By Amy Wong – President 

They say that if you’re in business for 10 years, you have a lot to celebrate. Well, I guess it’s time for a celebration at Dot Org Solutions as we officially mark our 10th anniversary in May 2019.

As the founder and president of Dot Org, I embraced the idea of writing this blog about the company I started and thought the process would be easy. But, I have struggled to write something that isn’t cliché, predictable or boring.

There are so many things to say about the last 10 years. There are the successes, the failures, the tears, the stress and the joy. There are the amazing people – clients, vendors, advisors and team – that have helped get Dot Org to this point. And there is the sense of accomplishment I feel when I take time to sit back and think about our growth and impact on those served by our clients.

Instead of writing a thank you list of everyone who has made this milestone possible (I’d certainly miss someone), I’d like to share some “Amy-isms” I use with my team and advice I’ve learned from others along the way. It’s my way of paying it forward and reminding myself what is important as we look to our company’s future.

Sage advice – some learned, some shared by others.

  • You can only pick two… good, fast and cheap

Thanks Susan Panning (Lime Creative) for sharing this little tidbit. When you are looking to complete a creative project, it can be: good and fast, but not cheap; good and cheap, but not fast; or fast and cheap, but not good.  Think about it the next time you work on a project!

  • Pick your battles

I use this often with my teenagers. If you choose to dig your heels in on something, make sure it is worth the energy you are spending on it. Often, it isn’t worth the fight, the energy or the time.

  • Find your focus.

Thank you Diane Helbig (Seize This Day) for this advice. Pick one thing to focus on (or a major goal) and put your energy toward that. Once I picked one area of focus, I started easily saying no to the things that didn’t align with it. This process continues to make a significant difference in how I approach everything at work and home.

  • Stop using annoying buzzwords – they don’t make you appear smarter.

Is it in your wheelhouse? (Do you have the skills to do it?) Have you captured the low-hanging fruit? (Did you make the easy sale?)  Were you able to take that discussion offline? (Did you talk later?) How about that inner dialogue? (What were you thinking?)

  • Bad grammar makes a bad impression.

You’re going to look silly if your words are spelled incorrectly. No one is going to take you seriously if your messages are  filled with bad grammar. If you can’t write it or spell it, ask for help.

  • Seek and accept help.

Find coaches, mentors, advisors and people smarter than you and enlist their help. I have been blessed with a team of amazing coaches, mentors, professional advisors and other business owners that are my “go-to” people. Each of them has come at a pivotal time in the business and have helped carry me through the rough patches. They have also been there to celebrate the successes.

  • Make time for what is important.

When I first started Dot Org, my dad was battling terminal cancer. Setting aside time to be with him in the first year of the business gave me valuable time with him that I will never forget. I’ve also made it a point of scheduling my time around the things that are important for my kids. Mom is my first job and being there for them is as important for them as it is for me.

  • Frequent brain dumps are liberating and help you sleep better.

The more task information you keep in your brain, the less room you have for creative thinking. Take an hour or so weekly to do a brain dump, then organize your lists in a way that is meaningful and helpful to you. And keep a notepad and pen by your bed for those middle of the night items that keep you awake. When you write them down and give yourself permission to deal with them in the morning, it’s much easier to go back to sleep.

Favorite one-liners – some are mine, some shared by others

  • Good marketing and communication look easy. They are not.
  • When it comes to creative projects, everyone has an opinion.
  • If you mess up, own it, fix it and move on.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Hope is not a strategy.
  • If you don’t love it, don’t do it.
  • The right people make all the difference.
  • A goal without a plan is just a wish.
  • Stay in your lane.

As I compiled these lists (with some help from my Dot Org team members), I realized how fortunate I have been over the last 10 years. I get to work with dedicated team members who believe in what we do. I never have a boring day. I meet amazing people that are doing amazing things. But most of all, I know the work we are doing makes a difference every day in someone’s life.

I’ll be honest, starting and running a successful business IS hard. But, running Dot Org has given me so many chances to know more about the world than I did before. It has helped me become a better person – more tolerant, more understanding, more compassionate.

Even on my worst days – the ones where I am most stressed – I look to the faded sticky note on my work computer that reads: “What did we do to make a difference today?” Not a day has gone by that I look at that note and can’t answer that question.

It is hard to believe I’ve been at this for 10 years. And I can truly say that I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Thank you to all who have made this milestone possible – our team, clients, vendors, families, friends, mentors and others who have supported us along the way. Ten years is a fairly a long time, but it certainly passed in the blink of an eye.

Want to learn more about Dot Org Solutions? Contact us at i[email protected] or 330.247.2180.