Four years ago, Jenni, Sabena and I started BOXFOX. It was November 7th, 2014. We had been meeting most nights since January of that year and it had all led to that moment, sitting around the kitchen table in our Venice apartment at 6a where we sent out an email to every person we had ever met, directing them to our freshly minted website. Since then, we've learned a lot. Every business owner will tell you about how, “learning to delegate is hard” and that, “you should always put the customer first” (both are very true), but I wanted to talk about some of the lessons I learned that I didn’t see coming. Thinking back on how far we’ve come in 4 years and for the love that all is holy (would you look at Karen Smith’s gym clothes?!), I put together a list of my 4 most important revelations:
1. Networking will not go away, get over it:
It seems that in the blink of an eye, my cofounders and I went from staying up late packing boxes ourselves to managing a team of over 20+ employees. Even with the best team ever formed (hi guys!) managing people is mentally exhausting. I wake up worrying about their happiness, their professional trajectory, their inner-office relations, their new puppy, their grandparents and that’s all before Tuesday! Its not something I ever really thought about that first year, but it's a huge and important part of our days and a skill that takes constant practice and investment.
3. Everyone has an opinion, learn to pivot and educate:
4. Your word is everything:
I used to over extend myself, qualify my opinions, or halfheartedly agree with things to make people happier. "Sure, I can be at work for 12 hours in December then stop by your book launch then make it in time to your Christmas party! I can do anything!" But I can't, and I won't. I was so worried about disappointing people, but I realized being direct, concise and honest just made everyone happier in the long run. Not only that, but focusing my time and energy efficiently makes me a better friend and boss. When we say something, we mean it, and that attitude trickles down into our business relationships, our company culture, and our customer service.