2 Things I Have Learned in 2 Years of Business

Personal

Wow. Today marks 2 years since I started Studio 46:10. That’s 730 days of learning, growing, tweaking and pivoting. There have been highs and there have been lows. There have been unexpected twists and mundane moments. So much has happened in the life of Studio 46:10 as well as myself over the last 2 years. This experience of starting and owning my business has taught me and revealed to me so much.

In honor of my business anniversary, I want to share with you 2 Things I Have Learned in 2 Years of Business. Whether you already own a business, are thinking of starting one, or are curious what it’s been like, this is for you.

2 Things I Have Learned in 2 Years of Business:

1.Success looks different for everyone.

I know, so cliche, but it’s true. When I first started Studio 46:10 I had this grand vision that I would be this highly paid, highly sought after calligrapher and everyone would know my name. I laugh now because that hasn’t come true, but this is how I defined success. And for so many of us, no matter our career or goals, we tend to do the same thing. Our measure of success is based on money, status, or popularity.

But if this is our main focus and goal, we are going to be greatly disappointed. Sure, there are people who are seemingly overnight successes but they are the exception, not the rule. Most businesses we know and are familiar with have been in the game for 5, 10, 20+ years. If we only measured our success by money, status or popularity, we would quit or dreams within the blink of an eye (and sadly, many new businesses do).

So, what if we reframed our idea of success? What if it was less about outward measures and more about inward growth?

This is what I learned to do. When starting Studio 46:10, I worked diligently for months to grow my calligraphy business, and while I gained a few clients, Studio 46:10 was otherwise stagnant. In full transparency, I was discouraged and wanted to quit so many times, but my husband, Zach and my dad, Willy always hyped me back and reminded me that growing a business is hard and takes time. And in reality, there is no timeline. There is no ultimate measure.

So, I reframed my mind. I began defining success by whether or not I created something that I loved and was proud of. I realized that if I defined success by my contentment and joy, making money and gaining recognition would be added bonuses, not the main goal. Once I switched my mindset, a huge weight I didn’t realize I had was lifted off my shoulders. I felt free to create and grow in my own way rather than holding myself to a standard that I kept ‘failing’ to reach. I let success be defined on my own terms.

2. Passion can be multi-faceted.

As I struggled to grow Studio 46:10, a top business tip I heard over and over again was to niche down. If you market and brand yourself to be an expert at one thing, people will begin to understand you better and you’ll gain more recognition in a specific field. So I did.

I began marketing myself as a pointed-pen calligrapher for day-of wedding items. I got very specific in my approach. And it worked a little, but I felt like I was creatively suffocating. It was such a narrow and limiting title. What about other art forms? What about other ways to creatively express myself?

In an effort to find balance and pursue creativity outside of calligraphy, I learned embroidery and fell in love with it. And I wanted to share my passion and new embroidered creations with the world, but the idea of stepping outside my calligraphy niche made me nervous. Won’t that cause confusion to future clients?

And at this point in my business journey, I realized that niching down and picking only one art form isn’t necessary.

Have you ever heard the saying: ‘A jack of all trades is a master of none.’ Well, did you know that there is a second half to the quote? ‘A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.’

This means that a jack of all trades is truly versatile, adaptable and passionate about many different ideas and avenues.

Unknowingly, niching myself down to being only a wedding day-of item calligrapher had sparked an oppressed feeling in my mind and heart. I had interest in other creative expressions and outlets.

So, I decided to step outside my niche and instead focus more on a theme which is making and sharing positive words. Therefore, they can be hand lettered, stitched on a shirt, typed in a blog post or collaged together. And maybe one day something else.

I’ve learned that I am a multi-passionate creative. And as a multi-passionate creative, I don’t need to limit myself to make sense to the world. Creative interests can be numerous or multi-faceted and is oftentimes better than one.

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  1. Jane Shine says:

    Well, I had no idea there was a 2nd half to that quote. I love that 2nd half and that is truly me. Keep on keepin’ on Nicole. Create whatever you want.

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