Rounding the corner on Year One since our launch on Kickstarter, let's be honest, it's been a range of emotions: excited, proud, hopeful, encouraged, disappointed, discouraged, tired, frustrated, amazed, grateful, focused, motivated…
Here's a personal take from each of us on this exciting Year One.
Adriana: Business is personal.
I hate it when people say, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” What does that even mean? If you are dealing with humans, how can it be anything but personal?
Our experience launching X-Stand™ has been a microcosm of the old adage “business is all about people” and reinforced my belief that business IS personal.
Our partnership: Business partnership is a marriage of sorts and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’m fortunate to be part of a trio who not only shares the same vision but also shares the same values. Sure we work together well because we have complementary skills. But the glue that holds us together is our shared beliefs and values that guide how we work, the decisions we make and the priorities we pursue.
There’s no doubt over the last year our beliefs and values have been tested, but I’m proud to be part of a team that has prioritized integrity above all and stayed true to our north star.
Our customers: I’ve said it a million times and I’ll keep saying it. We have the most amazing customers! We’ve been continuously surprised by the support and encouragement they’ve shown us.
We would like to extend a grateful thank you to those who have been true champions for us and shown us what generosity looks like.
- Thank you, Erik Fisher of Beyond the To Do List, Jen Cole with Backspace Media, and Christine Roper of Roper Physical Therapy, and Deanna Arnold of Employers Advantage, for being amazing ambassadors for X-Stand™. We are humbled.
- Thank you, Jeff Page a.k.a Hectic Dad and Lisa Williams with Agorapulse for taking the time to share your valuable insight and expertise with us. You didn’t have to, but we are grateful for your feedback and support.
And thank you to all of X-Stand Nation. You truly inspire us and provide the oxygen we need when times get tough.
Maybe business isn't personal, but good business always is.
Brian: Creativity comes in many forms.
My day job is to design things; products, packaging, experiences. Over the past 20 years of producing design “deliverables”, I had trained myself to think of creativity as the process of briefing a project then creating design work to “meet the brief”. Launching a new business has truly opened my eyes to what the breadth of creativity can mean. I have come to think of creativity as simply imagining what isn’t, then taking steps to make it real. I have seen my business partners do this time and time again, and their creativity in business matters, relationship forming and leadership has been a wonder to behold.
The creativity I see from them daily through visually compelling blog posts and the fearlessness of tackling a challenge like launching on Amazon has inspired me to approach my own creative problem solving with fresh eyes. My work has become more inspired and compelling. Personal endeavors I had previously considered unreachable I now approach with a new creative spirit. “How can we make this real”, opens many more avenues of possibility than “Let’s deliver on this creative brief”.
It’s been an exciting, exhausting, fulfilling, frustrating and joyful year, looking forward to the next twenty!
D: Four key takeaways.
Enjoy It: Nearly (20) years in corporate America showed me that there's a better way to do this. Building and launching a business of our own is pretty cool. It's a ton of hard work for sure, but really cool. Frankly, it's taught me so many new skills…it's made me better at my day job. Enjoy the learning curve and approach it with constant curiosity.
Referrals: Perhaps most encouraging is that most of our orders come from referrals. Once folks connect with X-Stand™, they're telling their friends about it, and they're buying too. This has been and continues to be tremendously encouraging. In all sincerity, we've been blown away by the kindness, encouragement, and generosity of so many new friends…a great example for us on paying it forward and building authentic community.
No Shortcuts: Rooted in authenticity, there are no shortcuts. Do the games that some folks play on social media frustrate us sometimes? Of course. But, there are no shortcuts…slow and steady wins the race.
“Present, Not Productive”: Sometimes it's easy to focus on all the things we haven't done or should be doing. “Do or do not. There is no try.” “Someday or Day One.” Those quotes really have motivated me. At the same time, I've learned there's wisdom in pace and daily momentum and amazing business partners who compel and show grace. Momentum creates momentum. But, remember your “why.”