It’s now officially official, The Life Actually Company™ is a real thing and no longer just exists in my imagination! Wednesday this website went live, and we threw a launch party to celebrate in NYC. This entire week has been a bit overwhelming, but in this case that’s a good thing! With all of the intros out of the way, now the real fun can begin.
So, how did we get here?
I had no idea I would outgrow First and Trend. Though isn’t that how an outgrowth usually happens? When I was still in TV and fantasized about starting a fashion blog I thought for hours and hours about what the name would be. Then one day it hit me, instead of First and Ten in football, we’ve got First and Trend in fashion.
When Marc and I first started dating he asked me what it was that truly made me passionate. Was it sports? Was it the career I had worked so hard on for a decade and a half? I thought it was. But as I moved through my thirties my priorities changed. Suddenly my love of fashion began to creep in on my love of sports. And while I enjoyed telling the stories of athletes and their accomplishments, nearly all were men. I longed to connect with women.
But I thought I was a TV reporter through and through. That was my identity. So, I quietly told Marc about my fashion blog dream and shared the name I had created. However, I told him, I’m not going to do it, because doing it would put me out there. And I wasn’t ready for that.
By the end of that week Marc surprised me by purchasing the domain firstandtrend.com and laurabehnke.com. He told me he wanted me to have them "for when you are ready". I was speechless. It was such a simple move, but by purchasing those names himself, he took my fear out of the equation. And he left the rest up to me.
Those domains sat unused for a couple years because part of being in the TV business is not having much control (or any) over your personal brand. I was not allowed to create a website or anything that was not sanctioned by my station. And they weren’t interested in a fashion blog.
Eventually I would leave the business to start something new. After years of focusing on sports I was ready for fashion, style, and finding ways to support and empower other women.
Making that career change was exciting! Though I struggled to restructure my personal identity now that TV wasn’t my career. But through it all, First and Trend was there. It felt like a way to bridge these two career worlds. And we fully committed to it. We bought the domain, trademarked the name and turned it into an LLC, and printed out hundreds of business cards.
But after about a year I began to feel a tug in another direction. First and Trend represented the two passions I had when I came up with the name: fashion and sports. But I no longer felt a great connection to the sporting world. In fact, I was paying it no attention. And I had zero desire to change that.
Soon after that I realized it was time to shift my focus once again.
But what about First and Trend? I had put so much time, effort, and resources into that name and now I was going to just walk away? It felt like one big failure, or like I was just giving up.
But that’s how life works. We evolve. We grow in ways we may not have imagined and that means leaving some things behind. I quickly learned that it’s actually pretty easy to change the name of an LLC. The domain name I was looking for was available. And a new trademark process can always be started. (That’s why you’ll see the ™ symbol every time you see The Life Actually Company™. The lawyers tell you to do it until the trademark process is complete, and who am I to argue with them?)
Like with my TV career, I will always be thankful for First and Trend and what it taught me. Was it a huge success? Not at all. Did it make any money? Certainly not enough to live on. But it was my first opportunity to work for myself.
I learned a hell of a lot over the last year and a half. And it all brought me to this point.
Of course, at this point there are definitely no guarantees! I will still continue to change and so will The Life Actually Company™. I can’t even begin to imagine the many ways it could evolve, but I’m open to it.
That, after all, is really the point of this new company. We can’t predict life and we may think it’s supposed to go a certain way. But acknowledging and appreciating who we are and where we’ve come to get to any particular point means celebrating the life we have created.
No matter where it may take us from here.
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