Year one in the books, and what a year it was. If you’re not familiar with our origin story, check out this blog post from last year. In summary, we started Brightly Creative at the beginning of 2017 to follow our passions.

To work with great clients in the food and beverage space and return to our creative beginnings. To hopefully, maximize our talents with clients, products and services we believe in. I’m happy to report that year one was a success. We followed our passion, did inspired work, and most importantly, grew as people and as an agency.

Here’s what I learned in 2017.

Be passionate about what you do

Yes, it’s a job. It can take you away from your family and sometimes causes you to be working when you’d rather be doing something else. But when you love what you’re working on, it makes it much more rewarding. This may seem obvious, but I think it’s something many people overlook. I believe you can be passionate about anything you decide to invest the time and energy in. Honey, baking pans, food ingredients, food venture funds, all things 10 years ago that I had little interest in. All things today that I love and am firmly invested into learning more.

Stop and have fun

In my previous job, work travel consisted of meetings and hotel rooms. I met with a client, then rushed back to my hotel room as soon as the meeting was over. I’d order room service, and stare at my computer for the next six hours. I made it a goal in 2017 to stop doing that. To take advantage of all the cities I get to visit by always going out to eat and exploring. I accomplished this goal and saw some amazing places and met some amazing people by spending as little time as possible in my hotel room. My top three non-work / work-trip excursions.

1. Midnight bike ride exploring the National Mall in Washington D.C. with the Brightly Creative team.

2. Hitting the town in NYC with a friend from high school after a conference. Great food and cocktails at multiple spots I wouldn’t have found if I was solo.

3. Eating at Momofuku in Las Vegas. It was a 24-hour trip, but I was able to squeeze out an amazing dinner at a place I’ve always wanted to go. It did not disappoint.

Surround yourself with good people

We’re a small team at Brightly Creative, but I think most of our year one success was due to the truly collaborative and equal environment we’ve created. We’re all on the same page working toward the same goal. We enjoy each other as people first, and then as colleagues.

Here’s what I will continue to work on.

Building an agency while still maintaining our core mission and values

With a year under our belts, it’s time to start growing Brightly Creative. Smart growth will be our priority. I’ve been in situations where growth came fast, and while good for the bottom line, it damaged work/life balance, team morale and more. Our main priority will be building our agency at a pace that never sees us losing our passion for our clients and the work they do.

Being a leader

Since I was made editor of a magazine at 24-years-old, I’ve been in a position of leadership. Unfortunately, in the subsequent 15 years, I don’t think I ever got it right. I was too focused on what I was doing and not considering what everyone else was doing. I was a bad mentor and I lacked the compassion that a good leader needs. I figured that out last year and felt for the first time in my life, I was a passable leader. I look forward to improving on that in 2018.

Promoting Brightly Creative

Our clients are the main priority at Brightly Creative, but I need to do a better job of promoting the agency as much as I do our clients. In my professional career, this has always been a challenge. I’m hoping to finally make a break-through on this one in 2018.

Thanks for reading, and success to you, your family and business in 2018!