IT’S MY ANNIVERSARY PART I: REFLECTIONS ON 4 YEARS IN BUSINESS December 9, 2014 4 YEARS. I can’t believe that this November marked 4 years in business for me. When I first launched Dayka Robinson Designs in 2010, every tiny step seemed like a massive leap of faith. Major.HUGE.I look back & laugh now, because it’s so easy to see in hindsight, how all of those little steps were examples of my floor becoming my ceiling. Yet still, I remember being down at the county office filling out the required paperwork and turning my payment in, feeling like a fraud because I didn’t know if I had the correct forms, the right dollar amount, or really, just what I was going to do when I left that office. I secretly wondered if someone was going to jump from behind that plexiglass window, call my bluff right there in that waiting room & blow my cover…’cause I wasn’t really sure how to proceed with this business of mine. It all seemed so overwhelming at the time, and yet I still remember how I felt when I walked out of that that office–like a bonafide business owner. There’s no doubt about it–business ownership has been one of the hardest and most incredibly rewarding experiences of my life. In the early days, every little step was a walk in the dark–though a tentative one–because I was never 100% sure if what I was doing was right. That feeling stayed with me for several years and it’s only been since last year–in all honesty–that I was really able to identify exactly what that feeling was–that I was waiting for permission.To build my business.To share my ideas.To be great. Patrick Heagney for The Atlantan If I could share any advice on starting a business it would be this: don’t worry about what you don’t know…because if you do, it will overwhelm you. The truth is, there is gonna be a lot you don’t know–A LOT–but the most important exercise is putting one foot in front of the other, every single day. There are 1,001 business books on the market giving you the so-called “insider scoop” on how to make your endeavor a success, but there really is no one correct formula…every approach has to be tailored for the clientele the business serves and the owner who gives it life. You can have 2 people in the same field–especially a creative field–and I can assure you, they will run business their business in two totally different ways.And not only is this okay, but it’s what you should endeavor to do–make your business stand out by keeping YOU at the center of your passions. As I see it, the biggest challenge in entrepreneurship is to stay focused on what you know intuitively.And if you’re clear about your why, it will be so much easier. Want to know all of my secrets??Well here’s a tip: you won’t have to look far, because my whole journey is detailed on this blog. And I don’t mean all of the specifics, but if you start from the beginning, you can see pretty clearly how I built my business.I don’t edit my old blog content on purpose, because it’s important to me that the people who WANT to know how I started can see all of the turns my business has taken. When I started this blog back in 2009, my first post wasn’t even about design, it was about whether or not I should relax my hair (omg)!! I tell anyone who inquires about my path that this business has grown very organically…and looking back, I never would’ve been able to connect all of the dots that have brought me to this point…not in a million years. If you’ve followed me from the beginning you know that I used to do a ton of DIY projects and furniture refinishing…but as I’ve gained more experience and broadened my horizons, I’ve moved away from what I was SURE I’d be doing all of my career towards a niche that encompasses all of who I am…not just as a designer or a business owner, but most importantly, as a woman as well. My intent is to help you live your home AND your life by design and not by default. Did I start out that way?Not at all.Do I wish I had?Eh.Here’s my truth: it probably would’ve made for a more seamless blog with hundreds of thousands of readers, exciting sponsorships and new opportunities (well, more than the ones I’ve had) but the path I took speaks to my most important values–transparency & authenticity–and I’m happy that I can share that with all of you.I’ve been flexible enough to remain open to the possibilities & turns that my life/interests have taken and in that way, my blog has been like a glimpse into my life. I’m a very different person now than who I was when I first started this blog. And I love that I’ve had this blog here to archive and detail some of that progression. Through it all, I’ve just continued to keep moving forward, one step at a time. In 4 short years I’ve: Started a businessLaunched a websiteRedesigned my blogRedesigned my websiteHad my work published in a coffee table bookHad my work published in 2 national magazinesBeen featured in every major local Atlanta lifestyle magazine (Atlanta, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles)One of 20 designers selected to participate in the 2013 Cathedral Antiques Inspiration House (show house)Recognized on HGTV.com’s Front Door as one of Atlanta’s Best Interior DesignersFeatured twice in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC)Featured on West Elm blogNamed to the Hot List by The Atlantan as an up & coming designer to watchStarted a non-profit for designers to collaborate & makeover shelters in the Atlanta areaParticipated in & managed the redesign of 3 homeless/temporary housing projects in 2 yearsNamed to the 2014 15 Under 40 list for Atlanta Homes & LifestylesSelected to design a vignette for the 2014 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival2013 Decor Judge for Taste of AtlantaDesign Assistant on TBS’ Movie & A MakeoverProject Designer for Flynnside Out ProductionsFeatured on Design SpongeStyle Spotlight on Style Blueprint AtlantaStyled national ad campaigns for HGTV’s 2013 & 2014 outdoor & indoor furniture lines plus gardening accessoriesRequested panelist for AmericasMart SeminarsFeatured speaker for 2013 Winter Market at AmericasMartAsked to speak at a local high school for career dayFilmed a 2 news segments with the local NBC affiliatePartnered with national brands including Home Depot, FLOR, Sherwin Williams, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, WallpaperPlus, HomeRiteStyled editorial photo shoots for Atlanta magazine & JezebelHelped countless clients improve their lives through the power of great design.Producing my first design video (Flynnside Out) in less than 2 weeks! In the midst of that I’ve also:Left an 8 year relationshipLost 37 poundsDeveloped an autoimmune diseaseStarted & ended a businessLost my grandmotherTackled some major financial hurdlesGained a few fantastic new friendsRediscovered some incredible old friendsWrestled with some really tough decisionsUncovered more of myself Mali Azima for AHL It hasn’t always been easy and the path isn’t always clear.Every step of growth means I’m simultaneously outgrowing something else, and I’ve had to get very very comfortable with change–that’s the nature of being an entrepreneur, especially in a creative field. There have been times when I didn’t know how I was going to make it and hear my heart when I say this–I can surely tell you a thing or two about rubbing 2 quarters together!!But through it all, I’ve kept on going. And because of that one commitment to myself, I now have a life (and a business) that I never ever imagined I’d have when I graduated from college so many years ago.So as I celebrate my 4th anniversary, I encourage you to honor whatever whisper is keeping you up at night. If you want to start a business, start today. Yes, it’s scary and you’ll feel like everyone is watching you and you might not be sure how to do everything and you may not even be sure your idea is going to work but here’s one thing I know–it will never work if you don’t at least try.Your future self is waiting on you. (If you STILL want to read more, you’re in luck…Part II of my reflections will post on Friday!) Share this: Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window) Related 8 Comments on IT’S MY ANNIVERSARY PART I: REFLECTIONS ON 4 YEARS IN BUSINESS traci zeller December 9, 2014 at 8:35 am (4 years ago) You are amazing, Dayka! Thank you for this, for the gift that is your business, your life and your friendship, and for just being you. So glad our paths have crossed and proud to know you!! Reply Khalila Parrish December 9, 2014 at 10:49 am (4 years ago) Congratulations Dayka! What an amazing and inspiring journey. As an aspiring business owner, I’m looking forward to reading (and learning) more from you as you continue upward on your path of success. Thank you for sharing your story. Good luck and well wishes! Reply Anonymous December 9, 2014 at 11:34 am (4 years ago) Dayka Robinson, I am truly inspired by you. This blog post was extremely encouraging & transparent. Continue doing what your doing ‘creating value wherever you are’!!! Your talents/gifts are great contributions to many. Keep up the GREAT WORK Dayka. Anne Woodward Reply Jessica Kelley December 9, 2014 at 2:10 pm (4 years ago) Congratulations Dayka. You deserve it all and more! xo Reply Darcel December 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm (4 years ago) Love, love, love this post! It’s so great to read about and see manifest dreams of people who step out on faith. You’ve lost and gained and that’s what we each face as we go through life. Your courage and faith is truly inspiring. Hoping and praying that your next 4,14,40 years will be even better. Congrats on 4 years in business. Reply Shavonda@AHomeFullOfColor December 12, 2014 at 11:46 am (4 years ago) Dayka I swear you spoke right THROUGH me with this post. It couldnt have possibly come at a better time. Sooooo much of this post is where I am right now. Thank you so much for touching my heart today. Reply LiveLaughDecorate December 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm (4 years ago) Awww lady, thanks for sharing these words of encouragement. I’ve always loved your honesty and transparency and am so happy to see you blaze such an amazing trail for yourself, and for others to learn from. Congrats on these four years and the many years of blessings to come. Honored most of all, to call you a friend. Reply Ariene Bethea December 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm (4 years ago) Thank you for always being open and honest. You continue to inspire me! I can’t wait to see what you do in another 4 years!!! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment *Name* Email * Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.