So, I got this shiny new site and suddenly I felt paralyzed. I had poured my entire heart into every pixel. The new shop exploded. I had to hire a shop manager ASAP. We sold out of a lot of things way too fast (great problem, I know). There have been a lot of growing pains. Good growing pains and a whole lot of change.

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Friends, change is awesome but it’s also scary, isn’t it? Since our company’s growth (like kudzu) doesn’t seem to be slowing down, I’ve been thinking about how much change I’ve endured in my business over the last decade. From it, here are 5 Things I’ve Learned About Business Growth. I hope these little nuggets help you, too.

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1. I tell this to all of my clients, too. Be prepared for sudden growth. Streamline, simplify, automate, pre-stamp envelopes, take out the trash, clear the clutter and give yourself no excuse not to succeed when “Oprah calls”. In general, it is wiser to use your time to get your back-end organized and streamlined internally than to market yourself externally. Do one in preparation for the other. I learned this the hard way when we first launched Southern Weddings in 2008. Our brand exploded onto the market and I wasn’t prepared, so I ended up working 24/7 and my life suffered. My work suffered. I bit off more than I could chew. I kept thinking that “getting bigger” was the goal. If that is your goal, ask yourself WHY. Now I make decisions from my core – a core that is grounded in what matters most to me – and it never fails. Sudden growth still catches me off guard at times, but I’m much better at navigating those waters now with full sails!

2. Done is better than perfect. And another phrase I say to myself often: One thing at a time.

3. In times of busy business, stick to your CORE. It will guide you and help you make efficient decisions quickly. The goal in growth is not to get “bigger,” it’s to get better. You cannot please everyone. And, if you are doing things right and being very specific to your core, you won’t please everyone. That’s a very good thing. Your goal should be to capture a specific loyal audience, not the masses. We’ve had exponential success by following this model in business. When things get crazy around a launch or magazine release, we are all on the same page because we know exactly what our mission is. These are the little desk cards Nicole made for each of us as a reminder of our core and to be sure everything we do aligns with it. How cute is Henrietta? She is our office chicken mascot. Oh yes.

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I don’t have to micromanage anyone in this office ever. They know what our heart is and they are as passionate as I am about making that heart happen. Specific and small are the new big. Follow your core. Say NO to what doesn’t fit your core, and take big risks in saying YES to what does.

4. Growth is exciting, but be sure to prioritize. And “prioritizing” doesn’t mean letting things slide. It means being more efficient. When you add to your company, don’t forget the rest of your business that still has to run and run well. If your core services fall through the cracks and you spread yourself thin, your growth is pointless. So, be prepared, be efficient, get more help if you can’t do it all and grow wisely. Use your time wisely. Get off Facebook. Make things happen.

5. Don’t wait to start your big idea. Growth is scary because it can mean big life change, but isn’t that risk worth it for what you really want?? The timing will never be “perfect.” As my friend Ritchie says in his new book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid, “Don’t wait. Start stuff!” Stuff meaning the things that MATTER. Take risks. Take risks. Take risks! In the midst of huge transition and growing pains and any time you are overwhelmed, just keep choosing what’s right. One. Step. At. A. Time. But, the point is to CHOOSE. Again: Take risks. Take risks. Take risks. Don’t let fear or a state of “overwhelmed” keep you from moving forward. Don’t wait. Start good stuff!

I love this excerpt from Richie’s book: “I refuse to achieve success at the expense of my life. The two – life success and genuine fulfillment – will have to go hand in hand, because I will not keep my head down for the next forty years only to look up at the end and say, “Now I can finally start living!… Don’t wait. Start stuff.”

I use this quote a lot because it’s true: A year from now, you will wish you had started today. What do you need to start? What is your “stupid” idea that you want to make happen? Leave a comment on this post and I’m going to give away another copy of Richie’s book to a random commenter. Even if you entered on Instagram already, enter again if you didn’t win! I’m so blessed to know Natalie and Richie and to have the opportunity to share my story in this book. I hope you grab your copy before it sells out! I just bought 12 for friends, and one for the winner here : ) Can you tell Gracie loves this book, too?

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OK! Speaking of winners, there are LOTS of winners to announce! All randomly chosen. Congrats to Laura Frances, the winner of my Instagram/Facebook giveaway of Richie’s book. You will LOVE it! And congrats to the three random winners chosen to receive prints from my new shop: Annie {little&ever}, Vanessa from V3 Events and Fiona Cheng! Winners, email me and I’ll get your prizes to you!

SINCERE THANKS to everyone who commented about my launch. Your comments made my heart so full! After working so hard on this new site for a year and a half, it is so wonderful to know that you have been inspired. I hope y’all will come back often : )

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This free download and more can be found here.

And really, I want to hear from you so I can hopefully encourage you or pray for you. Don’t wait. Start stuff. Comment below and tell me what you want to start. And don’t be afraid to comment. I know some of you feel that way and you are not alone. Lurk no more and talk to me : )

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  • Y’all! I just got major butterflies typing this. It’s so surreal to be writing this post about my new brand and shop. Right after I had Grace, I felt a very strong calling to make a new internet home that would inspire people to live their best lives. A year and a half later, I am SO grateful for the brand that you see before you. There are so many professionals who have made this new brand possible. Ross, Alex, Sasha, Dmitri, Dima, Victor, Alina and the team at Flosites have worked countless hours with me to create a site that translated my heart clearly. (Guys, I have sweet tea and biscuits waiting for you if you ever come to NC!) I’ve never felt more at home.

    This site would never have happened without the ladies I have the joy of working with daily. They have worked so hard to help me get the finishing touches together. I have the BEST team! Sincere gratitude to Emily, Nicole, Marissa, Kristin and Emily Ley. You are gooder than grits.

    My NEW SHOP is filled with products that were created to inspire small creative spaces. We have so many more products yet to be listed – some are being listed as I type this! We are already almost sold out of some items even before hitting publish on this post. My dad always encouraged me to paint when I was young, so this shop is for you dad. I love you. You don’t know it yet, but I’m coming to visit you next week as a surprise : )

    Lara Casey - Brand-Board

    And, friends, I love surprises. So, there are truckloads of fun surprises in this site! Oh, they make me so happy! Rather than tell you all about them, I invite you to experience them for yourself. Pour a tall glass of sweet tea and enjoy! I look forward to sharing this new internet home with you daily and pray that you are inspired to make things happen. Huge thanks to the Blueberry Fusion gents for creating this video that makes my heart burst with joy! A peek into my world…

    To celebrate the new launch, I am giving away 3 gold foil prints from my shop and a pair of my favorite shoes. When I became a mama, I decided it was time to give away all of my uncomfortable heels in favor of something better. Tieks to the rescue!

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    Win a pair of Tieks in any color you like (I want to win my own giveaway!) and gold foil prints by doing one of the following:

    - spread the word about the #lclaunch on social media and link back to my site or this post
    – like my new Facebook page
    – blog about the new site/shop
    – Pin this post or anything on this site! There’s a ton to pin : )
    – leaving a comment here with your favorite part (there’s a lot to have fun with here!) of my new brand/shop and let me know about any other links or entries you made

    Winners will be chosen at random on February 28th and you can enter as many times as you like. Just be sure to leave comments here with your entries!

    Friends, God is GOOD. I am so grateful for this journey and for so many who have encouraged and supported me! Thank you thank you! AHHHH!!!! We LAUNCHED!!!!!!!!

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

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    To name your fears is to destroy them. Are you feeling overwhelmed, in a hurry and stressed as you read this right now? Hello. Welcome to a little mental break. Imagine I’m sitting right in front of you, looking you in the eyes… take a deep breath : ) I have an important question for you today that will hopefully help you feel much better and take some of the weight off your shoulders. Ready? (more…)

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    I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Making things happen requires breaking the rules. You have worked hard to set 2013 Goals, cleared some clutter and started to learn about preparing for greatness (much more on that to come!). Today, I’m giving you the key ingredient to making things happen. The biggest FAQ I get from people is “How do you do it all? How do you balance everything?” My answer: I don’t always do it all. I rest. (more…)

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