When Opportunity Knocks….

Don't miss out on something that could be amazing, just because it could also be difficult.

There are few moments in one’s professional career where opportunities come along that can be so life changing, exciting and terrifying all at once. Last week one of those opportunities knocked at my door.

As many of you know, I began working part-time at the Excelsior Springs Chamber of Commerce in January as the Creative Director – fulfilling all of the creative needs for the Chamber, creating the new trolley wine tours, and redesigning the office space for better efficiency and visual appeal. Working with the Executive Director, Courtney, was a dream come true. Someone so like me, passionate about her job, about her community and her family. It was refreshing to find another person that is so much like myself! At the end of February, Courtney seized a fantastic opportunity to move up in her career, and thus announced that she would be resigning from the Chamber at the end of June. This left the Board with the task of filling her role and me not knowing if my position would continue or not. Of course, I have TYPOGRFX and the TYPO Truck, so I was prepared to continue dedicating all my time to my business.

Within hours of Courtney’s announcement came the flurry of Board members and Chamber members alike that all asked me, “Are you going to apply?” The answer was easy, “I’m flattered, but I’ve got my own business and it’s doing fine.” As the months went by and the search for the right candidate continued, the Board president again approached me asking me to reconsider applying. I talked it over with my best friend, my dearest business acquaintances, my mother-in-law, my husband, even Ryker. After much consideration, I figured what do I have to lose by applying? I walked into the interview with 80% of my mind made up that regardless of what happened, I would still politely decline. I love the freedom of working for myself. I love spending time with Ryker during the summer. And yet, I thrive on the busyness of the holiday season, meeting new people and helping them tell their story with a personalized TYPOGRFX. It’s been great, why would I give that up?

During the interview, the four people I sat across the table from were well aware of my existing, successful business. I told them at the beginning that this was as much of an interview where I convince them I’m the right person for the job as they were going to have to convince me that this job was right for me. They made it very clear that they didn’t want me to give up my business, they were confident that we could work together to allow me to serve as the Executive Director, while still running my business – albeit at a somewhat scaled back capacity. They were willing to be flexible to let me scale back my Chamber hours a bit during my busiest holiday rush, but also expected a lot from me during the biggest Chamber events of the year. One interviewer said it would be “very progressive” of the Chamber to have a business owner as the director, recognizing the unique perspective I can bring to the table as a fellow entrepreneur myself. So I left the interview feeling excited, nervous and overwhelmed with a flurry of emotions.

After being officially offered the position with a good, steady salary, I again consulted with my friends and family. Anyone who’s a small business owner knows that a steady paycheck isn’t always promised. And while we definitely aren’t struggling, a good paycheck could make a big difference in our household. My husband’s exact response was, “Why wouldn’t you?” He’s always been supportive in the sense that he doesn’t tell me what to do, because he’s smart enough to know I don’t like it when he does, but he lets me figure out what I should do on my own. And being a big believer in fate, I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity slip through my fingers just because it was scary. I had made up my mind even though there were still a million things to figure out. Between my racing thoughts and the thunderstorms that shook the house that night, I didn’t sleep a wink.

You know when someone gets eliminated from a reality TV show and they play highlight clips of their time on the show with some emotion-inducing song playing over it? That’s what was playing in my mind – the highlights of the past eight years of TYPOGRFX.

Helping a woman who was losing her battle with cancer leave behind encouraging words for her children.

Helping a friend propose to his long-time girlfriend with a TYPOGRFX.

Being selected as a finalist for Country Living magazine’s Pitch Your Product.

When I went to an open casting call for Shark Tank and made it onto the show’s outtakes.

Getting to go on the local morning TV shows.

The crazy decision to buy a truck! The incredible amount of work that went into that truck and how much it’s changed the entire way I do business……..

But the thing is, my journey with TYPOGRFX isn’t over. It’s just changing, evolving, like it always does. Despite the lack of sleep, I was at peace with my decision.

The next morning, coffee in hand, I accepted the offer.

So what does this mean for TYPOGRFX and my customers? On the surface, there won’t be much difference. Orders will still be fulfilled. Emails will still get answered. The truck will still make appearances throughout the metro, just not quite as often. I have several internal things to work through to prepare for the busy holiday season, but I trust that I will have the people and processes in place to continue providing my customers with the best gift ever, the best customer service ever, and the best of me. Wish me luck!

Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all of the fears you have overcome. (unknown)

The Art of Telling Your Business Story

Business owner Tosha Jackson of TYPOGRFX shares her tips and tricks for crafting the perfect narrative for your business!

I’m in the business of telling people’s stories. Whether it be the story of their family, their career or business, or something else, I create a story in the personalized artwork I create. Storytelling is an important part of human nature and one that has helped us preserve our past. The art of telling a good story is something nearly anyone can do. Every good story has key elements that can be learned, practiced and perfected over time. Telling the story of your business is no different and can be the key to a successful pitch, presentation or just introduction of yourself and your business.

The Beginning

The first few lines of a story draws you in – sets the stage if you will. This might include a bit about your background. What were you doing before you started your business? Where did you go to school? Were you in a totally different industry than you are now? Any interesting details that can draw a person in and capture their attention are crucial.

The Inciting Incident

What event triggered you to start your own business? Did you feel an overwhelming need for a change? Were you laid off or “let go”? Did you get fired for something out of your control? Don’t be afraid to share the nitty gritty details here. As an example, I used to shy away from using the word “fired” because it sounded serious – like I had done something terrible. In my case, it was simply because I had announced my pregnancy, something that I did not expect would affect my immediate job security. Including this in my own business story is important because it causes an emotional reaction from the audience, which compels them to want to know more.

The Realistic Challenges

Very few businesses launch and experience immediate, overwhelming success. (Good for you if yours did!) Most businesses face some challenges along the ways. Maybe it was financing. Maybe it was finding the right location or right people to build your business. Either way, don’t leave out these details. Again, it helps you to build up to your climax, which is hopefully a successful and thriving business! Be sure to mention what actions you took to overcome these challenges. This will help people relate to your story, and will be encouraging to other entrepreneurs who might be going through the same thing as you did.

The Conclusion (aka Looking Forward)

Unless you’ve sold your business, your story likely isn’t over – it’s continually evolving. What are your goals? What are your next steps to reach those goals? What kind of help are you seeking? It never hurts to ask, because you never know what kind of connections people may have.

Hopefully, these tips will help you craft and perfect your business story. Even if you don’t have an immediate need to present your story, it’s always a good thing to have prepared and practiced, because you never know when your next opportunity might come up and you’ll have to be ready in a moment’s notice!