Making Every Shot Count: How I Found Love and Launched My Dream Business
Do you have a favorite memory that makes you smile from ear to ear? I’m talking about a big, old, cheesy grin, complete with those butterflies fluttering in your tummy. For me, 2012 brought ALL the feels. That was the year everything changed.
This is the story of how a basketball tournament introduced me to the love of my life and how I successfully relocated my budding business 350 miles away from my home state of Indiana all the way to the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Take a leap of faith with me and learn how to:
- overcome challenges
- launch your dream business
- and how you can conquer your goals with Jesus, hard work, a great support system, and a little (okay, maybe a LOT) of coffee.
Love and Basketball
It was quite the party in March of 2012 in Indianapolis. You might even call it “Madness.” Yep, the NCAA basketball tournament was in full swing and the city was buzzing! Kentucky took home the championship, but the team wasn’t the only one who won big. That’s when I met a guy named Brian (have I mentioned he’s really cute?). He was in town for the tourney, visiting from the Pittsburgh area. I’m pretty sure sparks flew immediately and I just knew: he was the one.
Just as our whirlwind romance was unfolding, I was in the process of discovering my life’s journey. Initially, my career path took me into event planning. I tapped into the wedding industry, but it turns out, it wasn’t my jam. I can negotiate a contract with a hotel, but put me in a room with a bride and her mother? No, thank you. Besides that, Brian didn’t like the person I was becoming. Neither did I. I was working crazy hours and then some. And I enjoyed the event planning. I loved the sales. But the hours were a lot.
I leaned heavily on Brian during that time and I knew I had to take a big leap of faith to try something new – especially because I had his support. One day, he made a valid point that I could not argue: “if you don’t try, you’ll never know if you’ll succeed.” So in June, I made the gametime decision to take the full-time leap into my very own marketing business, Raney Day Design (Raney is my maiden name and I’m a sucker for a good play-on-words).
In August, after doing the whole long-distance deal for about five months, Brian and I got engaged. I knew God was calling me elsewhere. I knew He had bigger plans for me, but I wondered: could my business survive in a completely different city in a whole new state? I had to give it the old college try.
I hit the ground running! I hustled hard. I dove deep into the world of networking. My cat, Hank, would ride along as I traveled back and forth from Indiana to Pennsylvania where I met with potential clients. I researched networking events online. One time, I contacted the president of a networking organization and convinced him to have breakfast with me, so I could get my foot in the door.
It wasn’t easy. It was messy. It was hard. But I persisted and never gave up. That’s my advice to you or any entrepreneur with a dream. Here are 5 takeaways from my journey to help you hit the ground running.
1. SAY YES TO WORK (WITHIN REASON)
I built my business by saying “YES” to any jobs I could pick up and then I did the best that I could. Saying “YES” is often the quickest, most efficient way to learn. As I tackled each project, I would increase my pricing little by little so I could start making a profit. And yes, that means working crazy hours and hustling. But don’t spread yourself too thin. That’s where a solid team comes in handy.
2. BUILD THE RIGHT TEAM
My hiring process started small. And did I mess up? Absolutely. I would hire and unfortunately in some cases, the business relationship didn’t work out.
- I had to take ownership.
- I had to identify job descriptions and expectations.
- I had to have hard conversations when my teammates weren’t performing.
- I had to learn to take feedback, which was excruciatingly uncomfortable.
But here’s the catch: I didn’t want to be the smartest person in the room. Heck, I didn’t want to be the one doing it all. I wanted help and support so I hired a strong team.
3. MOMMIN’ AIN’T EASY (BUT SCHEDULES HELP)
We have two beautiful children, just two years apart, and sometimes that meant running meetings with a baby in my lap. I’d host a conference call while nursing my son or daughter. I turned our living room into my office. You have to readjust to your environment and hold yourself accountable.
Some days, I would skip the shower and work in my pajamas. Other times, I’d consider myself a self-proclaimed workaholic. I had to find a balance. A happy medium, if you will.
I quickly discovered:
- routines help me thrive.
- a schedule helps me thrive.
- being intentional helps me thrive.
Try setting your own morning routine: start with a shower, hit the gym, spend some one-on-one time with Jesus, read a motivational book: whatever helps you get going!
4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO FALL
There’s a line in a poem by Erin Hanson that reads
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling, What if you fly?”– Erin Hanson
When it comes to launching my business, the more that I practiced, the more I failed, the better I got. I wasn’t afraid to mess up and then ask for forgiveness. There were times that I didn’t handle a situation with one of my team members correctly and I just had to say, listen, I’m sorry, I messed up. I had to take that ownership. So I dusted myself off and tried again.
5. FIND YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM
Last, but certainly not least, surround yourself with the right people. Brian has been my greatest support; the person in my corner who has the ability to give me a “come-to-Jesus” talk without totally making me want to leave him. He motivates me and (lovingly) calls me out on my B.S. Find your own teammates, whether they’re family, friends or co-workers who will encourage you and help you along your journey.
So I guess you could say this was a love story that became a business success story. Brian and I got married in the spring of 2013. 10 years later, we’re stronger than ever and so is Raney Day Design. If you’re stuck in a rut, I’m here to help, even if that means clawing your way out of the trenches of a failing business to get back on top of your game. Here’s how to get in touch!