How I Built My Pack and Survived The Hunt
We just moved across the country for the second time in one year. On both moves, I had a system that included a task list, timelines, and lofty goals. We had every box unpacked within 48 hours of receiving the keys to our new home. Every single box. That’s just how I operate. I don’t sleep until it’s done. At some point, I typically crash. After all, I’m not superhuman, but I have this need for every dish to be in its place, the throw pillows on the couch, and the right pictures hung on the right walls to feel settled. I never realized how “weird” this quality was until I had friends, family, and my sweet spouse point out that I waste no time and I move too quickly. It has left me thinking about this type of motivation and where it comes from, and to me, it just feels like I don’t really have a choice.
Moving for us didn’t just consist of packing up our dishes and towels and driving them over 2,100 miles (each way). It also meant moving my business to new markets. I was tasked with finding a new network, advertising my services in a new area, learning the culture and demands of a drastically different part of the country. From the Gulf Coast of Florida to Bozeman, Montana, to North Carolina, I have been challenged with growing my business without an instant network. I needed to find other entrepreneurs, women who uplift and encourage. I had to find my pack.
Although the #BossLady movement seems to be moving strong, there are still a lot of mountains that women have to climb in business. The misconception is that the one who makes it to the top first, wins. The truth is, we don’t have to climb alone, and we might even be more successful if we trek the hike as a team. The thing about starting your own business, even if it’s with a partner, with an MBA, or with a super supportive spouse, is that you wear every hat. You are the accountant, the sales manager, the marketer, the lawyer, the operations manager, the CEO, the human resources manager, the list goes on. No one can be an expert at everything and everyone needs help, even the super independent types (looking at myself here).
When I started my business, I would have described myself as self-confident, organized, a “get shit done” kind of girl (surprise, surprise). I still consider myself those things, but being a business owner has challenged me in ways I would never have imagined. I have fallen on my face, I have woken up in the middle of the night terrified I forgot something important, I have stared at my taxes feeling overwhelmed, and I have navigated the waters of client management, billing, and company policies. I have learned things the hard way and I have hit home runs. Some of those pitches, I never saw coming. That’s why we (SheWolf’s Co-Founder and I) created a circle of trust, a pack of women who could be competitors but instead choose to band together.
Because of the SheWolf concept, in the last year, I have been lucky enough to have the guidance, help, and listening ears of some of the most inspirational women I know. These women are all about inclusiveness, sharing knowledge and experiences, helping each other, and embracing their inner shewolf. These were women who had already blazed that trail, climbed that mountain. Some had been running their businesses for longer, some just more skilled at certain aspects of business, and some are tough as nails and gave others the permission to be tough as well, despite the risk of being labeled “bossy” or better yet, a “bitch.” These ladies had already encountered conflict, hard lessons, hard decisions, asking for the raise, sticking to their guns (and their prices) and they were willing to talk about it.
Just like the trek across the country, with everything we owned in tow, the business journey in the last year has had ups and downs, new and scary experiences, but we have survived. The keyword is “we.” The gals I speak of are now official SheWolves, part of pack specializing in different creative skills and banding together for projects that can benefit from a collaborative approach. SheWolf has grown into a strong unit, a non-agency agency, and a group of comrades and colleagues. With the strength of the pack, I’ve added to and edited our proposal, our contract, our marketing calendar, our vision. Together, we have created a better customer experience, a more efficient workflow, and a better product. The key was finding those that fit perfectly in our pack. They had to be dedicated, strong, talented, but most of all reliable and collaborative.
I think the moment I realized I was really proud of the ladies who have joined SheWolf was actually recent. We acquired a client who had several sticks in the fire, growing an existing business, opening a new location, and campaigning for a clientele in an increasingly competitive market. I watched as each of our pack members went above and beyond on their part and contributions, added to the strength of the overall strategy and executed with perfection. We brainstormed together, we created a communication platform, and the result was a cohesive and consistently branded product. Since, I have hired many of these women to help with my own brand refresh, because we all know that branding yourself can be one of the hardest things to do, and sometimes an outside look is exactly what you need. When you’re willing to trust someone with your own brand, you get a glimpse of how potential clients view you, and it’s important to stay current, to audit your own business, and to be flexible, allowing yourself to change in order to grow.
The key to success is to ask for help. That’s right, ask. I know, I almost choked when I learned I had to do this myself. Create a pack of your own, a group you can trust and learn from. Talk about the hard things, talk about the way you’re feeling, talk about the ups and downs of every day of business ownership. Talk about the “balance” and how you’ve achieved it. Surround yourself with people who are like-minded, but are willing to tell you the truth when you ask. Surround yourself with women who will challenge and uplift you at the same time. Oftentimes, it takes knowing we have a pack behind us to be a little bit bolder, a little bit wiser, a little bit stronger. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, and to make it, you need to build your pack, embrace your inner SheWolf and not apologize for it.
Post Written By: Jordan Lacenski, Co-Founder of SheWolf Collaborative