One year ago today, when Clair and I launched Passion Fruit, we weren’t quite sure what our first year had in store for us. We weren’t even sure if we should make an announcement on April 1, 2020 that we were launching a business because it seemed irrelevant with everything else going on in the world at that time. Nevertheless, we decided to launch our website and post on LinkedIn to let the world know that Passion Fruit Partners was open for business.
As we look back and reflect on our first year as partners, we want to share a few milestones achieved, lessons learned, and final thoughts on our first year before we focus on what’s ahead.
While we weren’t sure what the year ahead would look like on Day One, we had a few milestones that we set for ourselves, some more easily quantifiable than others:
- Hire one full-time employee
- Work with at least 10 nonprofits
- Achieve Impact Partner status with Salesforce by January 2021
- Have happy clients
- Continue learning
- Promote health and wellness
- Give back
While reviewing the milestones we ended up achieving in our first year, we are both incredibly grateful for how things have gone and realize that none of this would have been possible without an incredible ecosystem of support behind us:
- Hired four full-time employees
- Worked with 27 nonprofits
- Achieved Impact Partner Status in July 2020
- Completed 33 projects with a client satisfaction rating of 5/5
- Achieved 8 more Salesforce certifications, giving us an average of 5.3 certifications per team member
- Enrolled our team in The Resilient Culture Initiative - receiving training and daily topics of discussion focused on improving mental health, increasing healthy behaviors, leadership, and improving positive relationships
- Joined the Pledge 1% Initiative, pledging to give back 1% of our time pro bono
- Gave back financially by matching employee donations to nonprofits
While our first year has far surpassed our expectations in almost every way, there were definitely a lot of lessons learned along the way. To share a couple that stood out to us:
- Implementing work/life balance doesn’t mean that the quality or quantity of work has to suffer. When Clair and I started Passion Fruit, we both knew we didn’t want to build a firm where our team was overworked for the sake of more profit. We believed that keeping evenings and weekends free to disconnect, spend time with family, and enjoy life, would lead to refreshed and energized employees and a better experience for our employees. A year later, we’ve stuck to our goal to work an average of 40 hours a week and have found that our team is significantly more productive than we have been in previous roles working 60+ hours a week. Work-life balance is achievable and leads to incredible fulfillment inside and outside of work.
- It’s okay to ask for help. When we started, it was easy to fall into the trap of thinking it was “us against the world” and we had to figure everything out ourselves if we were going to be successful. This notion quickly faded as we realized how many people wanted to help. Whether it be someone from the nonprofit community going out of their way to introduce us to a potential client or a mentor offering their time to coach us through challenging situations, we were both blown away by how gracious people were with their time when we were getting started.
- Nothing would be possible without an incredible team. People are the heart of any organization. Every single team member has contributed to Passion Fruit through putting their passion into their work, showing up authentically, and doing their best everyday. We are so lucky to work with amazingly talented people, and we are thankful that as a team we can cover each other's weaknesses and lift each other up when we are down. All of our unique contributions provide perspective and make us stronger. Thank you for trusting us in the journey and joining us for the ride!
Closing Thoughts on Year One
The overwhelming feeling we both share when looking back on Passion Fruit’s first year is gratitude. Gratitude for the incredible nonprofits we are able to work with every day and play a small part in helping them fulfill their mission. Gratitude for Reagan, Jenn, Adrian, and Lihan, for joining the Passion Fruit team in its early days and for being such incredible team members, pushing us forward, and holding us to high standards of delivery and integrity. Gratitude for Salesforce and their partnership. Gratitude for all of the mentors, friends, and family who continue to support us on our journey.
As we close the chapter on our first year in business, we couldn’t be more excited about the year ahead and all it holds in store for us. A final thank you to everyone who contributed in making this a great first year for Passion Fruit.
Ben & Clair