Lessons Learned from my First Year in Business and a Road Trip

Lessons learned from my first year in business, Anne McOmber of Totally Design The biggest, longest road trip I ever went on was 10 days across the country – all the way from Utah to Massachusetts. My mom and I, along with my aunt and cousin, packed the car to the brim, stocked up on snacks and music and hit the road. It was going to be the adventure of a lifetime! Our stops were all carefully planned, our destination was set, and hotels were reserved all along the way. We were excited to see things and places we’d never seen before, enjoy the quality time together, and venture out across the country. Well, like most things in life, that road trip didn’t go perfectly to plan. It turned out to be full of unplanned detours, missed reservations, a sick stomach – more than once – and yet an adventure so wonderful I’ll never forget it. And it’s true what they say, sometimes those unforeseen and unplanned events end up being the most memorable. Last month I celebrated my one year anniversary of my online shop, and looking back on it, I realize I opened up my shop last July the same way we started out that road trip – I’d done my research, my goals were outlined and my destination was set… or so I thought. Who knew that this amazing, crazy, frustrating, awesome, empowering adventure was going to have so many unexpected detours, twists and turns! While the road trip is over, my journey as a business owner is just beginning. However, both journeys have proven to be full of lots of unexpected lessons learned along the way:

LESSON 1: Be ready to be flexible and adapt. It’s a lot easier that way!

Detours and road blocks happen, as do unsuccessful product launches and marketing strategies. But that doesn’t mean we need to turn around and head back home. My shop at this very moment is quite different from what it started out as on day one. And it’s certainly different from what I expected it to look like at this point. But thankfully, I have some awesome customers who have given me invaluable feedback and have helped shape Totally Design to what it is right now. And I’ve learned that having a loose, flexible plan and vision has made all the difference in the development of my business.

LESSON 2:  Bring others along for the ride.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that a road trip is no fun by yourself, nor would I be brave or adventurous enough to attempt it on my own anyway! Why I felt I’d be able to travel down this business road without the company of anyone else is beyond me… but I did. Huge lesson learned! I may be a quiet, keep-to-myself kind of person, but life (and business) is a bazillion times better when spent alongside others. The relationships I’ve built over this year with bloggers, other creative business owners, and with fellow members here at Oh My! Handmade Goodness have changed my world! – for the better : )

LESSON 3:  Enjoy each moment.

At the end of the day, it’s just as much about the journey as it is about the destination. The memories made during that drive to Massachusetts were far more meaningful than the moment we stepped out of the car at our final destination. And we certainly could have shaved off several days in our journey if we hadn’t taken the time to stop and experience the culture and landmarks along the way. So glad we didn’t let those moments pass us by! Likewise, it’s always worth reminding myself to step back and soak in the excitement and awe in doing something I’m so passionate about. Lessons learned from my first year in business, Anne McOmber of Totally Design   It’s easy to let the stress of achieving big, long-term goals rob us of the happiness that comes from creating and living. Instead, be in each moment and enjoy the journey! Besides, isn’t that the point of a road trip anyway? What lessons have you learned from road tripping that you can apply to your business? Share with us in the comments below!


Hi, I’m Anne – creator, designer and everything in between at Totally Design. With a passion for customer appreciation, obsession with modern design, and an inherited love for beautiful packaging, I’m on a mission to help online shop owners (just like you and me) leave a lasting impression with their customers.



  1. Marisa says:

    So many great points Anne – especially about being flexible and not turning around and going home. You never know what you’ll discover when a detour gets in your way!

    • Anne says:

      Thanks Marisa! Yes, flexibility can play a huge role in progress! And you are most certainly right… so many wonderful things to discover as a result of a detour 🙂

  2. webnavgal says:

    Such a terrific analogy between business and life journeys. Being able to step back and reflect on those moments that really made all the difference is key. Love this, Anne!

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