At certain points in our lives, we all make choices that shape our careers. Whether it’s applying to that dream job, asking for a promotion, picking a major, or giving notice at a dead-end gig—these choices have immediate consequences. But they also inevitably influence the types of opportunities we have down the line.
For these four innovative entrepreneurs, making a resolution proved to be the thing that altered the trajectory of their professional development. We asked them to share what resolution they made, and the impact it had on their life:
“I broke up with my business partner”
When Dr. Inna Chern originally developed a practice, she went started a business partnership with a fellow doctor. But as can happen with any type of relationship, after a few years of working together, the duo started to grow apart, and their visions for the future shifted. Chern says it took a great deal of soul-searching, but eventually she admitted to herself that it was time to take a different direction.
Looking back on the pre-resolution period, she realizes at the time, she believed she needed a partner to succeed, and she battled feeling confident enough to take charge of a company all by herself. Once she severed the partnership, she went through a divorce-like yearlong period where she says she hit rock bottom. She decided to make a shift.
Her resolution was a seemingly simple one, but one that eventually gave her the tools she needed to open her own practice, New York General Dentistry. She pledged to go back to school for both business and dentistry. “For the first time I realized that I was enough for myself and that I didn’t need to compromise . . . or stay in an ill-functioning work relationship,” she says.
She originally made a commitment for one year of advanced education, and now she’s heading into her third. Refreshed and fulfilled by her work, she wishes she would have made the decision to cut ties earlier. Though it was difficult, the payoff was greater than the risk.
“I decided to create a fully remote workforce”
Back in 2015, Jill Koziol and her cofounder of Motherly made a no-brainer decision to allow all employees to work remotely. The pair had realized how much time getting ready and commuting takes from a working mom’s already-packed day-to-day routine. Considering their mission was to support today’s dual-income families, why wouldn’t they offer the same flexibility to their team? “As a company for women and mothers, by women and mothers, we felt a responsibility to be on the cutting-edge,” she says. “It has been an absolute game-changer for our business and my family.”
The move reduces the time Koziol spends in traffic or on a train, and allowed her to adapt her own schedule around her kids. She says it’s made the integration of work and family mostly seamless. “I’ve not been forced to choose, and neither has our team. As a result they are fiercely loyal and I know we get the best from each of them every day,” she says.
Koziol encourages leaders to follow suit, and reap the rewards of a happier and often more productive employees. “A resolution requires commitment, even when things get hard, so don’t make a resolution lightly. Consider the implications for your business, your workforce, and yourself and commit to resolutions that create wins for each.”
“I resolved to stop saying, ‘I’ll be happy when . . . ‘”
Regardless of your professional title, your industry, or even your astrological sign, nearly everyone is guilty of looking too far ahead in the future. It’s the source—and definition—of anxiety. For a while, Roshawnna Novellus allowed herself to rely on putting off happiness, telling herself she’d feel satisfied when she reached her next promotion, or achieved a certain goal.
Eventually she realized the impact this mentality was having on her sense of self and her ability to focus on the here and now—as well as the successes right in front of her. Today, as the founder of EnrichHER, she’s removed that four-word phrase from her vocabulary. “I was able to let go of my goals to constantly make the next month better than the last one, and take the less stable path of starting a social impact startup,” she says.
To do this, she accepted a cut in her salary—but an improvement in her happiness and fulfillment. Even if you don’t need to quit your gig to reach this realization, Novellus urges overworked and ambitious professionals to take time to explore what really matters to them. And instead of focusing on checking off milestones, focus on what will encourage your happiness today.
“I raised the prices of my services”
The act of asking for more money is a heart-racing, sweaty-palmed experience for many. But for the president of The Storied Group, Molly Schoneveld, raising her rates was required to achieve stability and growth within her business. So, she made it a resolution and stuck to her objective, even if it was often uncomfortable.
By charging more, she attracted clients who were keen to make a long-term investment, rather than ones only in it for a quick win, at the lowest rate possible. “Because I was undercharging, not only was I devaluing my services and essentially telling customers the story that ‘we are the cheap option,'” she says. “More importantly, I couldn’t afford to hire the help I really needed to do the best job for them.”
The payoff? A 30% growth in her business year-over-year, that allowed her to take on larger projects, stabilize her pipeline, and double her staff. “We now have a digital department, a talent department, and a hospitality department, with high-level support for each. It has also allowed me to offer health benefits to my employees as well as a 401K—something I couldn’t do my first seven years in business.”
There’s not only mega empowerment to be found in charging what you’re worth, but often it translates to a healthier bottom line that aligns to your values and talents. So, whether you intend to raise rates in your own company or ask for a raise from your employer, if you never try it, you’ll never get there—or see the perks of taking a chance.