Right now I am on the ferry headed to Vancouver Island for a midweek getaway with my brother and business partner Chandler. The reason for going away is to celebrate the recent Small Business BC award we won for Best Online Marketer. Part of the award was $1500 from the provincial government (how often does the government give you money?!) so we thought it would be a good idea to spend some of it on something fun. We are staying at a really cool resort right on the water and plan to relax and brainstorm new ideas.
The process of being nominated, getting votes, submitting a proposal and finally giving a presentation in front of 5 judges took about 6 months. It was a lot of work and I didn’t have any expectations because I had no idea how fierce the competition was going to be. I actually didn’t know much about the awards in general. I thought it would be amazing to win a Small Business BC Award, but after I set my intention I let it go. As we qualified from the top 10 to the top 5 I started to get excited!
The night of the awards ceremony was pretty surreal. When we first got to the Pan Pacific hotel in Vancouver we went to the cocktail reception where the fabulous ladies from Lunapads talked about their experience from winning the year before. They told of how awesome it was, and all the exposer they received because of the award. After that there was some time to drink wine and network. Overall there were about 150 people in the room and I figured that was the size of the entire event.
After an hour of sipping and chatting we were told to head downstairs to the ballroom. As we approached, I heard lots of excitement and energy. There were over 500 people standing around! Chandler and I had no idea the Small Business BC Awards were so big, and we started to get giddy thinking we had made it to the top 5!
We took our seats and the event started. There were 8 categories including Best Employers, Community Impact, Best Concept, and for each category there was a short video of each of the nominees. After the winner was announced they went up to the podium, accepted their award and then gave a speech. It was kinda like the Oscars…but for small business!
When it was finally time for our category, Best Online Marketer, I started to get really nervous and excited. During the cocktail reception, I’d had about 3 glasses of wine (it’s hard to say no when people keep handing them to you!) and I was trying to think as soberly as possible what the heck I would say if Make It Productions was called. No one had told us about the speech part or the fact it was such a big fancy event!
Right before they called the winner, I felt my heartbeat in my throat and my mouth went completely dry. I glanced at Chandler and he had the same look of anticipation. When the called Make It Productions we both jumped up in the air! It was such a crazy out-of-body feeling to hear our name! We made our way up to the podium and after the award was handed to me I went up to the mic and tried to be as calm as possible. It felt like a blur, but I remember thanking all the Makies because without them, it wouldn’t be possible for Make It to have grown to the size it is now. I tried to be funny too but I can’t remember if anyone laughed!
After, we had a bunch of photos taken and tons of people came up to congratulate us. It felt amazing to be recognized on that level and I tried my hardest to receive with an open heart . I was overwhelmed by all the kind things people said to us about Make It. That night, I could hardly sleep because I was still buzzing with positive energy.
Winning an award is pretty freaking awesome…especially when you get money! What’s even better, is realizing that something you’ve worked so hard creating matters to people and makes a difference. It’s so easy to forget this when you are working like crazy day to day. Only five and a half years ago, Chandler and I had our very first Make It in a small community centre in Edmonton. There were only 30 exhibitors and our parents collected $2 admission from people at the door. Fast forward to the last show in Vancouver we had 250 exhibitors and over 15,000 people came through the door. It’s pretty amazing to think about how our vision was able to grow because people believed in us and what we are doing.
You might never win an award for your business, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important for you to recognize the positive difference and impact you are making in the world. Take the time to appreciate how far you’ve come by making the decision to follow your dreams. It’s really really important that you take the time to do this.
Chandler and I could have easily decided to put the $1500 into our business and spend it on something boring like new tax software or a fancy paper shredder, but instead we are going to take the time to celebrate. It doesn’t always come naturally, but I’m getting better at it.
Thank you so much for reading and if you have any comments please comment below.
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