What really happened this year
"Onwards and upwards"
It doesn't take much to realize that 2013 has been the biggest roller coaster of my life. While I have had many wins, I have had equal losses that have been harder to swallow than I would have liked.
Building a business isn't easy. In fact, it is damn hard. You get on a roll and then one thing happens and it crashes downward until somehow you find the strength that you didn't know existed, then you pull it back in line and then start all over again, hopefully learning from those mistakes and taking the business in a slightly new direction albeit one that has the same end result.
Setting up the US was a dream come true. In some ways I fell in love with the American dream and in others, I was just looking for change. I set up shop in Atlanta, a city that wouldn't be everyone's first choice, but somehow made sense for me at the time and I am glad I did.
The business in the US wasn't a full-time business from day one, instead being a stop and start combination until in June this year. At this time, I made the firm decision to move forward, full steam ahead. That singularly was the best decision I made in 2013, but the hardest one on me personally.
This decision meant that I had to financially and emotionally commit to the US and follow through on every element of my business plan.
It's been far lonelier than I envisaged and no matter how much I have made myself busy through business and social activities - it just doesn't seem to subside. That feeling of isolation, or being alone is like a constant pain that doesn't go away. No amount of success or money seems to change that. I am still sitting there, making all my own decisions, and building this dream with my team by my side, but yet no-one to talk through the ups and downs with the same vested interest that I have.
Personally I have realized many things about myself that I didn't know. For one, I am not as robust as I would like to be and as much strength as I can muster, sometimes its just not enough. My skin seems to be thinner than before - and although criticism I can take, anything personal makes me crumble. I need home comforts and after a year living mostly out of a hotel, I am craving more than ever my own bed and my own things around me.
Having a startup in the US has had many positive aspects on my business, namely company culture. We have designed the culture we dreamt of having, and live and breathe it in everything we do, the people we employ and in times of celebration. There is also a new-found enthusiasm in our brand and how we deliver what we promise.
The downside is "The new girl is always prettier than the girl you took to the dance" so as alluring and lucrative as the US market is, my mentor and friend who said this to me 18 months ago is so correct. If I had invested the money I have invested in the US market, I would have the same, if not more sales in my Australian operations without additional overheads. Having said that, the US market is much larger and the upside of investing in this market and the fast growth Marketing Eye has experienced, has set us up for exponential global growth and reach. We also have opportunities that would not exist for our business, and insights, that have been gained from market intelligence that only the US can provide.
For 2014, its onwards and upwards. Reflecting on the past and taking all the lessons I have learnt into the future, while still maintaining momentum is critical to the next years success - personally and professionally.
Let's see how it goes.