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In the spirit of not having it all figured out after 9 years, but at least having learned a few things in that time, here are 9 simple words that have proven to be invaluable to us (and hopefully to you as well):

1. Yes (we can do that)

For anyone who’s read our origin story, you know that this whole thing called TwoTone started with a “yes” to a request from a friend. Which explains why when it comes to business, and life, whenever you can say “yes” I would suggest doing so. It will probably work out. 

2. Five (pm)

If you’re anything like any business owner I know, you think about work a lot. Maybe someday I’ll master this thing called “compartmentalization” I keep hearing people talk about. But at least for today, I’m doing my best to leave work at work when the day is done—and that means encouraging myself and my team to leave at 5pm every day. Whatever that means for you in your situation, do it. 

3. Value (…is what we get paid for)

I once heard somewhere that money is simply certificates of appreciation with presidents’ faces on it. The truth of that statement is that if you want to make money, you have to provide actual value. The world is filled with subscriptions and little traps designed to politely and legally steal people’s money. My advice: work hard to be a value-provider and you’ll never have to worry about whether clients want to work with you. 

4. Grow (…is what we’re doing everyday)

I’m not finished yet. Neither are you. Those were the words that closed our 8 year anniversary article, and they are just as true this year as they were then. Two questions may be helpful here if your evaluating whether you’re growing personally: What’s the last non-fiction book you’ve read? What people/groups are you getting around who are helping you get better at what you’re doing? If those are tough to answer, maybe it’s time to get back on the growth wagon.

5. Sorry (…is what we say when we mess up)

Hemming and hawing does you no good when something doesn’t go as planned. Say sorry and do better next time.

6. Friends (…are what you need)

You’ll never be able to do it alone. I cannot tell you how many times a word of advice or a timely referral have shown up just when I needed them most. The world wants to pretend that business owners are lone-wolves. The truth is they need their pack, so whatever you need to do to cultivate a trusted circle of people who will be there for you—make it happen.

7. No (…we’re not the best team to help you with that)

As I’ve pondered word #1 above, I was reminded of something—sometimes it’s better to say “no.” I’m still not wise enough to tell you which you should say in any particular situation, but I can say from experience you won’t always be the right fit for every client under the sun.

8. Cultivate (…faithfully)

Over the years I’ve watched people and organizations grow right before my eyes. Sometimes I had a hand in bringing that out, but 100% of the time all that God-given potential was in there all along. Don’t miss the daily opportunities you have to bring the best out in others. 

9. Give (…give, give)

Don’t wait to start giving. When TwoTone was smaller, that simply meant helping out friends and family and giving to our church. As TwoTone has grown so has our ability to give. In the past year alone, we’ve provided 10x what we were able to last year in free work and donations to people who are doing big things on small budgets. You’ll never be able to help everyone, but don’t let that prevent you from helping someone.

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