Hi, I’m Heather. I’ve been married for 13 years, have three little boys, and a dog named Oakley. Like you, Covid-19 made our family’s life pretty interesting over the past year and a half, but it’s also given us many gifts we hadn’t anticipated, like uninterrupted time together at home. For years we promised our boys we’d build them a treehouse in a large mature tree in our backyard, so last spring my husband decided to use our quarantine time to make good on that promise. I have to tell you, staring up into a giant tree with haphazard branches going in every direction quickly presents its architectural challenges. My husband spent days just staring up at the tree from every angle, doing nothing but think, mumble to himself, and think some more. Finally, he bought supplies and placed his first board – some 15 ft. off the ground! It was heavy, it was difficult to maneuver, it was high up, and it took almost an hour just to correctly place and secure it. Then we stood there on the ground, sweaty and breathless, thinking, “How the heck are we going to build an entire treehouse if it took us that long to place one board?!”

Why am I telling you about building our treehouse? Because I’ve discovered that starting a business is much like that. You look at the mound of things in front of you and think, “How am I ever going to do all of that?!?!?” It’s easy to let doubt and fear creep in and steal away the joy of the possibilities as you struggle through building something from nothing. I’ve always been prone to perfectionism and a victim of the mentality that if I can’t do something exactly right the first time, I’m not going to do it at all. Criticism wasn’t my friend and I feared the ‘red pen’ of many areas of life. It’s an unhealthy way to live, I’ll admit, and paralyzing as well. Being home with my family and pondering on what really mattered in life, I decided I wouldn’t do it anymore – I was going to adopt a ‘blue pen’ mentality. Things didn’t have to be perfect, they could be massaged along the way, and every criticism or failure didn’t mean the end, it just meant progress.

Last summer I pondered, prayed and panicked more than once as I considered what it would mean to start a business. My parents have been small business owners for 30+ years, and I know the struggles, stress, triumph and pride that all come from blazing your own path. Did I really want to do that? Then I looked at my husband, diligently working on one board at a time, 15 ft. up in a tree, sweating in the July heat, unafraid of criticism and excited about creating the best possible outcome for our kids. Each day was a work in progress and when things went badly, he backed up and started again on a new path…albeit with some occasional grumbling or a splinter or two!

Things will always be works in progress, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth doing or they aren’t good exactly how they are right now. You have to start somewhere – a text to set up a first date, an application to a dream job, the first workout in years. Then you ‘blue pen’ your way into something you never imagined was possible when you started. And that treehouse of my husband’s? It’s amazing, and it’s where I sat on a warm September afternoon as I clicked through Legal Zoom, filing paperwork and forging a new destiny I never thought I would live out – starting my own business. And so, Dot Your I was born, aimed at helping small business owners who have taken the leap of creating their own way and bravely stepping into their own version of a blue pen philosophy.

I’d love to hear from you! What was your small business or non-profit journey like? Did/do you struggle with any ‘red pen’ fears? Maybe starting your own website or diving into Social Media are scary topics for you. Let us help! Contact us today for help with your marketing and communication needs. We promise not to use a red pen on you!