Ahh, business. You’re one of the great love stories of my life.
I can safely say that I have been ushered into womanhood by two true, grand romances – one being my marriage, and the other my business. In today’s Valentines Day blog, I note the loving lessons that my business has taught me about myself and the world around me. Happy Valentine’s Day, (business) lovers!
- I’m Not Perfect
Like anyone who has been in business for any substantial length of time, I’ve been confronted by my own blind spots. They were not borne of carelessness or risky attitudes – they were simply the mistakes that arise from growing as an entrepreneur. When I made my first big mistake, I felt at a true moment of crisis. I questioned my capability and intuition – which are two of my greatest strengths. This mistake showed me that I am not perfect as a business owner, and that I have a lifetime of learning and adaptation ahead of me. In retrospect, this mistake was really the making of me. It was a lesson in humility, and made me aware of how mistakes can happen in businesses – and how normal they are. It’s how you cope with the mistake that is really important. When you realise that you’re very very human, you also soften into yourself as a leader / business owner / boss, and you don’t allow mistakes to shake your core or diminish you.
- From a Place of Love
I approach my business internally and externally from a place of love. This is expressed in the relationships I have with my colleagues, and my clients. It’s evident in the way I speak to my team and our customers. It’s in our gifting programme, customer parties and city-wide posters. It’s very much in my writing and speaking engagement. Here’s the thing: I don’t want to work with or for people who are jerks. That’s not why I became a business owner. I want to support and amplify the experiences of those in Ruby Assembly’s orbit. I want to work with clients whose pulse I can feel, who respect me and my team. When you work from a place of love – in a non-gooey or sentimental way – you can make better decisions as a leader and draw firm lines in the sand around client behaviour you will not tolerate.
Ruby Assembly have a uniquely autonomous approach to our daily work. We’re extremely flexible around where we work and how we work, with team members choosing their own methodologies to achieve amazing and powerful storytelling for our clients. Compared to many workplaces, our hierarchy is almost entirely flat. We go away together as a team for workations, and we are quite intimately involved in one-another’s lives. Of course, we are colleagues too – which means our working relationships are based on healthy boundaries and mutual respect in a informal environment. It’s a rare and most wonderful alchemy. As an employer, I find myself wanting to be the best leader and colleague I can be. Once upon a time, the idea of being an employer was horrifying to me: I just wanted enough work to be a sole trader. 11 years later, and my appetite for building my business into an ecosystem far beyond myself is only growing. Resultingly, I think more about boundaries and ways I can support and lead my team that respects their commitment to Ruby Assembly, and their care for our clients. I think about leadership and relationships in a way I never would have had cause to do if it were not for the privilege of my business and my team.
On one hand, Ruby Assembly are a social media agency. On the other, we are creative business consultants and confidants – our capacity to think about different ways our clients can connect with their customers is a core strength. This means that the meetings we have with our clients touch upon far more than the ‘nuts and bolts’ of their social media content. We are privileged that our clients often want to ‘debrief’ with us about their wins and fails, challenges around clients and staff, shifting markets and management dynamics. We have had many clients share really emotional and important personal and commercial information with us in confidence. There are big laughs in our meetings. There are also big sobs. Their potent vulnerability and willingness for us to really understand who they are as people gives us so much more potential to do great, emotional and unique work for their businesses. In turn, we hold space for their vulnerability with respect and friendship. We want only the best for them.
What’s business about? Love, actually.