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“You Will Fail” … and Other Things I’d Tell Myself 10 Years Later

By February 16, 2022March 4th, 2022No Comments

Happy 10th Birthday to us, Prospera Partners! How did ten years fly by? Maybe doing the work you love and loving the work you do really can make it seem like a breeze?

Let’s be honest. Ten years is both a huge milestone and a ton of hard work to achieve in the “owning your own business” world. There have been late nights finishing project reports, designing facilitated community convenings, and long days chasing down contracts. Then there was that pandemic that hit a couple years ago . . .

When it all started in 2012, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to do the good work and I wanted to support people doing the good work. I made mistakes. I put attention and focus on things that didn’t pan out. I got fired by a client for pushing them too hard to look at the dysfunction in their organization. But I also knew that the community impact work was more important than whether or not I was a success. I only wanted my clients to be successful. I do push hard, but for many of our clients it is the push that sends them out of their comfort zones, and for me – for Prospera Partners – being bold, honest, and real is how the deep systems change and social impact happens.

Now here we are. Reflecting on ten years of relationships, cultivation, and so much community-centered social impact across the country and in my home state of New Mexico – I, we, have been fortunate and honored to help and make a difference.

Today I’m writing a love letter to myself with things I would tell the younger me. As it turns out, I have been saying these things to clients and colleagues for ten years! Interesting how we can help others, but often ignore our own advice.

Dear Younger Vicki,

Not every offering will be a success out of the gate. It takes time to build a customer base.

Localism is not just a movement or marketing campaign. It’s an economic development strategy. And, it’s here to stay.

Market yourself. Hire a pro to do it.

Speaking of hiring a pro – hire people smarter than you. You will hate bookkeeping and filing taxes. Hire someone to do it. Hire a professional. Focus on what you are good at.

Socially conscious business owners span the gamut – from social enterprise to locally owned businesses – they might not call themselves social entrepreneurs but they are rooted in their communities, doing more for their communities.

Not every idea is a good one. You will have lots of ideas and get distracted by shiny new things.  Pick ones that have teeth and traction. Stay focused.

You don’t need to know everything to run a business. You can learn new things. You can do hard things. You can say no to things. You can hire other people to do all those things.

Competition is flattering. People will steal your ideas, imitate what you do, try to out-do you.  They are not you. You are unique. You do you.

Celebrate your successes. Sometimes you’ll be the only one celebrating. Celebrate anyway.

You will fail. You will begin again. And again and again.

Help Prospera Partners celebrate 10 years by joining our online happy hour. This will be a chance to say hi, catch up, and toast the work that ALL of us have done around social good. Visit our event page to learn more.