My business development mentor challenged me to make a choice during one of our weekend intensives. I nervously explained the dilemma to my colleagues as they listened and empathized. They knew how much I loved both pieces of my work. Several said, “Why do you have to choose? Can’t you just keep doing both?” To which my mentor replied, “Not Kristen. She’s too thorough, and to do it well will require her undivided attention.”
They became silent. All eyes were on me.
I had just presented to them that over the course of that year 20 percent of my revenue came from the style arm of my business and 80 percent came from brand development work. “Make a decision in the next 24 hours,” my mentor said.
I knew what I had to do. The numbers told me. My intuition told me. I just didn’t want to do it. I thought to myself:
- What if styling is indeed the more successful way to go?
- What if styling will grow faster?
- What if I’m not skilled enough at branding?
- What if I failed?
These were all real fears. I had just crossed the 6-figure mark in this business and I didn’t want to screw it up. But I knew not choosing was a way to play it safe. It would have kept me at the same level, essentially hiding. If I wanted to make a bigger impact in the world and double my revenue for the third year in a row, I had to put my big girl panties on and call this shot.
So I did.
The next day at check-in, my colleagues and mentor each looked at me with expectant eyebrows. “I choose branding,” and as I said it, I breathed a slight sigh of relief — and felt my heart break.
The dream of entrepreneurship is that you get to do it “your way” — for awhile. As I grew, I learned that the mature business owner isn’t invested in “her way” more than she’s invested in her business’s success. Sometimes, you have to put your business’s needs before your own desires for both to be fulfilled.
This single choice set the stage for my business to grow in revenue by 60% in the next year. In the end it came down to the answer to this one question: What path will allow you to do the work that makes you feel most alive and impact the most people possible while doing it?
Have you ever had a major business decision to make? What criteria have you used to make it? Let me know in the comments below.
Kristen Domingue is a member of the DailyWorth Experts program. Read more about the program here.