Refining My Business and Getting Back to My Roots
The current Covid-19 pandemic has given me time to think, to reflect.
As I reflect on my business, how it came to be, and as I look to the future and where I want it to go, I realize that I’ve lost track of my roots. I’ve taken on projects that while financially successful, have come at a greater cost – projects that I’m not emotionally invested in and a few relationships that proved to be less collaborative than I would like. They weren’t the ‘wrong’ projects for where I was in that moment and they weren’t bad projects, but they were the wrong ones for where I want to go and the work that I am passionate about. I wasn’t intentional enough. I wasn’t specific enough. And I wasn’t passionate enough.
Thinking back to 2.5 years ago, when I decided to start my company, I realize that I didn’t ask, let alone answer, many of the tough questions that I’m asking myself now. I wanted to start a company to do things different, to work on great projects in a collaborative way, and to do high quality work that was important to me.
These are all great things, and things that I still want to do – but I didn’t dig deeper into each to identify what does success look like? How do I want my company to be different? Different than whom? What defines a ‘great’ project for my business? What is the work that is truly important to me?
The Covid-19 pandemic has given me time to think about these things and to reflect on my business and to answer these questions, that admittedly, needed to be answered when I started. As I sit here thinking about them, I am certain that the answers would have been different to some if not many of these if I had answered them 2.5 years ago. Which also makes me realize that these answers will probably continue to evolve and change as the business grows, our clients grow, and the world changes. Change is inevitable, but how it impacts our business needs to be strategic and well thought through.
This time is hard – business is slow, most locations have stopped all non-essential construction, NYC has even stopped all design work. While it’s slow this is partially what has given me the space for this reflection and the goal of moving things forward and being well positioned to launch forward when we lift from this haze. My husband and I are both working and juggling taking care of the kids, keeping them engaged, entertained, and learning.
If I think back to 2.5 years ago, while not that long ago, so much has happened. I decided to launch my business and our first daughter, Blake, was 8 months old. It made it both easier and harder…I worked from home, I had a handful of projects that I launched with – good projects, not my ideal work (although I hadn’t really defined what that was), but it was really good to get started. When Blake was 11 months old, I was pregnant with our second daughter, Eliza.
The focus of my work took on more of keep the business going with work that is ‘interesting enough’, but don’t try to grow it much because I knew that I wanted to take some time off after Ellie was born. The projects miraculously aligned where I had a lull in work after Ellie was born and before projects went into construction. That was 1.5 years ago. I took on a few new projects and completed construction on some of those projects which brings me to now.
I feel like the first 2.5 years of CGLA has been about learning…learning what it means to have a business, how to run some of the operations of a business, how to outsource the ‘right’ things to increase bandwidth without too much overhead, and how to be a mom and what it means to be a mom. That’s a lot!
Every day is about learning something.
So, as I think back, and think that I could have been more intentional when I started, and when I compare myself and my business to others, and know that I could be further in my journey and in growing my firm – than I am right now – had I been more intentional with the work that I took on and answering all the questions that I am tackling now, I don’t know if the foundation would have been as strong or if the direction would be the same.
The time that I have to reflect on the business right now, actually fells like it’s coming at the right time. I feel ready to define who CGLA and to put CGLA out there in a way that I haven’t before.
I feel ready to connect who I am and what’s important to me, to my business in a way that isn’t about proving something to others, or being the business that I think others think I should have, but what is it that will make the work and the business exciting, interesting, and important to me. If it is meaningful to me, I can offer better service and better value to our clients.
Welcome to CGLA.