Before writing this, I went back and reviewed all that we accomplished in the past year – where we have come from and what is coming because of the past 365 days. In just one year, my mindset has slowly shifted from crazy manic work mode, working 12-14 hours days (“Go! Go! Go!) to a calmer and more focused approach of that very same mindset. In our industry, the fast paced ever-changing days will never disappear. The day it does is the day this industry won’t exist; it’s just something you have to get used to and learn to manage. I’ve noticed as I get older and as the company grows, I have to change the way I am managing my personal life and we, as Muse Group, need to change the way we are handling clients and workflow. This year may have been chaotic and very messy, but amazing things have surfaced from that chaos. So, let’s dig in to the nitty gritty!
The Hard Lessons
‘Burnouts’ Are Real
This year, I learned ‘burnouts’ are a real thing. Actually, I take that back… I always knew burnouts were a real thing, I just never chose to acknowledge they were ever happening. Unfortunately, I learned to accept them the hard way – physically. When your back starts hurting doing normal every day activities, there is something you need to address. When you’re so focused on completing projects that you make it to the end of the day without having anything but coffee and a handful of peanut butter pretzels, there is something you need to address. When you show up at the office around 7-8am and leave at 8-9pm realizing you haven’t moved from the same position once, there is something you need to address.
I hate to say it but I’ve always struggled with this. “Old habits die hard, eh?” I’d like to say those days are over, but I’m not there yet. So, I’ll be honest about it and say I’m working on it. Simply put, if I am not taking care of myself for my own reasons, I am definitely not at the top of my game at work. There is so much more I want to admit and address on this topic, but let’s start here.
To start fixing the problem my business partner and I have made a conscious effort to decrease the number of burnouts for our employees and us! This year we purchased standup desks for the crew, we’ve made time in every week for our teacher, Gail Hansen, to conduct group meditations, we allow and encourage lunch breaks OUT of the office, offer free memberships to a gym down the street, Reno Kicks, and encourage time off for life things without major employee consequences. I think this is a GREAT start and we will continue to adapt and change, as we see fit.
Right Time, Right Team
One of the biggest bittersweet lessons you learn running a business is finding the right team. Which brings me to the art of firing and hiring. We’ve had to, once again, learn the hard way by hiring someone we thought could fill a hole, only to learn months later, it wasn’t working out and/or it’s not what the company needed at that time. There is so much truth in timing. And because of this, we are better seekers and more aware of what we need and when we need it now.
Managing Personalities and Saying ‘No!’
With each new client comes a new personality and different way of communication. Not only are we trying, as Muse Group, to lock down our office communication, but on top of that, our team has to mold to our clients’ teams. When I put it in those words, it sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me. Some personalities clash but everyone can get the job done, some are easygoing and the communication is mind-blowingly productive… others are, well, very difficult no matter what and it is a constant game of figuring out what they want/need. Reno is a beautifully weird melting pot of new and exciting people, but if you don’t know Reno well or aren’t from this area, you have a lot of changing to do to do good business here. We have learned to not only say, “No, we don’t think this working relationship is going to benefit us or you”, but also to do it without hesitation and to never look back. There’s a big difference! Ready for my cliché, but SO TRUE, statement? When you make the conscious decision to close a door that you don’t see fitting, in this case, within your business, you open other doors. Usually, those new doors are exactly what you’re looking for. For us, the clients we hold to date are not only good people, but people we can do good business with.
I have big plans for 2017, both professionally and personally. A huge part of this is being more present, streamlining systems and communication, and setting my team up for success the best I possibly can, starting with myself. Hopefully these few goals will free up the space needed to grow Muse Group into something bigger and better than the years before. We are very grateful for who we have become and honored to work with so many amazing people but we are ready to open more doors and grow with each and every mistake we make along the way. So, peace out 2016 and hello 2017!
By: Courtney O’Neill, Creative Director