The One Thing That's Transformed My Business

I hit a wall with Elle & Company a few months ago. Although it may have appeared like I was doing everything right on the surface - blogging once a day, maintaining several consistent blog series, selling products from the shop - something was off behind the scenes. Creativity was at a standstill. Boredom and loneliness were creeping in, seeds of doubt were taking root, and I was feeling extremely unsure of myself and my capabilities. I was burnt out, to say the least.

Then one night in May, my creative slump took a 180-degree turn. After another uninspired day at my computer, I vented my recent frustrations to Jake. He listened patiently, but instead of telling me what I expected to hear (i.e. you're doing a great job, it will all work out, hang in there) he started throwing out new ideas. And for the first time, I was willing to listen. 

What started as a casual conversation ended in a 3-hour brainstorm session. Those first ideas multiplied into more ideas, and at one point I pulled out a notebook to keep track of them all. I filled pages and pages with scribbled handwriting, partly because I was writing quickly to get it all down and partly because I was so excited at what we were coming up with. It was like drinking a cold glass of water on a hot day or eating a huge bowl of ice cream after a diet - those three hours with Jake were exactly what I had been seeking, and his change in perspective was refreshing. Our time together filled me up and kickstarted an exciting new chapter.

From that night on, working together on Elle & Company business became contagious and addicting. Long car rides turned into more exciting brainstorm sessions for blog posts and Library additions. Nights that were once filled with episodes of Parks and Rec turned into nights of research on how we could increase blog traffic or improve sales (although we still sneak Leslie and Ron in there every once in a while). I started running things by Jake and getting a second opinion, which helped uproot those feelings of self-doubt. Boredom and loneliness were no longer an issue and my creativity came back in full force. 

It's no surprise that business has thrived since Jake came on board. He's helped me become more intentional and open-minded, he provides feedback, he challenges my intentions and refines my business practices, and he helps take on part of the load. My blog content has gotten stronger, I've come out with successful new business launches (here and here), and we have even more exciting things in the works.

Jake is strong in the areas where I'm weak and he brings to the table the things that I lack. I'm design-minded, he's business-minded. I get sucked into projects and pretty paper, he gets sucked into articles and analytics. And although our personalities and abilities are polar opposites, we're more like peanut butter and chocolate than pickles and ice cream. We may be different, but we compliment each other well. 

Elle & Company is no longer a one-woman operation. This handsome guy has been hiding behind the scenes, hard at work helping me pursue my passion and achieve my goals. It makes my heart skip a beat to see his interest in this space and his excitement over its growth. Jake's encouragement continues to transform this space and his support has pulled me out of that dry, lonely place. I'm so thankful to have him on board.

Could your business, blog, project, or another area of your life benefit from someone who sees things a little differently than you do?