This year did not kick off quite as planned. We had a schedule, a lineup, and a detailed plan. We were ready to rock it. Then the unexpected happened (family emergency) and we had to shift to Plan B. Despite this abrupt schedule change, including unexpected travel, two business opportunities appeared in our midst that otherwise may never have happened.
Before I get to those two items, it’s important to note that a real focus of mine has been to get better at learning to breathe and look at the unforeseen as a positive adventure. (To be real, this is long overdue, and I’m not suggesting I’m an expert at it, but progress is definitely being made.)
Okay, back to this year… In January, a serious illness occurred in the family that called for travel to Colorado - which meant ten days away from the business. Now, this is a good news, bad news story because if you have to fly off for an emergency, Durango, Colorado is a pretty spectacular destination, especially if you’re in a business that connects with artistic creativity. That said, it was ten days largely out of pocket, with my time committed to working together to support family.
Two things happened during this trip that reinforced my effort to be open to adventure. (As James Wedmore shares on his Mind Your Business podcast, “allow opportunities to come to you.”) Before I departed for Durango, I searched on a whim for ‘ceramic artists’ to see if any of potential interest were located in Durango. What I found was Lorna Meaden Pottery. If you’re into quality craftsmanship, as we are at Red & Rugged, this was a blessing. I reached out, we exchanged several messages, and in the end, I was able to swing by and visit her in studio, in person. What a joy! This led to finding a little gallery on Main Street in town, (Called “&”) to purchase more beautiful pottery. Beyond the new purchases, I learned of prominent websites and organizations we should be aware of, and the name of a ceramics industry event Lorna suggested we attend. The chance to find beautiful new items potentially for placement in our custom gift boxes, and add to our list of networking events with influential artists, is at the core of our business. Jackpot!
Meeting the artists is so important to us, and on the flip side, having us be more than a name on an email to artists, is also key. Business is still all about relationships.
The second opportunity that presented itself during my two mile “commute” was the discovery of an amazing photo shoot location. Fort Lewis College is perched high above the town of Durango and offers a spectacular 360 view. I drove past the College every day. And as luck would have it, we had access to a cool Willys Jeep truck that was perfect for the backdrop. (Side note: family was able to join us for this blast of fresh air and enjoy the scenery with us!) We did not hire a photographer, we used my cell phone and went to work. As you can see from the photo examples in this blog, we now have unique profile photos to use as content across our web site.
Being out-of-pocket was not ideal, and yes, I missed a few self-imposed content deadlines as a result. However, as Jenna Kutcher says in her Goaldiggerpodcast, I had to give myself some grace and let it go. Ironically, I'm typing this blog from the hotel, at the NCECA conference, which Lorna brought to my attention during this trip. (And you know I now have even more beautiful ceramic pieces in hand!)
As you deal with the unexpected in building your business, look for cracks in the sidewalks where the flowers bloom. You might just spot a surprise for your business that otherwise never would have appeared.