Probably six months ago, a dear friend who's also one of my great marketing and advertising career mentors was in town and invited me out to lunch. Like anytime I get to catch up with him, I laugh at his stories, my heart is altered by some of his other stories, and he always somehow, someway drops a seed in the depths of my business strategy brain that haunts me. I feel a bit bad using the word haunt, but it. haunts. me. The seed he planted at lunch that day, "What's the mission, vision and value for Live Dreams?" My response didn't exactly give me confidence in myself or my business. It was something along the lines of, "I created this business out of fear that in becoming a stay-at-home-mom, my relevance in and familiarity with the ever evolving marketing and advertising game would quickly fade. And with it, my value as a potential employee, if I ever did decide to get back in the game, would suffer. So I created this business, essentially as a real life learning experience to make sure I'm still learning and growing along with the rest of the working world. And I figure it's expensive, but less so than learning to play golf or something." This is the same man who engrained in me 15 years ago, "Your business isn't about you, it's about your customer." So... yeah. Haunts me. I had this sinking feeling that my business had been built on a superficial foundation, and considering that I've probably watched the movie Frozen about 300 times since that lunch, I also became mindful that my business may have also been built for fear of losing something. I firmly believe that there's greater power in love than there is in fear. So strike two against my mission, vision, value blah blah blah.
[Insert months of soul searching here.]
Last week, someone took something from me, initially without my permission. Not in the sense that my four-year-old daughter thought, when she ran into my design and screen printing studio and yelled downstairs, "Oh no, mama, somebody did take all your red sweatshirts, they're gone!" Note to self: make business counsel phone calls when daughter naps. But in the sense that someone had taken one of my designs and put it on their own product of choice with their own printer of choice to profit off of it, without my involvement. People like to say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Well, it didn't feel flattering. It felt like a violation. It felt like the little girl inside of me that helped me bring that design to life, the one whose heart was broken by the sport she loved and was then picked back up again by the sport she loved, the one who loves that an outfit can change the trajectory of your day, the one who worked her butt off to graduate from the Kelley School of Business while also playing volleyball in the Big Ten, had just been punched in the gut. Long story short, I ended up selling a one-time license to use my design, which wasn't in my business plan. And won't be in my business plan moving forward. But it just felt like the right thing to do, given the circumstances.
[I swear I'm getting somewhere with all this.]
A fire has been lit inside of me. My mission, vision and value are now clear.
Make volleyball great again.
Quality > quantity.
Help volleyball players pay for college.
Guess who's not rambling on about selfish nonsense now, Bob!? Haha!
I now understand the "why" behind "what" I want to do, which in my experience means that I'm about 80% of the way there. My next step is to figure out the "how." I have a dream, I have a drive, I have a truly unique set of tools that I can use... I am inimitable. Stay tuned. Sporty is beautiful.
xo, Beth Jenkins
owner & designer
When you find yourself being challenged, fight like crazy to understand the why so you can learn, be better, do better.
Success isn't success if you're alone in it, surround yourself with successful people who use that success to build up the success of others around them.