Two years ago today I hit publish on what was my scariest project to date - this magazine.
I've always been somewhat of a serial entrepreneur, always wanting to find something that would allow me to be my own boss, but I never really found that thing that stuck. That thing that I dreamed about at night and couldn't wait to work on during the day.
Until Holl & Lane.
I went into this magazine with absolutely no expectations - mostly because I had no idea WHAT to expect. With no experience in this industry, no design skills, and no idea how to actually run a successful business I just knew that this idea I had could be a good one. So, I took the chance, and I hit publish.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the backstory of the magazine, here's the short version: I've had 3 goals for my life: open a clothing boutique, write a novel, and run a magazine. So shortly after my son was born when I realized that I wanted to make the dream of being my own boss a reality, I decided to just pick one of those goals and focus on it. Throughout my pregnancy with my son, I was miserable. I was in and out of the hospital, sick for all nine months, went into preterm labor and eventually ended up on bed rest. So as I wrote about that on my personal blog, I took note of the fact that my readers appreciated this honesty, and I began to realize that I couldn't find it anywhere else. So with that notion in mind, and my resolve to run my own magazine, I set out to create what I thought would be an exploration in the honesty of human experiences.
If you've been a reader since the very first issue, you know how drastically things have changed - and that has been because I finally decided to follow my gut and create the magazine I always dreamed of, instead of letting others dictate what I should be doing. We went from showcasing EVERYTHING (style, food, interiors, business, diy, etc) to going to the heart of what H&L is all about - the stories. Those honest stories that make up a lifetime. That's what I had always dreamed of sharing, and finally, FINALLY, that's what we're creating. And I couldn't be more proud of it.
Some of my biggest takeaways from the past two years:
- Accept the offer of help - whether it's from people wanting to be a part of your mission, or those who are able to help monetarily, or even the husband who takes over childcare duty so you can focus - accept the help.
- Listen to your gut - it's speaking to you for a reason. Sometimes I get stuck in thinking about where we'd been had I listened to my gut over a year ago and focused on the stories as I wanted to. But, instead of dwelling on it, I try to focus on hearing what my gut has to say these days, and following it. I haven't been wrong yet.
- Go the extra mile - for your customers. One of the biggest compliments I get from our readers is that they appreciate that I've taken the time to handwrite a note with their order. Every single print copy or product that leaves my house gets a handwritten note, too. It's important for me to know that I'm so thankful they've spent their hard earned money on a product that I've created.
- Keep learning - about your industry, your skills, and from others. I have never claimed to know what I'm doing but I'm also consistently learning from my experiences and those of others. I listen, I pay attention, I study, and I try. I have no background in design but just through trial and error, I'm now designing a pretty great magazine (if I do say so myself). I had no idea how to run a magazine with subscriptions and now I'm doing it. It's all thanks to being willing to learn from others who want to teach.
- Be proud - of what you've accomplished and where you're going. We can get so stuck in the negative and of comparing ourselves to others and we stop looking at what WE'VE done in the meantime. I struggle with this constantly but I try to remember to take a step back, read the emails I get in about how much the magazine means to someone, or I flip back through the older issues to see how far we've come, and I'm proud of what we've created. This community we've built may not be large, but it is mighty. And that's more important to me.
I won't lie and say that these two years have been smooth sailing. So, so much has taken place over the past two years - most of it good, but not all. But I will say the confidence in knowing that this is what I'm supposed to be doing has made it all worth it. I know I'm supposed to tell these stories, I know that I am right where I belong and I'm excited about the future.
I'd like to end with two special thanks:
To the readers who have stuck with us through our growing pains, who have shared us with their friends and family, who have believed in us every step of the way - I will never be able to adequately put into words what that means to me. Thank you will never be enough.
To Mia, Jess, and Madisen - you three don't get the credit you deserve. Without you in the background, H&L wouldn't exist. I could not be on this journey without you. Thank you for supporting this dream of mine, for working your asses off, and for your friendship. Go have a donut, you've earned it.