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Seventeen months.

 

It's been a year and a half since I propped up cards on a suitcase at the Parkdale Flea, and declared the launch of Gotamago. I can say, without a doubt, that I am now a different person from the girl standing under the tent that day, pictured above in the photograph, smiling brightly and not knowing what I was in for. Here are some of the lessons I've learned seventeen months into this entrepreneurial journey.

Time, not money, is the most valuable resource. We've all heard this adage, of course, but I never actually took it to heart until I sat down and evaluated the time I was spending on projects that did not directly help the growth of my business. It was difficult, but I chose to cut down many opportunities and activities this year to focus on Gotamago. Learning how to allocate time effectively, and to be cognisant of the 80/20 rule every day, was singlehandedly the biggest challenge I faced this year.

Sort out your bookkeeping and business finances as soon as possible. Balance sheet, income statement...say what? I avoided business and accounting courses all my life -- I found them extremely dry, and preferred instead languages, psychology, art and design -- so it's fantastically ironic that I ended up starting my own business. This book helped, as well as this amazing (and free!) software. I'm currently taking an online accounting course and fumbling through bookkeeping tutorials. In hindsight, it would have been good to have learnt all the basics right from the beginning, but I'm catching up. Check back on me in a year.

It's okay to feel like nothing's okay...and that's going to be 80% of the time. It's also okay on a weekday to do laundry at 9am, grocery shop at 11am, walk the dog at 2pm and then work until 1am. That thing about striking the perfect balance? Total myth. I particularly like Randi Zuckerberg's mantra: "Work. Sleep. Family. Fitness. Friends. Pick three."

Know when you need help, and when that time comes, swallow your silly pride and ask for helpI am someone who would rather exhaust my energy doing everything by myself rather than ask for help, and this one was a hard lesson to learn. I literally had to be knocked on the head to admit that I needed help preparing for the One of a Kind Show. Thank goodness I had amazing friends around me that muted their "I told you so"s, and immediately stepped in, and not a moment too late. 

Every little thing amounts to something. Gotamago's logo is inspired by a sticker from a Japanese pastry box that I carefully pressed into my sketchbook eight years ago. The Gooderham Building painting that I finished this year had its beginnings in a photograph that I snapped in 2011. When I was nine, I received a calligraphy set for Christmas, and my love for typography was ignited; little did I know that twenty years later, I would incorporate this passion into stationery design. 

When in doubt, exercise and sleep. The answer will reveal itself shortly after.


10 Comments

Lichia
Lichia

January 04, 2015

Jen, you inspire me so much with your attitude and with what you’ve accomplished in your four years!! Looking forward to another fantastic year of working with you!

Jennifer
Jennifer

January 02, 2015

What a great post! You are bang on on what you have learned! Only took me 4 years! All the Best!!! We love you!

Lichia
Lichia

January 02, 2015

Dwayne: delegation is hard for most artists! It took me a year before I would let anyone else assemble the cards for me. Now I can’t imagine why I ever needed that control! :)

Lichia
Lichia

January 02, 2015

Maya: You’re one of those amazing friends who stepped in. Thank you for being there for me this past year! xo

Dwayne
Dwayne

January 02, 2015

As I begin to get more in depth in the business side of my work, this is very timely and helpful. Time is my biggest weakness as is delegation. That’s what happens when you have such a clear vision of what you want to achieve.

Maya
Maya

December 31, 2014

Love this post, Lichia! Can’t wait to see what the new year will bring :)

Lichia
Lichia

December 31, 2014

Thank you so much, Kim! I hope you have a prosperous new year full of happiness and health!

Kim
Kim

December 31, 2014

Love love love your work! Thanks for sharing your personal entrepreneurial insights. Wishing Gotamago plenty more success in 2015.

Lichia
Lichia

December 30, 2014

Thanks so much for reading, Vanessa! I’ve been so inspired by you as well, and following your adventures in Berlin. Can’t wait to see what the new year has in store for you!

Vanessa
Vanessa

December 30, 2014

Fabulous – it’s super inspiring!! I love the prints we got from you (http://leatherandabel.com/gotamago/) and we are keeping an eye on your website for more stuff! Good luck with the accounting course and keep living the dream :)

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