Meet Becca - Part Two
Betsy's post yesterday was awesome - wasn't it?! If you haven't read it yet, hop over here to read up first. We weren't kidding when we promised to let our readers, clients, and industry friends really get to know us.
Last week I shared some personal details and goals, but today I want to talk about business. This business - and I say that to encompass both RRE and our second brand, Rebecca Rose Creative - is so much of my heart and soul. I have no doubt that the previous sentence seems incredibly cheesy to the average joe. But I couldn't care less. I've worked too hard and sacrificed too much to let the average joes of the world tell me what is, and isn't, the right way to approach this business that I founded nearly six years ago, that means so much to me. Advice and wisdom is welcome, but condescension? No thanks.
Recently I had a pretty negative interaction with someone who used the age-old adage, "it isn't personal, it's just business". While that phrase may be deemed appropriate in many instances (and might have made sense to me in my younger years as a low or mid-level employee in large organizations), it's about as demeaning as it gets when you say it to a small business owner. This business is nothing, if it isn't personal. This business is the realization of my dreams, the culmination of a lot of sweat and tears, and an ongoing challenge for which I have so many hopes and goals. Don't get me wrong... I'm not a weakling who crumbles in the face of criticism. I also know that I don't always get it right, and neither does the rest of the team. We're human beings and we make mistakes. I'm a fiercely competitive (more on that below) over-achiever who has no problem standing up for myself, negotiating tough circumstances, fighting for the things that matter, and admitting fault when I've made a mistake so that I can move forward to do things right the next time. But in the last six years, I've learned that I'm so much better at all of those things if I approach them as myself, and not as some random business woman who strives to seem devoid of feelings, emotions, or conviction. So it's always personal, and I think that's a strength.
Other entrepreneurs who are reading along... are you feeling fired up yet? Some things that really fire me up:
I am a highly competitive person. Ask anybody who has ever played against me in a game of Texas Hold'em, Monopoly, or any board game. I love developing strategies and finding ways to overcome obstacles to win! But I think competition often (unfairly) gets a bad rap. In the world of small business, it's easy to feel the need to be constantly on high alert for fear that other small businesses are out there, seeking to tear us down a notch. I talk with other entrepreneurs about this all the time and it's such a common source of anxiety. There will always be newer, younger, flashier versions of the same thing, popping up left and right. This is the world of competition. But I think it can also be considered a world of community.
Competition can be such a good thing!! Competition is healthy and if approached the right way it has so many benefits. Competition challenges us all to grow, become stronger, work smarter, and provide better service. The cherry on top is that competition can also make hard work really fun and rewarding!
Here's the thing... competition and community aren't mutually exclusive concepts, but so often they're treated as polar opposites. Our industry is so much stronger if we're all pushing each other to continue to be better. But it takes a supportive community of competitors for that strength to be realized. If we aren't able to book a wedding, editorial gig, or design project, then we refer it to one of our competitors. Others do the same for us. When one of our competitors gains national recognition, we cheer for them! And they do the same for us.
Friends, the rumor mill is an awful, horrible, nasty thing. I wish it didn't exist, but it does in a very real way. Over the past year and a half, I am fairly certain there have been a few rumors about me and about our business circulating out there in our local community. I'm not really sure what they are, but this I know: they're not true and therefore not something I'm going to dwell on. That's the ugly side of competition... it's competition done the wrong way. We seek to build and support a community that helps give purpose to our work, and helps highlight the value of what we all do.
There's an incredible movement afloat right now called the Rising Tide Society. If you're a fellow creative entrepreneur and aren't following RTS yet, do it now!
Last year I set a goal to do take on some speaking engagements and teaching opportunities. I was so grateful for the opportunity to serve as a speaker at The School of Styling's Los Angeles school in June, teach at The Lively Workshop, which our RRC team co-hosted with Perry Vaile in October, and then serve as a panelist at the Creative at Heart conference in Charleston in November. While I was able to share my expertise and heart in each of those instances so that others could learn...I learned so much as well. I firmly believe that each of us needs to invest in continuing education opportunities.
I've had the chance to connect with some really wonderful creative souls over the past year because of these speaking opportunities, including other designers, stylists, planners, photographers, etc. I am so proud to see people really growing their businesses and truly thriving as artists in new and exciting ways, just in the short period of time since I met them. Speaking and teaching aren't easy. Standing up in front of a crowd of people to share experiences and give professional guidance carries with it a huge set of responsibilities. The responsibilities to be thorough, to be well researched and well prepared, to be candid and truthful, to be vulnerable and willing to answer tough questions. Last year I invited those challenges wholeheartedly and realized how much I loved opening up and letting others in! There are many gifts that I just don't have. I'm not cut out to be an elementary school teacher (I've known this about myself for a loooong time)! I'm not cut out to teach algebra, chemistry, or economics. But if you're a like-minded creative individual who is fiercely passionate about being the best at your craft, growing a successful business, serving clients in an authentic way, and staying true to your heart... well, I am cut out to speak with you!
If you're a fellow small business owner following us (hi there!) I hope you'll do two things: (a) reach out and say hi! (b) consider investing in yourself this year. I highly recommend both TSOS and C@H for creative entrepreneurs. If you can do both...do both! If you're interested in one-on-one mentorship or coaching sessions, I'd love to work with you. Hop over here and consider signing up.
3.) Taking Risks
This is a big one. We all miss 100% of the shots we don't take. Need I say more?
Willingness to take risks is the lifeblood of small business ownership. I could just retreat into my happy place with a sketchpad for doodling, some colored pencils, some linen swatches, my ribbon wall (yep - it's as awesome as it sounds), a bucket of fresh blooms, some tools, a Pantone color bridge, and a cup of coffee. Give me 8-10 uninterrupted hours with those items and I'm a really happy camper, content to just give in to my inner need to be constantly creating something. But that really doesn't move me forward as an artist, and it doesn't move our business forward if that's all I do every day.
Sometimes the risk means launching a new product or service. Sometimes the risk means hiring a new employee, or taking on a business partner. Sometimes the risk means developing a new business pitch presentation to deliver to a board of directors, knowing you're the underdog in the pool of competition. I can say these two things with total confidence:
A.) Sometimes taking risks leads to failure.
B.) Out of failure, comes an opportunity to learn, and a confidence to do it better next time, or choose a different strategy.
I've jumped into the risk pool in every one of those situations I mentioned above. Every single time, it has been scary. Every single time, it has been uncertain. But every single time, it has been rewarding...whether the results shaped out the way I hoped or not.
So what's the point of this post? It may seem like a rant, and maybe it is... but it's what was on my heart this week and that's exactly what I've promised to share here on this blog. I know there are so many different audiences reading along. Some of you are brides and grooms who are getting ready to plan a wedding. Some of you are students who are considering event planning and/or design as a career field. Some of you are industry partners or vendors - who we may or may not know (but please - reach out and say hi)! Some of you are other entrepreneurs and competitors. Let me give a whole-hearted welcome to every single one of you. This blog will continue to serve as an honest and transparent look at life behind the scenes here at Rebecca Rose Events. I hope you feel encouraged, enlightened, intrigued, or enriched in some way each day. If we ever make you think, cry, giggle, or smile...we'll have done our job with this blog.
Lots of love,