The traditional gift for an 11th anniversary is steel. Guts of steel is just part of what it takes to have a small business.

11 years ago I sat down at my kitchen counter with a one year old baby boy and an old, used laptop that was given to me (rather than being thrown away!) by an old boss and I launched JHL. I didn’t mean to launch a company I would have for more than a decade. I didn’t mean to employ anyone. All I wanted to do is work. I love to work and I enjoy challenging projects that seem impossible to most. I enjoy being in control of my own successes and failures.

In the 11 years the only constant has been change. I have had the privilege of working with some incredibly smart and dedicated people and I have had to fire others who just couldn’t, or weren’t interested, in working at our pace and intensity level. Slow to hire, quick to fire – one of the many lessons I have learned the hard way as a small business owner. What else have I learned?

-never hire who you can’t fire

-crow is best eaten warm

-thank people

-be gracious

-be honest

-be careful of the toes you step on today as they are likely connected to an a## you will kiss tomorrow

-it’s never too late to make the right decision

-learn from mistakes

-ask for help

-be generous

-protect your time (still working on this one!)

-forgive once, but not twice

-trust your gut

Making a payroll for 132 months or 4,015 days in a row (who’s counting?!) has not always been easy. But nothing worth having is ever easy.

Today I announced new team leaders – Christina Gomez Oliver for communications and JHL digital and Jessica Balladares-Bennett for our new brand – Austin Best Events. Please take a minute to check out our new look here at JHL, Austin Best Events of course, don’t forget to buy your promotional products and custom gifts from Rocca.

With 11 years under my belt I am just getting started! What a blessing every day. Happy birthday JHL!