This post was scheduled to go love on November 2nd, but that day was spent with family and friends, and followed by a few more with higher priorities to be delivered. So we waited to push it until today. Hope you enjoy it.
November 1st. November 1st. November 1st.
This was a date I hammered in my head for the better part of a year. This was the day I told myself that I would be done with corporate, and fully dedicated to Clark + Aldine. November 1st. But June 2nd was the original date, a year prior, when we thought we knew what we really wanted to do with the brand. That date came and went as quickly as I had told myself June 2nd was the day. And for good reason…we were not ready. Not even close.
Clark + Aldine has been and will forever be a brand. A lifestyle brand. Whether it be home, family, travel or the everyday, we are about living a life of abundance. At first we thought our way in was photography; that was only a part of it. Then we thought it was marketing strategy; that too is part of it. But then we paid attention to the content in which our audience was resonating with and that lead us to where we are today. Our true passion – building, designing and curating spaces in our home – was what was “selling”. And we went all in on that.
Once we decided to shift our strategy we spent well over a year of planning and execution. It did not happen overnight. We had to rebrand and launch a new content plan, which meant a ton of investment in our home so we had new content to share. Danielle got her Real Estate License. I got my Residential Builders License…which is no joke to those considering it. Seriously, the most difficult task I have ever conquered. And we had to find clients. The latter happened by chance, and one that we talk about a lot (Nick and Kerry we friggin love you guys!).
But with all that came a huge task that neither of us were truly ready for, and honestly very few actually are. The financial implications. The risk. The belief and hope of a reward that constantly falls in the shadows of financial realities. We were scared shitless…and still are to an extent. But we believe if you’re scared then you are doing something right.
I say all of this to get to November 1st. Which didn’t happen. I left my exit meeting at exactly 12:41 on Friday November, 2, 2018. A day late. Walking out early on a Friday afternoon just seemed so much more appropriate, don’t ya think? So I sit here now reflecting on a year of everything new and the three things that I have learned along the way. And I am sharing them with you…and trust me, there are plenty more but we can talk about those later.
The shift is a little weird. After a year I am used to it but it took a long time to get there. After managing teams, talent and clients for more than 10 years, it’s an entirely different beast doing it for yourself. When it is your company, your brand, your product you have to make decisions to get things done and make a profit. As a GC I have a reputation with my subcontractors and vendors that I pay on time, in full and without low-balling bids. And sometimes that means I don’t pay myself as quickly, which means I have to work more or wait…and bills don’t wait so I work more. Which leads to my next point.
See, all of these memes about “follow your passion” and “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” are about half true, but it is that half truth that has to get you to believe. To believe you are capable of pulling it off. Capable of changing your life and providing for your family. Capable of failing and not giving up. But it is still work. It is absolutely still work. More work than you’ve ever done in your life. But it is different. And it is worth it.
The flip side is this – all those memes about “work work work” and “I work 30 hours a day and get 4 hours of sleep a week” are flagrant lies. That is a false narrative that no one should pay any attention to. Turns out, it really isn’t cool to just live your work. You can live your brand, be a true reflection and walking example of what you stand for…but that doesn’t mean just work. That is all BS. Don’t fall for it.
There is no lesson more important than this in my book. Family has always been everything to us, but it has a much deeper meaning now. We wouldn’t be here without the help of our family – each and every person. We’re a family company who works with families to create functional and purposeful spaces. Our team, they are family. The work we secure provides for families. Together, we are strong and we’re growing quickly.
As I wrap this up, I feel as if I am rambling, but it’s all heart and it’s all me. I hope you enjoyed the read because I enjoyed writing it.