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Why stepping out of your comfort zone is critical for business success.

The idea of Boxcitement is nearly three years old, meaning we have created a business that is viable, and that actually works – we have all heard those statistics about how many small businesses fail within the first two years. We made it! We are growing! But there has been a tricky lesson to learn along the way and I wanted to share it with you today

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I am a creative person – a graphic designer by trade, who worked in advertising for years as well as having my own jewellery line and a passion for all things colourful (those of you who subscribe to Boxcitement will know that!). So when we came up with the idea of Boxcitement all those years ago, it was an easy leap for me to become creative director and main designer – after all, those are the things I knew about and was good at.

Designing a range of greetings cards, coming up with illustrations for our homewares and creating exclusive jewellery – easy peasy! Yes it takes time, and yes the creative process can sometimes be frustrating, but I enjoy that aspect of my job and I understand it. So yay, I found my perfect career!

Except that… branching out as a new startup means you have to become so much more than just the one thing you are good at. For starters I had to learn about website design – not just the way it looks, but how easy it is to navigate, how useful people find it, where to put the right information and of course how to make it really easy to purchase from. And then there were the business aspects – yes my partner Sean took care of most of that, but I needed to understand accounts, cashflow, supplier agreements and – horror! – learn how to use Excel spreadsheets. On top of that I suddenly had to get to grips with marketing, advertising, target audiences, PR pitches and starting this blog – and last but certainly not least, when the customers did start arriving we had to set up structures for fulfilment, shipping and customer service. Looking back I am not quite sure how we managed to achieve everything we did, but I am happy to report we now have a functioning, thriving business.

There is one important thing I have learned now we are a few years in, our little team has grown and we are looking to the future. And that is to do the difficult – the ONE thing I don’t want to do but that will help us grow and improve – before doing anything else at the start of the day. Step out of that comfort zone and achieve something a little tricky, and suddenly everything else on the to do list becomes a little bit easier. Contacting some new journalists with a press pitch? Negotiating a lower price on a quote I have received? Setting up some more advertising with proper split testing and analytics? Update our costing spreadsheet so we know what outgoings are coming up? No, I don't really want to do any of that – but unless I do, all those fun hours spent designing will mean nothing as I will have no customers!

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If you would like to join me in this daily productivity challenge, feel free to download the planner list at the link below. And I would love to know what techniques you employ to help get those tricky tasks completed – drop me a comment and let me know!

Have a wonderfully productive week!
Deb, Boxcitement

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(P.S. I'd love to know what you think - leave your comment below!)