve continued my running and weight lifting classes. I’ve done a great job at reaching out and deepening friendships with those I’ve known for years.
Personal – Risks
This entire process of moving this fall has been about having faith in the unknown. And in doing everything I have done for Jess LC, my personal life felt out of balance for a while. But rather than tuck my head into my shell I boldly kept going one day at a time.
Personal – Challenges
Over the past few months a few of my close friendships have taken more distant paths. And though it was painful to realize they had altered, I eventually learned to accept that their evolution. I realized they may be making room for new connections and friendships in the future.
Personal – Faithfulness
As with the business, I learned to realize that things were being re-arranged in my life in deep and important ways. And though none of the new changes were immediately wonderful, I remained hopeful. The sheer unknown-ness of so many aspects of my life left me with a deeper sense of faith which has helped me persevere and will make me stronger for challenges that lie ahead.
Personal – Blessings
Over the past few weeks I have felt a merging of all of the disparate aspects of my personal life. Things that before seemed puzzling, disorienting, and unfinished are weaving together to form a new social life, sense of belonging, and rhythm which is new and inspiring. I’ve made a new yet profound friendship and I’m rediscovering what I want out of my life. And I couldn’t be more thankful.
So there you have it. The full story. This is what I’ve been up to over the past few months and specifically the past few weeks. Looking at this letter in it’s totality leaves me with a renewed sense of the life I’d like to design for 2011.
Thank you for sticking by me here each day as I share my journey. You’ve been the most wonderful support system for me during one of the most transformational years of my life.