Reflections from Hillary the Founder
This month marks one year of Merigold, and while I know that still makes us a relatively young company, it’s been full of an enormous amount of growth—both on an organizational level and for me as an individual.
We’ve come such a long way from the days where I was selling homemade sourdough and kombucha from my porch to cover start-up costs (though that spirit and ethos have lived on in the company culture). The past year has held a tremendous amount of transition and challenge—balancing a business and being a mother (with limited childcare), having another baby with two weeks notice, home renovations, my husband changing jobs, and family losses. Amidst it all, Merigold has been a source of joy and a creative outlet I am truly grateful for.
"I sold sourdough and kombucha to cover my start-up costs."
Merigold has come such a long way from the days when I was selling homemade sourdough and kombucha from my porch to cover start-up costs (though that spirit and ethos have lived on in the company culture).
The past year has held a tremendous amount of transition and challenge—balancing a business and being a mother (with limited childcare), having another baby with two weeks notice, home renovations, my husband changing jobs, and family losses. Amidst it all, Merigold has been a source of joy and a creative outlet I am truly grateful for.
The Learning and Unlearning- Of Starting And Owning A Business
I’ve learned so much over the past year, it’d be impossible to encapsulate it all into a blog post. There has been a lot of learning and unlearning over the past year. Things that I thought I knew needed to be re-learned and things I had learned needed to be unlearned.
I wanted to share a few things that have been themes/lessons over the past year. I hope that you will find these as encouragement and possibly even some challenges for your own journey.
Boundaries won’t set themselves.
When you own a company, the work is never done. You will be talking, thinking and dreaming (literally) about it all the time. I’ve had to schedule my time to pause and honor that space—no one will do it for me. Making space for play and rest actually results in more creativity and ingenuity.
Trust your gut.
You can’t make everyone happy, but you can be true to yourself, and in the end, that matters most. The people-pleaser in me has really struggled with this one. But like stated above...boundaries..boundaries...boundaries. I'm learning where I start and others stop.
Speak up early.
When you know something that needs to be changed, speak it out. Don’t wait—it only gets more complicated as you keep growing. I've found this to be key. Not waiting till you feel like it's the last straw. Giving people the chance to address something or change- is vital. People can't read your mind and ultimately it is your job to state your wants, needs, and desires.
If things aren’t measured, they aren’t managed.
Track what matters to your business. You’ll find a wealth of insight in the data. Sometimes it's hard to feel like you have the time to sit and review the data. But I've learned, ultimately you really don't have the time not to.
Soak up the positive.
Our brains naturally give weight to negative feedback and comments. Take time to really let the positive sink in—it’s worth the effort. I listened to a podcast that talked about letting the compliment- land. So I'm working on letting the good things land.
Find great people.
They are worth their weight in gold. Finding people who align and who are willing to give honest feedback, even when it's hard...are irreplaceable!
Value your own time.
You can say no while still respecting others, and in doing so, honor your own intentions for the day. I've had to realize that the more I value my time the more I value others. I don't want my response to always be "busy" for when people ask me how I am. I want to have the time to be a good mom, to stop and read that one extra book. But if I don't protect my time then it will disappear and I won't be the one deciding where it's going.
Incorporate systems that work well for you and your team.
Don’t stress if you don’t have every system in place from the get-go. Work towards flow. If something isn't working, try something else. For me, my system is...don't rely on my brain to hold it all. I am crazy about my 'to-do' list so that I don't have to rely on memory.
Do what you say you’re going to do.
Follow up when you say you will, apologize when you forget, and give yourself lots and lots of grace.
Surround yourself with people you love.
Focus on the people who show up for you, not the ones who don’t. When you start a company, you quickly find out who your real supporters are. Those that show up, really show up. They celebrate your wins and cheer you on even when you’ve had a rough day. Keep those people close. And remember to celebrate them when they have a win! We can get so busy but cultivating a community reminds you of the importance of being seen and known. Not for your job or what you "do" but just because you are you.
A supportive partner is irreplaceable. Thank you Levi! I've found a deeper growth and appreciation for my relationship with my husband. We aren't perfect but having someone who really wants the best for you and who is willing to walk alongside you while you change and grow. That is true beauty.
Own Your Energy.
You control the energy of the company and yourself. When I’m frantic, calm, bold, etc—all that energy impacts the company. There is power in knowing you are its source and adjusting accordingly. If you feel exhausted, burnt-out - listen to your body! Your energy is telling you something...listen.