How has Christmas already come and gone!?! This year has absolutely flown!! We are still in the spirit though and holidays have us feeling a little nostalgic. In today’s episode we are reminiscing about what this year has meant to us as well as outlining some goals for the New Year.
Oh 2016! You have been a doozy. It’s hard to know where to start so I’ll quickly run down some of the big things we’ve been through and accomplished over the past 12 months. Here are the overarching themes that helped us make the most out of our year:
- Before starting into 2016, we held the longest business meeting we’ve ever had! 10 HOURS…. We were starting the year with a team of 10 and did a lot of brain work in our meeting so we could make some big decisions and create a vision for the year. Everything felt like a hot mess at the beginning of the year and we both felt a little out of control. Out of that meeting came our game-changing mantra for the year: Simplify, Streamline, Self-Care
- Self-care has taken a huge role in our every day life and work. Rachel and I have held each other accountable for engaging in self-care on a regular basis. That has looked different for both of us and you can read more on our personal pages (Rachel Here and Katey Here)! However, we have read some of the same motivating books that we mention in this episode and about recommend to anyone. (“You Are a Badass” & “Big Magic“)
- We have be working to create a shift in our mindset, trying tirelessly to adjust our thinking and perception regarding everything business and life. Our mindset is the single biggest change that we have made & has had the largest impact. Setting our values, living in abundance and appreciation, taking care of ourselves, and finding a new perspective and been LIFE CHANGING!!!
- Simplifying and streamlining our systems has allowed our business to be more profitable. We have found ways to save ourselves a lot of time and energy in a way that make a financial difference for our business.
Some of the specific events that took place in our year include the following:
- We started the year by adding a LOT of new classes and then almost immediately got rid of all of them so we could focus in on what we specialize in within our company. We cut a lot of programs so we could grow our business by focusing on what was working instead of further diving our attention and resources thus creating a strain on our business.
- Rachel and I made the decision to not take on ANY new direct service work ourselves. We have so much that we take care within the business. on top of all of our time spent with our students/clients. We sat down and determined what our value was within the business and determined the most important things we need to be focusing on during the few hours we have available within our days. Taking on new clients personally is unfair to our business, our selves, our employees and our students.
- Our first intern finished her internship in March and we hired her on the spot! Since then, we have built a position from scratch that is now full time!!!
- In August we started with our second music therapy intern. She is continuing to document her intern journey in her Intern’s Corner blog. We have learned so much being internship directors and love the experience.
- We started a HUGE NEW CONTRACT with a local school where our team members provide music therapy services.
- At the beginning of September we completely revised our payment system and overhauled our policies! It has changed our relationship with our families and team members in the most positive way as well as creating consistency financially.
- On top of everything else, Rachel and I went on a couple work road trips together which was an awesome new adventure!
With all of that being said, we’ve both been thinking about the coming year and what we want to see. Going into 2016, we were both exhausted and burnt out! The big goal for 2016 was to pull back, go back to basics, and simplify everything so our business could continue. Because we’ve made so many changes throughout the year, we are feeling invigorated and ready to take on new and exciting things in 2017.
Rachel talked about her focus for the new year in the episode with the word, share. Sharing resources, experiences, time with family, and more. Giving more. My word for the new year is intention. I want to waste less (time, energy, money, etc) and be more present in the time and experiences I am a part of. We are definitely on the same page with wanting to reach more of our potential and follow our passions within our work and individual lives! Stay tuned for our next episode in the new year where we reveal our new mantra and get more specific about what this year will hold.
Wishing you Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year!!
Until next time,
Katey & Rachel
Your team is the face of your company so talking about it can be stressful. We’ve been talking a lot about our team and team members over the past few weeks and months as our business continues to shift and grow. We’ve changed up some of the roles of our team members, added to or revised their individual roles, and are currently looking for another new team member.
Growing our team has required an immense amount of trust and a multitude of difficult conversations. Coming to the conclusion that we need to bring on additional team members is never an easy decision and one that leads to asking a lot of questions. Each time we’ve considered adding a new position, we’ve had to ask our selves the same serious of questions:
- Do we have enough work to add another person?
- Will this position grow?
- Are we offering a position that anyone would want?
- What characteristics are we looking for in a new team member?
- What is their role going to look like?
- How will this impact our business?
- What will my role look like and what new responsibilities will I have as a business owner?
You have to determine within your own business whether adding a position or growing your team is the right step for you. Adding a new position can seem appealing and exciting but with a team comes a huge new set of responsibilities and outcomes that can impact both your business and personal life.
We have gone through the process of adding a team member several times now and still have not perfected the process. However, we have learned a lot along the way and shared a few of those lessons in todays episode:
- Adding a team member starts with a a mental shift. Abandoning the “I can do it all” mentality can be incredible challenging and requires a great deal of trust in order to allow someone else to share in the responsibility.
- We’ve reached our applicants through a variety of methods including social media, indeed.com, our big sign, and our website. We’ve also used some non-traditional methods to customize our search. When we were looking for our first lesson instructor we contacted local music colleges around graduation time to inform them of our new position.
- Crafting our vision for our team and revising as we go have been essential in moving forward. We have revised roles and continued to sculpt our team as we go based on what we have already learned and continue to learn every day.
- Deciding what we want to specialize in or want to be known for has helped us to find the right clientele and teachers. We have limited our services to a select few so that we can focus on highlighting them
- Spending time with our team members and figuring out what their specific skills and hidden talents are so team members can do what they love and enjoy.
- Keeping an open dialogue so we can all grow together. We try to show our team members that they are valued by having an open door policy, sharing experiences with them, and talking regularly. We try to have a positive attitude throughout our office and be proactive in solving issues as they come up.
No matter where you are in your business, determine what the best fit for you is in the moment and know that it can always change.
Until Next Time,
Katey and Rachel
Life is messy and so is running a business. You don’t always get the perfect mix of the two that you are hoping for, but you make it work and find what works for you along the way. We are still trying to find the right “balance” and how all the pieces perfectly fit together. Today, we are sharing a few more of those personal details and what we have done to “make it all work” for us.
Have you ever heard that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery? For us, admitting that things won’t always be perfect was the first step to acceptance and moving forward. We have always had a lot going on. Our business life together has been an incredible, rollercoaster of a journey with some serious ups and downs related to both our business and personal lives.
We’ve both had major life changes happening at the same time as major business decisions and have had a lot of stress we’ve dealt with along the way. Some of the major life and business happenings we’ve experience along the way have included the following:
- I got married the same week Rachel and I signed on our LLC
- Our first week of business Rachel told me she was pregnant (with baby #2)
- Rachel bought a house as we were talking about finding our first employees and intern
- We signed on our new property the same week I bought a new house.
- Rachel returned from maternity leave the week our first intern and multiple new contractors started
Looking back we’ve been through some crazy times together but we’ve made it all work by working together. We are in this together every step of the way. Our business decisions impact both of our personal lives. We don’t have jobs we can leave at the door and have dealt with a lot of stress associated with our business life together and the decisions we’ve made.
In the episode, we talked through some of the ways we’ve coped with everything that has come our way over our past few years together:
- HONESTY! Being 100% real with each other has been a game changer. We talk about basically everything and are upfront so we can handle any and all issues as they come our way.
- Relying on each other. We can ask each other for help and understand that things come up in life and we need each other.
- Taking time to spend with just our families. Creating time to put away the electronics, leave the email alone, and establish time with just our loved ones has been essential. We create boundaries between work and life so that we can be our best in both.
- Establishing and living for our values. A year ago, we sat down to have a serious conversation about WHY we are doing exactly what we are doing so that we can continue our business in a sustainable way that makes sense for what we want to do.
- Outsourcing things we need but do not enjoy doing so we don’t resent what we are spending our limited time and resources on.
- Deciding when enough is enough. Know when you are taking on too much for yourself personally and when you need to take a step back.
- Knowing what success means for each of us in our business and personal life and understanding that growth does not define success. It’s ok to say no or to revise as you go.
- Letting down barriers. I am not perfect. Letting other people see that we are not perfect has been so beneficial for EVERYONE and has allowed us to work better as a team.
- Taking guilt-free time away from work and supporting each other in taking that personal time!
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; take the time to find what works for you.
Until next time,
Katey & Rachel
It’s been a strange and hectic couple weeks around the office. With everything already going on around the holidays, we decided to throw in a couple extra events and then had a few other big things pop up.
These couple weeks have really made us realize just how much our business has grown and how far we’ve come over the past few years. In keeping with that theme, we want to talk about the pros and cons we’ve experienced in growing our business and what growing our team has meant for us, personally.
Rachel and I both started in business as sole proprietors. In the early days, we only had to worry about ourselves. All of our expenses, scheduling, profits, etc., were ours to handle however we saw fit. Those are now all joint decisions and shared responsibilities. We’ve learned so much about ourselves, our values, and what we need to put into and get out of our business in order to make it work for us as we’ve grown.
Growing your business, your team, and your space can seem like “the dream” when you look at the pretty pictures other business owners post on instagram, but there are a lot of unpleasant details just outside the border of that perfect image. In today’s episode, we share both the pros and cons of our past lives as sole proprietors as well as the pros and cons of our current partnership with a team of 10. Here are a few of the highlights.
As a sole proprietor working alone:
- You get to do everything yourself but you also HAVE to do it all yourself. You get to see all of your clients yourself and have the joy of any business related tasks you enjoy, BUT you also have all of the tasks you may not enjoy or might struggle with.
- You choose where you want to be, with whom, and when. You’re the boss and you are only in charge of yourself but you also have to be accountable, organized, and responsible for every bit of your livelihood and there is no one to share the load or lend a hand.
- There are fewer expenses usually, but you have to shoulder all of them.
- All of the profits are yours! BUT you have to make sure you’re paying your own taxes and dealing with your own expenses and accounting.
In a partnership and with a team:
- You have a team full of awesome people to share your day but to a certain degree you are accountable for them.
- Growing your team and opening a physical location can lead to serving a larger portion of your community but that comes with more expenses and responsibilities.
- You can provide fewer direct services personally, but may have more business related tasks to take care of your team and will be paying others to provide the direct services you were providing.
- Having a brick and mortar business is such a cool experience! It has saved on travel, allowed me to learn so much, and is what I consider one of my biggest personal achievements BUT there are so many things we never thought would be an issue or ever gave a single thought to before opening our doors.
There are so many conversations Rachel and I have had over the past two years that we never thought would come up, but the most important topic we’ve covered regards our values. Finding what you value in your business and personal life is the most important thing to consider when working to find the next step in you business.
Find the why behind your decisions and make your most important choices based on what YOU need.
Until next time,
Katey & Rachel