Episode 74: The 5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned After 3 Years in Business

Memories in Moments

February 26, 2020

I have been doing this work for 3 years. Part of me feels like those 3 years flew, and the other part of me can barely remember not having this business in my life! Throughout this journey of finding myself as a working at home mom, I have learned SO much…and most of it hasn’t been about business! Yes, I’ve learned a ton about building at online business, BUT I have learned even more valuable lessons about being a mom, wife, and woman in these last 3 years…and those are the 5 lessons I’m going to share with you today! Every single mom out there can benefit from these, so don’t think this episode is just for those in any sort of business!

Listen below or head on over to iTunesSpotify, or Stitcher!

Life Lesson #1: I Wasn’t Meant to be a Stay at Home Mom

Evie was born in July and I was supposed to go back to teaching 2nd grade in January. Every single time I thought about going back to work, I’d break down. The thought of leaving her was unthinkable. The desire to be with her was much stronger than the desire to go back to work, and I say that being incredibly fortunate that we were in a financial position to make that decision. I LOVED teaching. It was a huge part of my identify and it never even occurred to them that I wouldn’t go back after having my daughter. 

The stay at home mom gig was really good for awhile. I sent to my hospital’s parent baby group and met my tribe- the women I talk to multiple times a day and love me and my family unconditionally. When we were all home, we would hang out all the time passing the time, my sister was nannying a little boy two months older than Ev and we were together a lot. It was a really special time. 

Then I got pregnant and had Hudson and that transition from one to two kids was very hard for me. I didn’t handle it well and I immediately felt lost.

Here I had given up my first love of teaching to stay home, which I did love…for awhile. Then the kids got a little older and did different school schedules and my sister moved jobs and I felt a little lost. That need to be doing something was very strong, although I had zero clue at the time that that would mean a business.

You can hear the whole breakdown of how I thought of my business Allison Carter Celebrates and how I built it in Episode 31: A Look Back Into Starting my Business

After saying yes and committing to make the Party Plans an actual business, I felt a lightness I hadn’t felt in a looooong time. It was like a stepped into something that was just waiting for me. Felt like coming home. It sounds insanely cheesy and dramatic but I really don’t know how to describe it another way!

I had something else to focus on.Those kids, then 3 and 6 months old, still needed their mom the majority of the day, but when they were both crying or making a mess or driving me nuts, I knew in the back of my head that come nap time I had something so fun I got to work on.

I got to use my gifts to help another mom and that pull kept me from snapping. It allowed me to be present with them in those moments and be mom because I knew that when I had a bit of a break, I got the opportunity to flex a different muscle. It made me sort of feel like I was leading a double life or I had this secret, but not for long! 

I now know a big part of why I felt so lost was because I wasn’t meant to be a stay at home mom.

I was meant to step into my talents, use my background in teaching, to teach moms a new way of celebrating.

I’m able to impact a family and help a fellow mama out in between carpool and school drop offs and thats pretty damn great.

I’ve never felt guilty over feeling like this either, or working with my kids around for that matter. They don’t know any different- at 3 and 6 months, their memories are mommy helping other mommys with their parties. Why would I feel guilt over showing them that they can literally build something out of nothing, achieving goals and impacting the community while they’re at it?

Yes, I sacrifice some time with them, but it means the time I do spend with them is intentional and thoughtful.

Working at home is freaking hard. It’s SO hard to focus sometimes. Theres snack requests, doorbell rings, dishes in the sink, inconsistent block of time to work, but I make it work.

I’ve become obsessed with how I spend my time. I am crystal clear on what needs to be done each day and am realistic in knowing if I can complete them in a day mostly dictated by a 6 and 3 year old’s schedule.

It’s possible, it’s hard, but it’s possible and each day gets a little easier!

Total work in progress still 3 years at this life, but worth every second. I wasn’t meant to be a stay at home mom, I was meant to be an entrepreneur, trust me, it’s shocked me the most, let me tell ya!

Life Lesson #2: My Customers Are the Guide- Follow Their Lead

So in years prior to this one, my customers or you the listeners would ask me for things and my gut was always no. Sounds so bad but its true. I fully thought I knew what was best. I cracked the code to time and stress saving parties so just listen to me would ya?! Yeah, that ego got in check real fast when you’re excited and confident in something and you hear crickets. Not a sound a business owner wants to hear!

Party Plans were build on feedback from my audience.

I want you to find options for my kid to wear to the party- done.

I want multiple favor ideas in various price points that parents and kids will actually use- on it!

I would love if there was a checklist included- okay, love that, creating that now!

The biggest one? They need to be cheaper.

Ouch.

Time is money. As a business owner I have a deep understanding of that. Party Plans take me between 3-4 full work days to create and curate. The thought of slicing the price of them by and ultimately what my time was worth by almost half made me sick to my stomach.

I said no.

And then I said yes and let’s all take a guess on what happened!

They started getting downloaded- people were buying them…on a regular basis. Well this feels good!

Listening equals success.

The biggest yes I’ve said thus far is yes to the boxes.

Memories in Moments: Unwrapped is a direct request from many many many of you.

“Allison, we love your ideas, they are so fun and sound so easy, I know my kids would love them but…time. I still don’t have the time to do them. Wouldn’t it be great if you did it for me and I bought it???”

Uh no. That sounds like a logistical nightmare actually, but thanks for the feedback.!

Well, time to suck it up again, sister.

After about the 101th request for a physical representation of my ideas, most of which came from this podcast, I turned that no into a what if. What would it look like if…quickly turned into a big, scary YES.

Best decision ever.

Those boxes have completely changed my business and the impact it has on my family and my community. That pay off is starting to happen. I was even able to donate 60 boxes the the Ronald McDonald House of Seattle for families spending the holidays away from home.

When you first start a business, theres this time wasting fear. Am I wasting my time for nothing? While I never saw my business as a waste of time because it was making me so happy…I definitely didn’t want my effort wasted. I knew I had something special and Unwrapped is growing every single day and is the most fun I’ve had in awhile.

I’m obsessed with dreaming up the themes, shopping and lovingly putting each box together. Down to the sticker holding the tissue shut to the sprinkle of confetti (a nod to my original business name- shout out to Confetti Party Plans!), I have thought through every detail and how I can make even the unboxing a memorable experience.

Thank YOU for continuing to show up and ask me for things. I know now that you are my guide.

So I’m here to be led.

Never feel weird asking me for something or giving me feedback, I am all ears and genuinely want to serve you in the ways you need.

Life Lesson #3: I am a Lot Smarter, Braver, Stronger than I Give Myself Credit for

Oh boy. The things I’ve done in this business have shocked me and I’m a pretty confident and outgoing person. This may sound weird or egotistical but I’m going to say it anyway- I am my biggest fan. I think you need a little of that when it comes to being an entrepreneur. I believe so deep in me that my idea and this business is growing to be something massive.

Do I know exactly what that means or how to get there?

No.

Every year so far has brought something new that I wasn’t planning on starting that year. I surprise attack myself constantly.

Year 1 parties, year 2 this podcast, year 3 Unwrapped boxes.

Year 4, 5, 6 and beyond- who the hell knows? But I’m here for the ride and I know that I am more than capable in making it happen.

I have learned so much about the back end of running a business. If you had told that nap time mom 3 years ago that I’d be attending webinars teaching about social media practices or passionately talking about business and problem solving with others I’d have laughed. I’ve never even taken a business let alone economics class before? And now I could talk business alllll day and be the happiest girl in the room. Every single thing I need to do I’ve figured out.

Marie Forleo has an incredible book called Everything is Figuroutable which I recommend to anyone- don’t need to be businessy! Her steps and guide to figuring out how to get from point a to b is so easy and makes so much sense. Great read, definitely check it out if there’s a problem or goal you’re working toward!

Photo Credit: Marie Forleo’s Instagram

Life Lesson #4: It’s ALWAYS a No Until it’s a Yes!

Pitching. Zero clue that was part of this shindig.

Year 2 my goal was visibility. I wanted more people to have eyes on what I was doing. The more eyes the more families I could impact.

I thought that meant growing on social media and more Instagram followers…not get your face and story featured in a major publication like Forbes. True story!

I started to quickly see that my audience grew when I was featured in different media. That audience then started to trust me and turned into customers. It was like a magic little formula!

I get asked a ton about how I pitch my business and how I feel when someone gives me a no.

Two mindset shifts have to happen before you get confident to put yourself out there. 

Some of the nos have been disappointing, I won’t lie and say they aren’t because the potential of the yes is so exciting! BUT you are always sitting on a no unless you go for the ask.

So first shift, anything you do will always be a no until you go for the ask. Then two things happen- it either stays a no (no harm no foul) or you get a yes! Yay!

I’m talking about media, but this really is a life lesson for so many things. Asking for help, giving yourself permission, literally taking action on anything.

So…what yes are you sitting on? There’s a yes out there for you that’s waiting to reveal itself. I wonder what that next yes is going to be!

Second mindset shift- it is selfish of me to keep this to myself.

I have gifts, talents and a superpower that deserves to be out into the world. I truly believe that about all of us. Each of us have something unique about us that is meant to be shared with the world.

Whenever I get nervous or second guess my credibility, I remind myself that I’m being selfish. It’s selfish of me not to share my ideas, Party Plans, and boxes with you. It’s selfish of me not to save that time and energy for a mom that needs it.

When I put it on others and turn it around to how I’m doing a disservice, it gives a major boost in wanting to go for it with confidence! Try it and see what happens!

Life Lesson #5: Nothing is Impossible

I know, I know, cheeseball but you guys, seriously, I never in my life thought I would be where I am in my life right now!

I am so insanely fulfilled and happy. My business brings so much joy to my life, which in turn allows me to bring joy to not only my family but thousands of families around the world. Blows my mind constantly.

To know that someone serving our country in Germany made snow globes from her Christmas Unwrapped box with her son for the holidays, or a mom in Australia saved 10+ hours planning a first birthday party for her twins. That seemed so far fetched just 3 years ago!

I know that I can make things happen if I set aside the time and effort to work toward them.

I am a mom first, a mom of young kids, so I fully understand that building this takes time and may go longer than it would if I had more time to dedicate to it, but I’m totally fine with it.

It’s going to happen how it happens and I’m having a dang good time doing it so cheers to you sweet friend for listening and being along for this ride. I can’t even tell you how grateful I am for the faith and trust you have in me. Cheers to an epic year 4 and all the possibilities and opportunities it’ll bring! I just can’t wait!

If you’d like to celebrate this business birthday of mine, I would be SO indebted to you if you’d leave this podcast a review on iTunes.

5 star rating and a review about what you like and any value you’ve gotten in these 74 shows would be amazing. It seriously means so much and has such an impact on the success of the show.

Thank you!!

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Allison Carter is celebrating starting her business 3 years ago by sharing the 5 life lessons she has learned so far as a mom, wife, and woman in this podcast

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