5 years

March 15, 2013 |  Category:   life the biz


I realized yesterday that five years ago I wrote this first post. I don’t really feel the need to acknowledge this anniversary every time March rolls around, but 5 is a nice, round number. I don’t know that we would have imagined that we (the blog and the business) would still be around 5 years later when we were both sitting on the couch in 2008 wondering what we were going to do next. Who knows how long any new venture or business is going to stick around? The world can be fickle and there are never any guarantees.


I think in the beginning when things are just starting to happen and there is that exciting mix of nervous energy and the scary prospect of venturing into the unknown, you’re just taking things one day and one milestone at a time. It’s funny to read that first post now, so if I knew where we’d be now back then, would I be happy with where we ended up 5 years later? I think, yes. Things may not be as exciting and risky as it felt back in the early days, but the business has settled into a stable pace and that’s not a bad place to be in today’s world. There are definitely days when I think we should have done more by now (why do we not have a store? Or staff? Or a book?), but I recognize that we’ve approached growth rather conservatively and I also know that these feelings manifest when I’m comparing ourselves to others and not with what feels right or works for us right now. We’ve done things over the past 5 years that works for our lives and our family and all those decisions, big and small, are all choices that we’ve made. Still, it’s worth reminding ourselves to take a moment to celebrate what we have built in the last 5 years, without any outside help or PR or advertising. Sometimes this gets lost when you’re dealing with the day to day.
It’s been nearly two years since I wrote that “breadwinner” post (and I have to say, sometimes I look back and cringe at the brutal honesty of some of the old entries). Well, last year it happened, where the profits from the business out-earned my freelance income for the first time. I see that the balance might be tipping and this might be the norm. Three and half years ago I had ambitions of the business supporting our family 100%. Two years ago I started questioning whether this could be a reality. Five years in, I’m starting to think again that it might actually be possible. I continue to freelance because I need to engage that part of my brain, but I also know that despite whatever staying power we’ve demonstrated so far, the world and this market is still a fickle place. I guess I like to leave all options open as security. But it’s nice to know that we remain headed in a direction where our early ambitions are becoming real possibilities.

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  • Liz March 15, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Congratulations, Jenna (and Mark), on everything – the business, your great work, your beautiful family. We should all be so lucky 🙂

  • Mackenzi March 15, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    There’s nothing better than the feeling of small business success. Cheers on 5 years!

  • unha engels March 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    congrats! big 5!! and many more years to come!!

  • joy @ OSS March 15, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    wow congrats. 5 years is a long time! it’s awesome to see you guys doing so well.

  • Katie March 15, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 months now, enjoying the recent posts and the archives (brutal honesty and all). I appreciate how genuine and honest you are in this space, and I imagine you are this way in real life. I have a sense that this same integrity is what has attributed to your success over the years. Cheers to continued business and moving forward at a pace that works best for your family!

  • beckyk March 15, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    that’s amazing! well done. I know there’s been blood, sweat and tears behind every penny 🙂

  • Roseann March 15, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    I feel like I just wrote that post on new beginnings, trying to start my photography business. And all of a sudden things are happening faster than I imagined they would. Glad to hear about positive growth. I will continue nannying to support my passion until I no longer need to, and I am thankful that my husband has chosen a “stable” carear path, whatever that means. As always, thank you for the perspective.

  • Chai Ling March 16, 2013 at 9:59 am

    this is my 4th year since i first read your blog. ever since then, i have been following it weekly, if not daily. you and i are both strangers and we are half a globe apart, but these solid 4 years, i have learnt so much that the books wont teach from you. 4 years now, you are still my fav blogger, jenna! happy 5th, big hugs from Singapore =)

    • Jenna March 16, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      wow, thanks for such a lovely comment Chai Ling. And thanks for reading all these years!

  • sally hollingworth March 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Hi Jenna, congratulations on your 5th year in business. I’ve been reading your blog for 2 years now, even though I rarely leave a comment, but I have so enjoyed your refreshing honesty in how you write. Think a book is a great idea by the way!

  • Jenna March 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks everyone!

  • katie March 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    It must be quite something to know you are supported and encouraged, if only in spirit, by a mass of readers with like-mind. Genuine congratulations from yet another reader who has been inspired by the leap you’ve taken as a family to make the small business happen (and keep it happening), as well as your honesty in blogging the journey. Motivating us all to act with a bit more courage. As we say in australia, ‘onya love.’ Here’s to smooth, metered transitions into growth, complemented by healthy happy children!!

  • me March 18, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Congratulations! Your blog has kinda become one of my “Everything is gonna be alright” blogs! Plus, I love your aesthetic!

  • MCC March 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Congrats and thank you for 5 years! To echo the other commenters, visiting this blog and hearing what you have to say on so many of the topics I grapple with myself is such a priveldge. Congratulations on the well deserved success.
    Warm gratitude,
    Boston, MA

  • Jenna March 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Thanks for all the well wishes, friends!