Ten Things I’ve Learned After Ten Years of Running a Company
- What are some hardships you have faced as an entrepreneur?
COVID was (and continues to be) a major challenge. As a mother of two elementary children, I was stretched so thin trying to tend to my business clients … and my family clients (if you know what I mean)! I struggled to find any help because my colleagues were in the same boat: They were trying to simultaneously keep their work and personal lives afloat.
I’ve had to say no to some large contracts that didn’t feel right (but that I’d budgeted for, hired for, planned and worked for). I called on other seasoned business owners who told me they’d done the same thing—and to always trust your gut because otherwise you’ll regret it.
I’ve faced the usual hardships of changing offices, hiring and firing (nothing can prepare you for the latter) and waiting for substantial checks to arrive for many months.
- What are your favorite aspects of working in communications?
Working as a marketer means every day is different, which I love. Some days you’re creating a year-long marketing plan, some days you’re developing copy for a monthly enewsletter, other days you’re helping develop a concept for an ad campaign, reaching out to collaborate with others or helping a client with crisis communications.
And I would’ve never guessed it, but I really love mentoring our internal communications team. It’s a joy to share articles, opportunities and hard-earned wisdom with the bright minds that surround me.
- What made you want to start Good Aim Communications?
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s the case with Good Aim.
In 2012, I began consulting Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), who needed marketing support for a foreclosure prevention program. Fairly early on in our work together I began drafting and distributing press releases. My contact information was a Gmail address. I looked at the press releases objectively and quickly determined I needed to make my business official if I was going to continue supporting a federal housing program!
But honestly, communications is the lens through which I see the world. It’s the only career thus far that has made any sense to me.
I love supporting clients who are frustrated because they don’t have enough inhouse support; our team can lead and fill in as many gaps as needed.
It’s so much fun to help a client by developing their all-new website, one they’re proud to call their online home.
It’s an honor to guide clients who are simply not sure where to start with their marketing.
- How has the company grown in its 10 years of existence?
For many years Good Aim consisted of me and some tried-and-true subcontractors and business colleagues. I worked out of my Fountain Square basement. We hired a full-time employee here and there, but mainly stuck to the subcontractor model, which kept us nimble.
When COVID hit, I found myself scrambling to find help, and it continued for a long while. I needed full-time employees to partner with me on work.
In 2021 we began hiring employees—a project manager, a communications specialist, an intern. And in 2022 we hired our first full-time designer and promoted a teammate to account manager. We’re now a full-service marketing firm working out of our HQ in the beautiful Herron-Morton neighborhood.
- Where do you see the company going in the next 10 years?
I see Good Aim growing in staff and client portfolio. I see us becoming mindful business thought leaders through my mindfulness trainings, leadership and Good Aim’s team involvement.
We’re launching the Mindfulness Academy Podcast this fall. Keep an eye out for it!
- What have been some milestones of your business?
Hiring multiple full-time staff. Moving into our HQ in Herron-Morton neighborhood. Becoming WBE certified. Working on my MFA degree to improve myself as a writer. Getting clear on Good Aim’s vision to be a mindful marketing business. Publishing The Chaos Antidote: A Fable About Mindfulness and accompanying workbook. Interviewing mindfulness leaders for my Mindfulness Academy Podcast (coming soon!)
- What sets Good Aim apart from other agencies? What value does it bring to its clients?
We are a full-service marketing agency. No need to get your brand guide created by one company, website by another, ads by another and enews and social media by yet another. We provide it all. We also not only develop websites, but we help maintain them. This means our clients aren’t stuck holding a bag they may not know what to do with!
- How have you grown as a business owner?
I can take and give constructive criticism much better now.
I can trust that it will all work out when you have a good-hearted, smart and engaged team surrounding you.
I celebrate the mentorship opportunities. They are some of the most gratifying moments of my work.
I am more confident in my sales role, knowing it comes down to helping others who are a good fit.
- What are some key takeaways you’ve learned over the last 10 years as a business owner?
If the answer isn’t “Yes!” it’s likely “No thank you.” This is true with potential clients, hiring, volunteer opportunities and more.
The saying “You can have it all, but not all at once,” is true, at least for me. Raising healthy kids, deepening my relationship with my husband of nearly 20 years, caring for ailing loved ones, keeping myself fit, growing a business and many other priorities can compete with each other day to day. But with a good business coach, habit tracking, team work and some good ol’ fashioned grit, it’s truly amazing what can be accomplished in one day!
Explore JOMO (the Joy Of Missing Out) in lieu of FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out).
Know your gremlins and how to tend to them.
Don’t compare your company to others. You’re on your own path. Become intimately aware of it and own it.
Pick your line. Focus on where you’re going, not on where you don’t want to go. It works equally well when biking and managing a business.
Acquire some basic mindfulness tools and use them when you feel overwhelmed or triggered. You can also rely on these tools as an ounce of prevention, as they are a fabulous way to center yourself and set your intention for your day. Check out my GLOWY Daily Reflection Practice: a part of my daily mindfulness practice.
Relationships are the foundation upon which you build a business. Find ways to truly care for and treasure the souls placed on your path.
It’s amazing what a walk around the block (by yourself or with a colleague) will do for your state of mind.
Clear is kind, as Brene Brown says. For me, this means being clear about expectations, where people and projects are excelling and where growth is needed.
- What are you most proud of as a business owner?
Our team. I seriously tear up every time I talk about our team. They’re kind, engaged, talented, proactive and with every move they make I’m reminded of one priceless truth: We are in this together. It means the world to me. They make me better every day, and I aim to do the same for them—to be a bright light in our world they’re proud to call their leader.