Why investing in your business with your time & money is the best thing you can do for your future self
There is nothing small about running a small business. Doing your actual craft can feel like it takes a backseat to the rest of the, well, essential priorities of running a business. Even if you’re growing and managing it all, existential questions will inevitably come up …
Am I doing everything I possibly can?
When can I grow in a way that feels like it gives as much as it’s an investment?
How do I harness my superpowers into a business that fuels my life?
Who do I talk to when the pressure of working for myself feels like isolation?
Where did the creative part go?
Sarah Schulweis, the founder of Anchor & Orbit (previously profiled by The Glossary) set out to deal practically with these questions when she wrote the Business Foundations Program. Three years and 5 cohorts later, the program is a six-month-long haven of resources and support for small business owners.
Past participants and the facilitators of the program gathered to discuss their business origins, hopes, doubts, and troubles. (FYI: The application for the next cohort is open -- apply today! Our alumni are fiercely smart, dedicated, creative people who share their gifts with the world through their products and services. They say it best, so read on.
Claire Seizovic | Brand & Experience Design | Tucson, AZ
Claire had already put in time working as a graphic designer, as well as co-founding Cultivate Tucson (previously featured on The Glossary) when she found the program. Graphic design paid the bills, but in Claire’s Discovery document and our conversations, we felt that some of her love was elsewhere.
Why couldn’t Claire pursue experience design as seriously as her graphic design work? She had already proven her worth and value by running Cultivate. So Claire started to rework some of her marketing to show the work she was already doing in experience design. “I can't say enough good things about the program … it really helped me transform what my services could be as a service provider and think beyond the parameters of graphic design.”
Sarah Winshall | Smudge Films | Los Angeles
After producing her first two feature films simultaneously and releasing them in theaters in the same month, Sarah took a step back and realized that “I had a business that didn't look like a business. It just looked like a pile of debt and a bunch of emails that I needed to write, and I didn't know how to approach any of it.” Throughout the six months of the program, Sarah looked at her business with a microscope and was able to gain more control of the emotional and practical aspects of talking about and running her business. Before finding the program, “It was just so hard. I was spending a lot of time doing work that I didn't need to be doing and spending a lot of money on things I didn't need to be spending money on.”
Also, in month three, while setting up her Goal Timeline, Sarah had an ah-ha moment. “...there are things I want for this business, and it doesn't have to be sad that I can't get them, there are actual ways to achieve goals by breaking it into like tiny little subcategories and tasks…” One of those previously impossible goals was to move her business into its own office space, and by the end of the program, Sarah had found a way to do exactly that.
Meghan Navoy | Rosemarine Textiles | Detroit
When Meghan came to the program, she was figuring out if she was launching a new business or expanding an older one. She was also working at a bar and learning a lot about wine -- “I just had to make a decision, am I going to be spending my time learning about food and wine or am I going to be focusing on my business?” Meghan launched mid-program, after emailing Sarah one day, “I’m going to quit my job!” [A&O always advises running the numbers before making the leap, and we’re also here for your real life decisions.]
Years later, Meghan says she still uses a variation of the production calendar that she and Sarah created in the program. “I, of course, wanted it to [grow], but it was nice to have the validation of someone saying, I know that your business is going to grow” and creating the tools Meghan would need for that growth. "When I was in the program, I had my first studio ever, which was in my friend's basement, and now I have a storefront and my own huge space, which is great."
Now is the time (especially if you’re busy)
Sometimes burnout looks like delaying steps that will lead you to your forward momentum.
When it feels like there’s never a good time for business development, it’s a sign that this may be the perfect time — counter-intuitive, but trust us. Productivity planning, goal outlines, financial growth plans, and systems will never get simpler until you spend time developing them.
Bring us, or anyone else that you jive with, into your process sooner rather than later. With us, we present exercises to help slow you down and stop the grind. You’ll spend time getting better at what you do instead of spinning your wheels. This program, in particular, will help you find opportunities for growth and figure out your happier day-to-day life.
The next cohort (and last of its kind!) begins July 1. We’d love if you fill out an application -- it’s non-binding, and we’ll be in touch to schedule a follow-up call. If this sounds interesting, give the program overview page a read, get to know our facilitators, and read some happy words from alumni.