Celebrating Five Years of Six Words
By Corinne Impey
Five years! I can hardly believe it’s been half a decade since we launched Six Words. To say I’ve learned a lot in this time is a huge understatement.
Whether it was figuring out how to manage my days, manage small business finances or hire my first employee – there have been countless learnings. And then, of course, are the lessons in delivering communication services to a roster of diverse clients. The fun never stops.
It has been a journey, and no journey is complete without a look back. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the last five years.
Lesson 1: Surround Yourself with People Who Believe in You
From friends, to clients, to my accountant and other mentors, I am so grateful for the support and encouragement I receive from others. In fact, Six Words came about thanks to the encouraging words of my friend Irene who reassured me I could in fact do it (thanks Irene!). There is something so powerful about being surrounded by people who believe in your potential, and perhaps more importantly, tell you so. A few words of encouragement or an insightful comment can help you keep going when things get tough. Now that I appreciate how much this matters, it’s my turn to pay it forward.
Lesson 2: Stay True to Your Goals and Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Once we hit year two and incorporated, everything changed. I stopped looking at Six Words as one big experiment, and instead saw it as a viable business and career for myself and others. How cool is that? But I also started grappling with questions of growth. Was the goal to grow? How many clients could we take on before we hired more people? Did I want an office and a large team? What did I want Six Words to look like? As a driven person, I struggled with these questions. While I was attracted to the idea of growth, I didn’t want growth for the sake of growth. I also didn’t want to compromise how we worked or who we worked with. I wanted (and still want) to do work that matters and creates positive impact in the world. I want to work with people and companies who have similar values to us, and quite frankly make work fun. I also want freedom in my personal life – freedom that allows me to travel, take large chunks of time off and work from anywhere. Sometimes this means saying “no thank you” to opportunities. Sometimes it means walking away before things start, or even harder, once you’re well-embedded in a team. Sure it can be difficult, but at the end of the day, making choices that are true to your goals and values always seems to pay off.
Lesson 3: Choice is the Greatest Privilege
One of the greatest privileges of being an entrepreneur is choice. You get to choose everything. From the work you do, to when you do it, and who you do it with – the choices are all yours. It can be exhausting (and scary), but it is also incredibly freeing. And while it’s taken me time to optimize how I work, learn how and when to say no, and let go of the guilt of not always working, it’s absolutely worth it. All you have to do is give yourself permission. Permission to take breaks. Permission to pause and think. Permission to set boundaries. Permission to choose to build the business and life you want.
Lesson 4: Pay Attention to Red Flags
You know that little voice that tells you right from wrong? Whether you call it your gut, your heart or your intuition, I’ve learned that in most cases it is right. Whether it is red flags creeping up during client intake meetings, or nagging feelings around key decisions, I am trying to stay close to this voice and trust it. When I don’t, I always seem to be (figuratively) kicking myself for ignoring the warning signs.
Lesson 5: Your Team Can be a Lifeline
The Six Words team is small, and mighty. From the beginning, we’ve worked with exceptional people. I am so grateful for and impressed by my designer Nadine who continues to wow me with her skills and her ability to always over deliver. The web developers we work with show up fully in each project – working their magic to turn vision into reality. Then there are our brilliant PR and writer friends who always make time to share advice or take on projects with me. And finally, the Six Words’ Communication Coordinators who simply get things done. They also continuously push me to do better and keep me grounded when things get crazy. I have learned so much from Nicole and Kajsa – both as a leader and a human. Each member of the Six Words team (no matter how informal), ensures we continue to deliver exceptional work for our clients and make an impact in the world.
So there you have it – five years in and no plans to slow down. Cheers to all that lies ahead!