I have exciting news to share!
Perhaps you already saw on social media, but last month I was named a finalist for the Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce Warman, Martensville & Region Business Excellence Awards (WMBEXA) for New Business of the Year!! (Say that 3x fast, record yourself, and send it to me!)
To say I am excited is an understatement. I’ve already shared some of my reaction on social media, and now wanted to dive a little deeper into what this means to me.
I found out I was nominated in three WMBEXA categories in December. I remember the day so clearly: we were having our last moms group before Christmas at my house. My husband texted me, asking if I was home and if the moms were still there, replying, “Perfect” when I said yes.
He shows up, hands me the cards congratulating me on being nominated in the Customer Service, Community Involvement, and New Business of the Year categories. Cue the tears. Why? Well, one, because I’m a pretty emotional person. Two, because we were in the midst of some really hard bedtimes and we felt so drained emotionally, mentally, and physically. That exhaustion made this recognition That. Much. Sweeter. And three, I’ve been busting my butt these past few months (heck, past couple years, but really extra recently) to grow my business.
For those not familiar with these business awards, you then have to apply to be chosen as a finalist. You fill out an application that takes hours, and I mean HOURS. Those applications (you can apply in two categories, so I chose Community Involvement and New Business) consumed my life in January. I don’t even want to say how many hours it took me to do them. We are at least in double digits…
Not only did they consume my life, but I had incredible amounts of help from two people in particular: my husband (who cried with me when I was nominated – he knows how hard I work and that’s how proud he was) and a dear friend, Erin Francais. I need to write an entire blog post about her at some point, and I will (this is me getting you to hold me accountable). She read and reread and edited and took photos and helped me choose photos and responded to messages without exasperation. I messaged her every day for a month. Probably multiple times. And she still talks to me!
I also had to ask people (all women actually – talk about #womensupportingwomen) for letters of support, and I was overwhelmed not only by women’s eagerness to help me, but by their kind words. More tears, lots of them. I’m basically constantly crying.
To be completely honest, when I tackled the New Business application, part of me wanted to quit. It felt so hard. But it’s supposed to!! You are reflecting on how far you have come, what is your plan, what are your goals, what skills do you have to make that happen, what have you achieved so far. It took a great amount of introspection, but (wo)man, was it worth it. I got to see just how far I have come, and then I had a clear plan of where I was going and how I was going to get there.
So how far have I come? I won’t share everything I wrote in those 15 PAGES, but in a nutshell, when I first completed my training as a postpartum doula, I didn’t have a clear direction, but I ploughed forward anyway. I started by creating an online, social media presence and a blog. I did weekly live Facebook chats to create a virtual, online moms group (because I really wanted the in-person moms group!). I started speaking to expectant moms or new moms, I attended trade shows. I landed my first client! And then another and another. And then in the midst of planning to move our family to Brandon and my husband already gone, I said, F*** it, and started the moms group I dreamed of with the support of Haylie Lashta out of Warman Physio. This replaced the live chats. Thank goodness I went forward with this group: we didn’t end up moving, but more importantly, it was a hit. By creating community for other women in the area, I created the community I was lacking. Their letters of support were testimony to what that group means to them.
I connected with local businesses in the area so there was coffee at the moms groups and giveaway prizes. Everybody wins when we businesses promote each other and work together!
Along the way, I added programming workshops to help women deal with the emotional load of becoming a mom and also to help find peace after a traumatic birth. Then I took the birth stories I was writing and upped the ante and now create stunning birth story books that you really won’t find anywhere else, and I’m so busy with these, and know I’m going to only get busier. I’m a damn good writer from all these years as a journalist (16+! Where did the time go?!), and I am creative and have a knack for design (that is always improving, thanks to the very particular eye of my friend, Erin!).
Erin, oh Erin. She sat me down in the fall, told me my prices were bullshit, designed a gorgeous logo for me, helped me revamp my price guide and make it gorgeous, and then not-so-subtly convinced me to redesign my website that looked more blog and turn it into the beautiful masterpiece it is now (I mean, bounce around my website, it’s gorgeous!). She helped me rewrite my packages and services. She has taken photos upon photos: all the beautiful, professional photos on my website are from her. She is so talented and a true friend. She has helped me more than she realizes. Or maybe she does realize. She’s smart like that. Either way, she helped me take my business to the next level.
Did I mention I did all this while being a full-time mom, wife, and friend, and a part-time web and social media editor?!
I have to add: I have made a very conscious decision a few months ago to only follow people and groups on social media that inspire me, to only be friends with people who lift me up, and to only collaborate with other strong, fierce, but kind women. I am the sum of all the strong, amazing, badass women in my life, and that is on purpose. I don’t waste my time with negativity or drama. You shouldn’t either.
So that brings us to the WMBEXA gala on May 3rd. It took me about an hour to fill a table of 8 with women who have been my greatest supporters, and I am so grateful and SO EXCITED to share this evening with them. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am. Thank you, fellow badass, beautiful women.
And guess what?! There is more to come. Stay tuned.