Owning your own business typically brings one common theme to mind: money.
So understandably, when you're making a lot of it-it's generally thought that the business is boomin'. And conversely, if you're not, it's generally thought to be hanging on for dear life.
But I want to throw a concept out that may come as a surprise to some: what if starting, owning and running a "for profit" business wasn't all about the money? What if the dollar signs in our bank accounts weren't our success stories? We can be the wealthiest business owners, but completely lose our passion and drive in an instant if we aren't careful. And not everyone will agree, but for us-money can't buy our genuine happiness.
There's so much more. And we choose heart over hustle.
Profit: to obtain a financial advantage or benefit, especially from an investment.
What if we shifted our culture away from thinking the word profit was directly tied to a financial advantage, and instead that it was tied to a benefit? What if our "profit" was whether or not we were serving the people we are running the business for? What if our "profit" was whether or not our purpose and mission are being fulfilled? Now, don't get me wrong-we want to put a roof over our head, we want to put food on our table and we want to build a happy and healthy upbringing for our girls, but the dollar signs that show up on our monthly financial statement don't define us.
WE WON'T LET THEM DEFINE US.
What will define us is if we are serving "The Who" and "The Why" of The Ever Co?
The Who: It's about you. Our people. Our tribe. Our community.
The Why: It's about our mission. Our purpose. Our calling. Our legacy.
We, as small business owners, must get back to the heart over the hustle.
I think so often as entrepreneurs and creatives, we focus on the what, where and when of our business endeavors instead of the who and the why. And THAT is what burns us out. We get so wrapped around the logistics of growing our following, of making more money, of getting bigger and better and having more, instead of worrying about how we can serve YOU better and how we can serve our purpose more. It takes the fun out of small business, and I never EVER want us to get there. I hear so many stories of entrepreneurs getting burnt out, and we don't want that. We are in the infancy of Ever Co, and we are setting our priorities on people + passion over financial profit.
When we take out the unnecessary logistics and marketing pressure of entrepreneurship and instead focus on our passion and purpose, joy fills our office space. It reminds us that we are serving our given "market" for a reason. That is, in fact, what initially sparked your interest, right? You saw a gap or a need that you wanted to fulfill. But here's the kicker: If we are serving our audience well, and if we are serving our purpose well, then the financial profit will come. I truly believe that refocusing our energy on our people and our passion will allow us to grow financially. But, our priorities must be right for that to happen.
We never started our business to get rich. Let's face it; we entered a saturated t-shirt market and threw a cute graphic and our brand on a piece of cloth. Spoiler alert: you probably won't be seeing us on Shark Tank for this! But, we also aren't "just another t-shirt company." It's so much more than that for us. Just as much as we are a brand, we are also just as much a community. A community to inspire you to celebrate holidays with those you love most. A community to inspire you to create traditions right where you are. At home, at work, in your backyard, at your favorite restaurant. Wherever your feet are planted. A community to inspire you to capture memories that will last forever.
The deeper we get with growing our business, the more I realize how much this same concept applies to my own social media platform @amylouhawthorne.
I spent five years growing the following I now have. Yet, for the last year-I've continued to watch the number next to my name go down by the hundreds every single week. What was once so easy to grow has now become a nightmare for many social media bloggers-especially on Instagram. The algorithms for platform growth continue to change on the reg, which makes it extremely difficult for bloggers to grow their community. We're competing with actual coded in algorithms that hide our content from our long time followers, and that's just plain discouraging. To be honest, for most of us it's INCREDIBLY stressful. I'm in a ton of small pod groups and we talk about it daily. "What do we do?" "What do we not do?" "What did we do wrong?" And it puts SO much pressure on us, as if our lives don't already give us enough!
But this week something in me shifted. (Hence this blog post) I got rid of my business profile, and I switched back to a personal profile. I now can't look at the statistics of everything I post. I now can't watch the numbers fluctuate up and down on my account. I now can't see how many people my posts are reaching.
Instead, now I'm focused on you. I'm focused on why I share and who I share for.
Cause here's the scoop friends:
I get messages every week that say "thank you for saving my marriage." "Thank you for giving my marriage hope and promise for tomorrow." "Thank you for being vulnerable in your own failures to remind me that nobody's perfect."
I get messages every week that say "you reminded me that I don't have to give up on life when things get rough. You reminded me that putting this knife to my wrist or gun to my head wasn't the answer."
I get messages every week that say "you lead me to find Christ." "You saved me from a life of destruction by teaching me about our God who loves us so."
I get messages every week that say "my kid doesn't measure up in the eyes of the world either, but you reminded me that they are all unique and beautiful in their own ways. Just as they were chosen for us, we were chosen for them."
And friends, THIS is why I do this. Because if I can save one young couple from signing divorce papers and giving up, if I can stop one person from slitting their wrist and ending their life, if I can lead one brother or sister to the goodness of Christ Jesus our Lord, if I can remind one mama that their child's diagnosis doesn't define them as a parent, then that's all that matters. And that's what I want my legacy to be.
When the day comes that I leave this world earth side to be reunited with my daddy, I want to be remembered for creating a legacy and building a heritage for my daughters to live on and live in. I want them to be proud to call me mama. I want my husband to be proud to call me his wife. I want my parents to be proud to call me their daughter. I want my Soldiers to be proud to call me their leader. I want our Ever Co community to be proud to call me a friend.
We truly truly love you so.
p.s. pin this image below on pinterest or share it on social media to spread the word! We want to change the culture in small business. Help us get back to the heart over the hustle. Help us redefine profit.
Bonus: A few notes about our business plan!
We just packaged our 500th shirt and shipped our 400th package in just over a month of sales, but we are just about breaking even financially with what we invested into our website with Go Live HQ, our family video with Heart Stone Films and our inventory. For our business, we wanted a no shipping + no extra fees model and we also wanted to create affordable shirts for your families to wear. With that, our margins are not through the roof, and we are okay with that! Mark Cubin may be disappointed, but he'll get over it. ;) We love going to check out from a shop and seeing the words "Free Shipping" pop up, so we wanted to implement that in our shop too!