With each passing year, I learn I actually know far less than I thought I did the year before (is that wisdom -- to know you don't actually know anything at all?). So, when I set out to "make a difference" with this little business all these years ago, little did I know just how hard it was going to be...
Thanks to my parents, I've always had a strong work ethic, a give-it-all-you-got mentality, and why I tend to put my heart and soul into virtually everything I do, including my past life in corporate marketing & advertising. Unfortunately, I learned, after one too many all-nighters, and banging my head against a figurative wall year-after-year - the corporate world didn't care about my heart, and it didn't care about my soul. And it's why I called it quits. Surely there had to be a better way to make a living... and so began pucciManuli.
I think like most small businesses starting out, I was guilty of the often naive, "I'm going to change/conquer/enlighten the world" mentality. Bring it on, I'm ready! AND - I'm going to do it on MY terms - and in record time!
Wow. Not so much... What virtually every small business owner will tell you if you ask them is that you will never work harder in your entire life. You often find yourself in a perpetual state of hustle. 16-hour days, seven day weeks, 52 week years is more common than not - and it can be exhausting (especially as a sole proprietor). Add in a (un)healthy dose of perfectionism, and - well, I'm just happy I haven't completely lost my mind.
But here's the thing... For me, there's nothing quite as exhilarating as having the opportunity to celebrate those little victories. Sometimes, you get a chance to make someone's day, or brighten someone's mood, or offer someone respite from the crazy-paced life we all seem to have adopted when we embraced technology with all of it's benefits. And sometimes it's simply that you made it through a tough day or tough week and somehow you're still standing. On the flip side of that, when something doesn't end up as you anticipated and/or planned for - or crashed and burned (and it inevitably always does), you can look yourself in the mirror and say, "ok, we're not going to do THAT again!" At the end of the day though, at least for me, I think it's about wanting to be seen and heard for who I am, flaws and all, and accepted. And matter. And the hope that maybe - just maybe - I had the ability, through my (sometimes seemingly insignificant) small business, to put a smile on someone's face.
So, the next time you venture out or on(line), I hope you'll consider all the small businesses out there. Because they matter. They matter in a big, profound way (not to mention they make up upwards of 95% of business in the U.S. with fewer than 10 employees). Each and every one of them. It's these very small businesses who know your faces. They know your names, and your kids' names. They know what you like and don't like. They oftentimes go the extra mile for you. And they contribute to, and have a direct impact on, your local economy.
And the owners of these small businesses? They all have their own hopes and dreams, and believe they can make a difference - whether it's in your life, or the life of your friends and family, or your neighbor next door or the person down around the bend. And you know what? They do. They make a very big difference.
So, from this small business owner, thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting the small, the nimble, and most importantly, the human.
with all my gratitude,