How long will the hike take?
Uh, probably about 3 or 4 hours.
Yianni shot me a look. If it had just been the two of us, I would have put up a fight. But Jon, a guide I’d hired to show us around the Alps, was helping me strap on my snowshoes while I looked up at France, Italy, and Switzerland sprawling in every direction around me. Since I save my best behavior for strangers, my husband wasn’t going to hear a peep out of me today.
I calculated the number of hikes I’d done in the past two winters: Zero. Why? Because they’re painful. I like winter hikes if I’m not in a rush and can enjoy the magic of sun beams on snow. The moment I have to try to keep up it becomes torturous and apparently, all of my friends are in better shape than me.
How could this be happening? I came to France this winter to make it easier to move outside in the mornings — while the sun is out before working east coast hours — as a strategy for protecting my mental health while I work to more than double the size of our business this year. It felt like a sick joke, but wasn’t this self-actualization? For the moment, I chose gratitude over fear.
The Col de Belvedère is a pretty standard hike in this region, but the top elevation of 9,121 feet is more than double our tallest mountain in my home state of Vermont. We ascended about 2,000 feet over a few miles— stats that don’t sound so bad to me now but definitely hit differently when you’re in snow gear and carrying a pack above 7,000ft altitude.
As we came up on the back half of the hike, I was hurting.
When I started to show signs of slowing down, my guide Jon would say “we’ll just go another 15 minutes and stop for water.” After we rested a few minutes, he told me there was no pressure to reach the peak — we’d just go a bit further to see how we felt.
15 minutes, no pressure, just a little bit further. On and on like this for the last hour and a half.
From the beginning, Jon set a pace that was slower than I would have taken. When Yianni would hike ahead, Jon hung back. Once he noticed me trying to catch up and said “nice and steady Katie,” asking me about work and life and passing the time with conversations I love to have.
After telling him about how much I love my clients, I couldn’t help but think about how this was similar to the work we do inside of Strong Brand Social: After assessing each brand's goals and resources, we give them a roadmap and show them one step at a time. We insist that they go at their own pace and work on their own priorities. For some, this means 200% growth to round that first million-dollar year, for others it means defining a strategy so that they can hire a team to help them before hitting the growth pedal again, and for others, it’s about finally launching the brand of their dreams.
I was just reviewing one client's performance the other day. She's more than 100% up year-over-year, but like a true entrepreneur, still feels "behind" and referred to her pace as "glacial." It doesn't matter if a brand is at $10k/month or $100k/mo, I see this pattern in every single one of our clients, so we constantly remind them that this is a long game, not a sprint. Moving too fast is a sure path to burnout and if you compare your speed to brands that are at different revenue levels or years of experience, you’ll make yourself miserable and take yourself out of the game.
If I’d gone too fast out of the gate, I wouldn’t have made it to the top of the mountain, and if you’ve ever done anything physical that you were unsure about finishing halfway through, you know that achievement is an impossibly wonderful feeling to describe — not too unlike seeing my January revenue number up 150% after the painful slog of 2022.
We have founders and professional marketers alike that benefit from our collective 100 years of experience within the content, social, and digital marketing spaces specifically. We know how to build you a customized roadmap based on the conditions of your market, type of brand, goals, and available resources to dedicate to the climb.
One of the most harmful practices of the digital marketing industry is providing one-size-fits-all “blueprints” that don’t consider all of these elements before charting the path forward. This might limit Strong Brand Social's “scalability” in the short term, but it’s a sure way to sustain our impact and legacy for the long term.
Our clients tell us every day that it’s not just the numbers they’re happy with, it’s about feeling confident in their investments, what they choose to ignore, and the skills they’re gaining to lead their brand for the long haul.
We onboard a few like-minded clients each month. If you want to learn more about reaching your brand growth goals with a personalized strategy and support from a group of folks who want to see you reach your wildest financial goals while protecting your peace and having fun while we’re at it...