"I am so proud of the risks I took in 2016."
Last year I had the honor of attending a very inspiring conference in Atlanta, GA hosted by Create & Cultivate, where I met some amazing female entrepreneurs sharing their journey and passions for what they do. Among these beautiful pioneers was a very enthusiastic and empowering woman named Maxie McCoy that was speaking and motivating everyone that attended the conference. She recently sent out a 25 question document to reflect back at the previous year, so I decided to do it myself for not only personal use, but a great way to look back at the launch of my business.
In this post I include the 25 questions that she asked, and literally how I answered them. It was such a great way of opening my eyes, looking back at the journey I took, and where I stand coming into 2017. I highly suggest taking the time to answer these questions for yourself, especially if you haven't taken the time to jot down some new goals for the new year...
1. What am I most proud of? Taking risks was a total game changer! It was really important for me to follow my intuition and make changes to benefit my happiness to better my future. It has always been a dream of mine to own my own business, and be my own boss. There is no better feeling when someone asks me, "what do you do for a living?" and I get to respond with, "I'm a small business owner!"
2. What area did I struggle with the most? What lesson did I learn from that struggle? Conformity and not being appreciated by my boss at my full-time job. I learned that only I have the power to change these experiences. It was really gratifying to have my peers always looking to me for advice and guidance, but my leaders simply couldn't understand why they looked up to me versus them.
3. What are my three happiest memories?
- My trip to St. Thomas back in April for being a part of Million Dollar Club at my full-time job.
- Create & Cultivate in Atlanta, GA where I had the opportunity to network with incredible female leaders in their industries.
- Leaving my full-time job to launch my business!
4. What was the biggest lesson I learned this year and who were my teachers? Take risks and follow your gut! There are so many individuals I encountered during the year. Each one has influenced my journey and the decisions made for myself. I am where I am today because of those who encouraged and supported me, just as much as those who doubted me.
5. What did I accomplish? What didn't I accomplish?! With bravery and determination, I took my future into my own two hands. I am paving a path for not only myself, but for my family someday. There is a very long way to go... and this is just the beginning!
6. When was I the most scared? Would I handle that fear the same or different? I was definitely most afraid of walking away from my job and making a huge career change. I would not change a thing about how it happened, everything just fell into place, the timing was just right! I had to jump!!
7. What habit did I form/break that I'll continue into next year? I was very used to being taken advantage of at work and used for my skill set. It benefitted all of my peers, except me! I was run down, achy and fatigued everyday, and aways having to take work home with me even on my days off. Now I have the ability and freedom to use my skill set and energy towards my business, where I can be appreciated for my hard work and passion, as well as making an impact on others.
8. Who made my heart flutter? Of course my boyfriend Frank does a pretty good job of keeping my heart going, especially after three years together!! But hearing feedback from one of my first paying customers truly made me ugly cry! It just re-confirmed that this is the right path for me. I know I'm on to something great and I'm just going to keep growing and moving forward with my business, all while empowering other women to follow their dreams.
9. What was the most synchronistic event that happened to me this year? After launching my business, I began reaching audiences in the news and TV world, as well as public figures with thousand of followers! I don't know what I've done to deserve their attention, but it's a pretty spectacular thing to witness and be a part of. So thank you to all of those who are following my journey so far! Please add me on Instagram @roxyfinamore and my business account @freebirdorganics. Facebook too!
10. Who did I spend the majority of my time with? Was that energizing or draining? A majority of my time was spent at my full-time job, with my staff of 20 and my peers. It was pretty draining honestly, even though I loved coaching and developing my team... I would have much rather had more opportunities to spend quality time with my family, boyfriend, and friends (who I literally never got to see). Being a leader of leaders is super gratifying for me and my own development, but balance is so important to have in life, and it was truly something I didn't have. I knew I needed to make a change.
11. What new skills, hobbies or activities did I try this year? Aside from getting to play around with new branding and product assortments, I finalized creating my own private label skincare line called FreeBird Organics Apothecary. This new line really brought out my passion for all-natural products, loving your skin, and embracing your authentic self just as you are. Since launching my business at the end of the year, the Apothecary line has become my top selling and top grossing collection available for purchase on the entire site!!
12. What was my most magical moment in nature? Being in St. Thomas for Million Dollar Club back in April was pretty spectacular! It was my first big exposure to being surrounded by other leaders and out-of-the-box thinkers. It opened my eyes to see my true potential of how I impact and empower other leaders, and have authentic passion to share.
13. When was I the most fully expressed version of myself? When was I not and why? The couple of times I had to get up in front of large groups of people felt really natural to me. Public speaking has really become something that I'm not afraid of! When I was in #ATL for Create & Cultivate (sick as a dog, of course), I had the opportunity to network with hundreds of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs all weekend, along with my fellow #bossbabe from college, Monica Monique! I was so excited for the experience, but my cold and runny nose with a side of sneezing really held me back from being my BEST self. At meetings for my full-time job, I'd present in front of other leaders for periods of time delivering information with high ENERGY, all without using notecards, just flowing naturally!! Setting up trunk shows and pop-up shops for my business truly went better than expected! My gift-of-gab definitely gives me dry mouth, but certainly shows my passion and sells my product. Yay for being a #girlboss & #bossbabe!!
14. When did I do something wonderful for someone? At the end of the year, I offered my first product giveaway at FBO! It was pretty hard to give away something for FREE after putting in your own time and hard work towards making products by hand... but being able to put a genuine smile on one lucky girls face was pretty satisfying for me. Knowing that I made her a special treat with my own two hands with so much love, made their day! I can't wait to do another giveaway in 2017! Any suggestions? Send me an email or comment below and share your ideas!!
15. When did I allow myself to be helped by someone else? This is something that doesn't come easy to me at all. I am very comfortable working independently! My Mom has been my rock through this entire transition of 2016. I was terrified of allowing her to help me make product. I was making my first batch of soap for purchase, and she can be a bit clumsy and I'm such a control freak and perfectionist (I don't know where I got it from?!) Thank goodness she helped me, I wound up selling out of that first batch so fast and I can honestly say that we made it together! So, thank you Mom for always having my back, supporting me, and being the best Assistant a #girlboss could ask for!
16. What moment brought me the most joy at work? Letting all of my hard work pay off from 2015, and being rewarded with my team in 2016! My trip to St. Thomas was a reward & experience that I will never forget. I soaked in every activity, every speech, and every champagne toast possible! This trip turned my mindset towards attending more conferences and empowering other leaders, especially women.
17. How did I take care of my health? In what ways did I ignore it? OH EM GEE!! I did not take care of myself at all. I allowed my job to completely run me down. I used every excuse in the book to do nothing about it! I was completely SHOT, and refused to work out, barely had time to eat lunch some days, and was never actually off on my days off. NEVER AGAIN I PROMISE! My health is so important, I'm so so soooo aware of that. And thanks to my boyfriend, who's a head Strength Coach and Strongman competitor, (future Strongwoman competitor coming Summer of 2017!! Watch out ladies LOL) I never have to miss a beat! Hello to a healthier 2017!!!
18. What money was the best spent? What money was wasted? My $$ was definitely best spent investing in myself and my future! I went to #ATL for Create & Cultivate on a whim, and man did it pay off. I know I've mentioned it a few times now, but I can't begin to explain how cool it was to mingle with such powerful and strong women who are leaders in their industries! It was just the motivation I needed to bring my business to life, and launch FreeBird Organics, LLC!! I wasted most of my hard-earned $$ on purchasing a ridiculous amount of sunglasses at work... unnecessary. I gave my prior job way too much of my own money, and I learned that the hard way for sure. Now any and all income goes 100% back into my business and my customers!
19. What was the one thing I created this year? I love this question... I created a better future- period. I am my own #BOSSBABE! I can inspire others. I can be creative daily. I am paving the way for my future, and my family's future. I want to create something that they are proud of. My future is literally whatever I can make with my own two hands. No more having to answer to anyone that doesn't appreciate my hard work and dedication! #imtheboss.
20. Is there anything to anyone left unsaid? For sure...
"I want to thank my prior leaders for teaching me my own worth and value. If it wasn't for how you took advantage my time, ran me down, and how you didn't appreciate me... I wouldn't be doing the courageous things I'm doing today. So, thank you."
21. Who or what am I the most grateful for? I am sooooo grateful for my support system. It would be an awfully lonely and boring journey without them. Thank you for always having my back, believing in me, giving constructive criticism and feedback, and for being the best product guinea pigs ever! Love you all, mwahh!
22. What surprised me the most? Probably how well my first two pop-up shops went! I was talking and interacting with customers so much that I had horrible cotton mouth LOL. I am so so thankful to have had those opportunities to share my story, passion, and vision with others as well as see their investment in my business. Thank you to both Colorbar The Salon in Spring Lake, NJ and to Laurita Winery for hosting me in 2016. It has opened many new doors for me and this amazing business I have!!
23. When did I stand up for what I believe in? Back in October I was able to recognize a change that needed to be made in my life. I didn't like seeing the path I was on with my career. I re-set my mindset, made some really difficult decisions, and made a change. It was really scary, don't get me wrong. I had to trust my intuition and do right by myself. If you're unhappy, only you can change that, no one else can do it for you. If you ever have questions on how to make a change, or fight for what you want in your career, don't hesitate to send me an e-mail, I'd love to chat it out with you!
24. Where have I healed? There were many aches and pains mixed into last year. Nothing you could possibly plan for, and it wasn't easy. I supported my boyfriend and his family battling cancer. His dad went through a strong series of treatments over the months and I saw myself reliving past experiences (I can share at a later time) during that time with them. Their strength and sense of family really opened my eyes to life, that there are just more important things in this world, especially when you're unhappy on a daily basis at your job. Those difficulties allowed me to free myself of the burden from work, and live the life I wanted and deserved.
And to some this long thang up....
25. What do I know for sure? I know for sure that nothing is set in stone. There are new opportunities and challenges daily. The future is affected directly by what YOU do today, here and now. I know that timing is everything & everything happens for a reason... It truly is what you make of it. I know that risks pay off. Don't be afraid to take them, and do it often. Good or bad, there's always an experience to learn or grow from. Never give up, especially on yourself and your goals. My nana always said, "Roxanna, you can do anything you put your mind to." It has taken me 9 years to achieve my dreams, and this is only the beginning of my journey. I know that people (all the haters) have doubted me, some still do & that's fine. I know that I have a great support system that is forever growing with time. I know that it's important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals as often as possible. Not everyone will understand you, or see clarity in your vision (and that's ok). But, you have to trust the process and follow your intuition. I know that goals and plans are important (2017 goals blog coming soon, we can do this!) to set, to keep yourself on track, whether in life, work, or pleasure. I know that it means a lot to me and my business to have a strong inner circle that believes in me as well as this journey, I want to make them proud of everything I accomplish along the way.
Here's to 2017 & many more years ahead of me on this crazy journey! I've said it before, but this is just the beginning........
I appreciate all of your thoughts & feedback! Please feel free to comment, share, & like my post!! If there's anything you'd like to see in a future blog post, please comment below or email me at any time!!