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5 lessons for 5 years of business

5 lessons for 5 years of business

| Kyndra Bailey
5 for 5! I'm closing out this series with my favorite topic: five big life lessons I've learned in five years of business.

Kyn you even believe it?? KYBI is officially FIVE YEARS OLD. I’m not crying – you’re crying! 😭

5 feels like a pretty big milestone, so you knowwww I’m going all out with All The Things today like usual (cake, balloons, candles, a birthday collection) but I’ve also added a 5 for 5 blog series into the mix!

This is blog 5 of 5 in the “5 for 5 series,” where I’ve been posting a blog with “5 things [xyz]” every week leading up to the biz birthday. This is the final culmination of the series: 5 big life lessons for 5 years of business. :’)

I’m not being dramatic when I say this business is the best thing that’s ever happened to me – it allows me to be creative every single day, never stop learning, and most importantly, do what I love!

That said, I do my best to keep my personality detached from Kyn You Believe It as much as I can (after all, I am more than just a business owner), but to an extent, this business has always been an extension of “me.” And the reverse of that fact is that this business has caused “me” to change as it’s grown into what it is today. So with all that said, I figured – what better 5 for 5 topic to write about than “5 life lessons my business has taught me.”

I’ve been looking forward to this blog the most, hence why I saved it for last. Let’s get to it. 🙂

1. Asking for help is literally soooo cool.

I’m leading with this lesson because it has been SUCH a major player in the past year for KYBI. For those of you who don’t know, the KYBI team officially started growing in February 2023, and since then, it’s grown to a total of 3 people on payroll & me, plus a rotating cast of people who’ve helped out on a contractor basis.

As someone who is notorious about refusing to ask for help, these developments were a Big Deal for me, and it has paid off BIG TIME. Despite it being our busiest year yet, Feb 2023-Feb 2024 has been the least stressful year for running KYBI, and it is 100% thanks to the fact that I’m not doing things alone anymore.

Now the big caveat here is that a lot of the help I’m currently getting is thanks to an increase in business revenue. That said, I’m not just talking about the help that you pay for here! One of the best examples I can give is that I always ask Trey to take the lead on dinner and grocery shopping during the period of Nov 15-Dec 15, knowing from experience that my mental energy is perpetually depleted during this time.

It took me a long time to learn to ask my friends and family for help when I need it – whether it be in biz life/personal, packing orders/opinions/helping with random tasks, or just needing extra support – but life is so much better now that I’m comfortable with it. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human, and it shows that you’re aware of your limits.

2. Community & connection > any metric out there. (This life lesson is more biz-centered, so bear with me!)

Raise your hand if social media often leaves you feeling less “connected” and overall just “less-than.” 🙋🏻 Yeah, same. I’ve been battling this fact for a while, but social media remains a necessary tool for KYBI – it’s one of the biggest ways I connect with customers, and I’d be genuinely sad to leave it behind. I have boundaries in place that help keep my relationship with social media healthy, but my biggest tip? Don’t give a shit about metrics.

Follower count? Doesn’t matter. A post flopped? Oh well. Didn’t get any comments on that reel you spent an hour on? Better luck next time.

Every social media guru out there will tell you this is the worst advice ever, but as someone who has “been there, done that” with agonizing over metrics, I can’t tell you how detrimental it is. The algorithm and the way people engage with your content is out of your hands, so why bother analyzing every single thing about it?

I’m not saying to be careless with social media; I’m telling you to change where your focus lies, and that should be in connecting with your audience. Post questions to learn more about them, let them engage with your stories through polls & quizzes, get them involved in the design process! This makes social media more fun for everyone involved, and eventually, social media won’t even feel like a task. You’ll start to think “I can’t wait to tell my internet friends about this,” because truly – there are so many followers on social media that feel like friends to me.

Keep in mind though: engagement is a two way street, and the way you engage with your audience needs to be genuine. If you’re just throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping it will stick, (spoiler alert!) it won’t.

I saw a TikTok last month of someone chatting about what they enjoyed seeing on social media versus what they didn’t, and I loved the way they described it: it’s more enjoyable to care about the person first, then be excited about what they’re wearing VERSUS liking what a person is wearing and then choosing to follow along & engage because of that. People crave genuine connection, and that fact alone will make them more excited to follow along.

And take it from me: once you start focusing more on your community than your metrics, the rest of everything will magically follow. I truly believe that good metrics on social media is a side effect of connection on social media – not the other way around.

Side note: ignoring metrics is a practice I follow in many aspects of my business, not just social media! Instead of focusing how well a launch did compared to this time last year, I focus on how much I like the products and how much they resonate with my audience. Instead of focusing on how many website clicks I get, I focus on making sure the website reflects my personality and presents my products well. Again – I’m sure this advice would make strategy experts keel over, but it works for me, and I’ve never felt more free. :)

3. Every moment deserves to be celebrated (if you want it to be)

If you haven’t noticed from all the birthday chatter over the past weeks, I’m a gal who LOVES to celebrate, but it wasn’t always that way. Without getting too far into it, I spent a lot of my time in high school & college feeling like I couldn’t celebrate wins that I felt proud of. When I started KYBI, I made a promise to myself that I’d celebrate any moment that felt worth celebrating to me.

These celebrations range in size, but the goal remains the same: to “take the moment and taste it,” as my friend Taylor Swift would say. I never want to stop feeling grateful for the growth that this business has seen, and I never want to take it for granted. Stopping for a moment to celebrate how far I’ve come is now engrained in my bones, and honestly, it helps keep the memories fresh on my mind. I can remember the joy I felt over 100 Etsy sales; I can tell you exactly how it felt when my biggest wholesale order ever came in; and I can still feel the energy from that first viral TikTok, when I was refreshing my notifications like crazy and watching orders roll in.

Obviously I’m leaning towards more of a “party” attitude for KYBI’s 5th birthday, but it doesn’t always have to be like that! You can just pause for a moment, soak it in, and think, “I’m so lucky to be here.” (And maybe make a quick story/feed post on social media; your community that you’ve been building will be excited to celebrate with you!)

Celebrating keeps things fun, and there’s no rule saying what you can or can’t celebrate. That said, if you don’t like being in the center of attention, no worries! You can always take yourself out to dinner and have a moment to yourself, or just share the joy with a loved one. I love to celebrate my wins, and I bet you will too.

4. Rest is so productive & so necessary

I’ve been preaching “rest” since year 2 of KYBI, but can unfortunately confirm that I’m the biggest hypocrite on this planet. I understand and have witnessed the positive effects of rest on my creativity, mental health, and overall well-being, but despite having this understanding, actually getting myself to rest is a whole other story.

I really truly love what I do for KYBI, and the result of this is that I often work longer and later hours than I should. I push my limits until I’ve gone too far, and I often end up having to play catch up with myself in order to get myself to a point where I feel rested again.

It’s not pretty most of the time, and I’m harder on myself than I should be when I catch myself overworking. My work/life/rest balance is constantly out-of-whack, but I can say that I feel better overall when I take time away from the biz and make time for creative endeavors outside of KYBI products.

TBH – I’ll probably be living my hypocritical life to an extent forever, but I’ve gotten better at identifying when I need to slow down and take a breather, and sometimes that’s half the battle. Plus, I usually come back feeling even better than before, and that’s a win for both me and the business, so take it from me, friends: make time to rest, otherwise your body will do it for you.

5. Forward is forward is forward.

These life lessons aren’t in any particular order, as I think they’re all equally important. That said, I wanted this one to close out the blog because it’s my absolute fav and something that has guided me with every birthday collection.

When I first started KYBI, I had an inflated sense of how growth would happen, thinking it’d be quick and easy. I got a reality check shortly after, and have lived by a motto of “keep going, keep growing” ever since, without any time or metric restraints attached to the “growing aspect.” Overtime, I’ve found that focusing on “moving forward” is what keeps me happy in life, no matter how fast or slow that it is, no matter how perfect (or not) it is, and no matter how similar it is to the other creatives I look up to.

Forward is forward is forward, whether you’re running, walking, or crawling, and that’s a beautiful thing. Keep moving forward, and eventually change will come.

This approach also helps me release the pressure of perfectionism, since “done is better than perfect” is 100% a sub-lesson of “keep moving forward.” It makes me think of my favorite Taylor quote: “don’t […] polish the doorknob so long you forget to open the door,” and I think that’s the perfect way to close out this blog.

I’m so glad I opened this door into my life 5 years ago, and I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am to have all of you here. Here’s to five years, and many many more. :’)

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