My team and I recently passed the milestone of five years in business. While I’ve written previously about lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur, I wanted to take a moment to share a few truths I’ve discovered about the centrality of other people to building a successful business.
Other people make it possible.
It sounds cliche, but I could not have gotten to where I am on my own. First, there’s my husband, who has supported me emotionally and practically, and who has financially supported my dream. He’s the one who didn’t blink in the early years when I had to write personal checks to the business in order to cover payroll. Early on, I found out that I couldn’t even meet clients’ needs without involving others, which led to my building a company bigger than just me from the start.
I could write thousands of words of thanks to countless others who have supported my work: coaches and advisers, both paid and unpaid; team members; collaborators; partners; clients; friends.
It would be absolutely impossible to do this alone.
Other people make it challenging.
Working with people is messy. Team members have sick kids and off-days. Clients have urgent deadlines and colossal expectations. Most challenges are people challenges, and working through those people challenges keep me growing and learning.
Other people make it bearable.
The kind words of a friend who listens through my tears and withholds judgement. The people I can count on to answer my calls whenever I need a boost. The understanding acceptance of a client who sees my mistakes and remains open to our work. The loyalty of long-time team members who lean closer when times are tough. The people who step up in a crisis to get work done or meet an emergency need. It is other people who make the hard work of building a business bearable.
Other people make it better.
Not only bearable, other people make building a business better. Others share: skills, insight, creative ideas, process improvements, wisdom, suggestions, edits, refinements, advice, encouragement. Doing this work with others makes the work I am able to do far more excellent than it might be if I worked alone.
Other people make it worthwhile.
Why does anyone work hard, if not to create value for others? It is the people I work with and for who make our work worth doing. Seeing my clients win is one of my greatest joys. There is deep satisfaction in work I do well, but even greater satisfaction in seeing my team members reach their goals, as they grow and thrive.
While metrics matter, it’s the people who motivate me to work toward achieving results so that my company will thrive in the next five years and beyond.