By The Creative Anthology Staff
The frozen air chilled the cab of the unheated Uhaul leaving the windows coated in a thin veneer of ice. The smell of the damp dirt-caked floor mats wafted through the front of the cab, churning my already stressed and nervous empty stomach, gently reminding me that even though it was nearly noon I had completely forgotten to eat since the early morning of the day before.
“Did we bring the keys?” I asked to no one in particular as I leaned my un-makeuped face on the cool plastic interior of the box truck’s door.
Ready or not, it was move-in day for our brand new business baby, and boy was it going to be a difficult month of delivery for our family’s restaurant.
Though anxious to finally progress past the dusty 10-month construction filled pre-opening stage of building blueprints and planning for plumbers, my overworked mind swirled with the almost innumerable possibilities of what could go wrong next.
What if we have no customers show up to the opening day?
What if I’ve forgotten something that we absolutely need to get by?
What if I’ve just wasted Tens of Thousands of Dollars of my Family’s hard earned money?
I winced as I remembered the Previous week’s folly at the hands of my ridiculous and Overpaid Assistant who accidentally ordered 1000 business cards with our company name misspelled on each and every one.
“Bad news,” the sharp words broke through the bitter reverie of my minds cynical voice, “the lead contractor decided to take an unscheduled full week vacation for Valentine’s Day. We’re going to have to push back the opening.”
And Push we did, right out of the thoughts and schedules of our once very hungry and enamored potential customers.
It would be a very sleepless 30 Days before we rebuilt our momentum on Social Media.
Five weeks later, without a warning insight, our stylish space, finally packed with customers, suddenly started to flicker.
“Come Help” the very panic-stricken voice of my business partner called from the doorway of my office.
“Lights.” He mouthed, trying not to alarm the diners, blissfully eating their meals in the very next room.
As the flickering grew more consistent, it became clear that something had gone horribly awry with the wiring system in our utility room.
“Help.” I cried through the now tear-slicked mouthpiece of the phone, as I pulled my far too understanding husband out of a very important meeting at his law firm. “Something’s wrong with the wiring and it smells like there might be smoke”
As if in answer to my pleading call to arms, the lights dimmed again and the wires hissed a snarled song, forcing us to quickly evacuate the entire building, call in the assistance of the local fire department, and hand out deep discounts to our bewildered customers who watched in awe as the events unfolded from the sidewalk across the street.
“Do you need anything from us before we go?” a callous voice exclaimed in an almost sing-songy tone as my concentration was broken by our then restaurant manager, audibly excited that she got to leave work early on a Saturday. (It would be only 9 months before we parted ways with her after finding out that she was stealing tips from the waitresses.)
“No, we’ve got it covered, thanks.” a small automatic voice responded from my body as my disconnected mind ran rampant with disbelief and thoughts of what was going to happen next.
If you’re anything like me, Poor Fortune, overly-optimistic Planning, and even worse hiring choices can lead to an unceasing firestorm of business bad luck knocking at your once perfectly organized company’s door.
When Your entire life revolves around one goal, the success of your business, it can be so easy to lose sight of who you are and why you wanted to achieve that goal in the first place.
If however, you are lucky enough to possess a well of personal conviction and inner strength that can only come from a dedication to self-care and personal growth, it might just be the only thing that’s there to throw you a lifeline when you get caught in the fickle flames of your own business failure.
This is How Successful Female Entrepreneurs Avoid Losing Themselves When Starting a Business
Delegation is the real name of the game, and honey, even Rumpelstiltskin couldn’t have guessed that sh*t.
1. Share the Load - As the HBIC, you have to learn that just because you can do anything doesn't mean that you can do everything. In the late 20-teens, with Social Media Management, Customer Acquisition, and presumably spinning straw into gold all running through your overworked mind before you've even had a chance to finish your morning latte, delegation is the real name of the game, and honey, even Rumpelstiltskin couldn't have guessed that sh*t. Improve your efficiency and multiply your efforts by temporarily transferring some of the heavy lifting to another set of shoulders so you can regain control of your world.
Creative Tip: If you don't have a team to take away a little of the load, try outsourcing some tasks to some fabulous freelancers. You can't put a price on the cost of a job well done that you didn't have to do, but if you could, I'm sure you could probably find it on Fiverr.
2. Treat Yo Self - When You're overwhelmed, and under the gun, it can seem counterintuitive to waste even more time of your already overextended schedule with non-business related activities. Frivolous though it may seem, however, as the heart of your business, your inspiration is the lifeblood that keeps your company alive and well. If you become run down and your motivation dries up, so too will the ability for your business to perform. Treat yourself to a once weekly activity that will allow you to take some time to unwind and disconnect now so that both you and your business have the strength to push through harder times later.
Creative Tip: Make sure to schedule your weekly appointment on your calendar far in advance and never break it. Pushing your meeting around and constantly rescheduling on yourself is a really good indication that you need to start taking more time to unwind, not less.
3. Time after Time - Some of the best Business Lady Thoughts Happen in some of the most unexpected places. Being in charge means that oftentimes work and life can be incredibly fluid. If you feel your work starting to weigh on your ways, take a mental health moment to recenter and decompress. If however, the 5pm bell tolls and you’re still on a roll, grab some takeout and work on that project now.
Creative Tip: If you don’t love the idea of having to get take out when you want to stay in, meal prep an extra dinner each week that is able to be used in the office for a late night or at home if you just don’t feel like fixing a bite.
4. Get to Work - Stress filled days call for stress-busting ways and unless you're lucky enough to employ a 24/7 masseuse or were cursed blessed with a regenerating liver à la Prometheus, your only (legal) options are to work it out or start working out. Start introducing a high-performance exercise routine like running or boxing into your day to help work off that excess frustration. If, however, you're feeling a little more zen every now and again, try getting your physical fix with something like yoga to help calm the mind and channel all that excess energy into good vibes and a great core.
Creative Tip: If you don't want the extra pressure of putting yourself through the paces, enlist the help of a personal trainer to make your workout less of a chore and more of a challenge.