Years ago, I was a single mom that just left an unhappy marriage when I moved to Columbus, Ohio.
I had no friends here. And when I tell you I had no friends here, I literally had no friends here. I worked about 16-18 hour days all while trying to raise a 8 month old. I didn’t have a sitter, either. I would pray Quinnie would take long naps and cried for a week when she went from 2 naps down to 1. I was doing everything… fulfilling orders that came in from both Etsy and the site. I was doing all the photography, the editing, product descriptions, the design work, the supply management, the screen printing, the packaging, the customer service. I was also the only care taker of my daughter who was about 8 months old at the time. I would work about 16-18 hour days managing the business and keeping an eye on Quinnie, and never take a full day off. I couldn’t. If I did, my anxiety would be so bad by the next day from all the work I had to catch up on that it wasn’t even worth it.
Not only was I incredibly stressed out with keeping Pebby Forevee afloat, but I suffered from intense anxiety and some depression after having Quinnie. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and rush to her crib just to make sure she was breathing, only to go back to bed and be woken up by her several more times throughout the night for feedings. I would get up and do it again the next day. And the next day. And the next. I would go to church just to hope someone would strike up a conversation with me. Just breathing the same air as other people made me feel like I was part of society. And then I would cry on the way home, succumbing to the overwhelming feeling of loneliness. I was exhausted. I felt guilt for wanting a break from my daughter who was as lovable as she was draining. Motherhood is really hard especially when you are doing it alone. I felt strapped because I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do for my business because my time was completely soaked up with caring for her. And at the same time, I was thankful I got to see my daughter every day even though it slowed my goals down exponentially. I was thankful that I could work when she went to sleep. I was thankful I had a job that even though stressed me out at times, was something I truly loved doing.
But I was losing the game of trying to balance everything. It was just too much and I needed help one way or another. I needed to either place Quinnie in a daycare of some sort, or I needed to hire someone on to help me.
The Obvious SolutionIt’s a big step to hire someone on your team. A really big step.
Starting a business is like giving birth. But instead of giving birth to a baby, you give birth to an idea that you really want to watch grow and prosper and succeed, just like you would with a child. I decided I would rather hire someone to help me with the business than send Quinnie to a sitter and not see her everyday. It was a hard decision to make either way but keeping Quinnie close to me eased some of the mom quilt I had about not wanting to quit my dreams since becoming a mom. (Something a lot of women deal with once they have children, whether they want to admit it or not. No one can prepare you for that feeling.)
I was about 3 years into Owning Pebby Forevee before I got an assistant…about 2 years overdue. I think every entrepreneur has to main fears when it comes to reaching out for assistance. 1. They feel they don’t have it in the budget to hire help. 2. They feel they done it themselves all along and what if they hired someone that didn’t care to share the same quality control standards as they did.
But I figured I was already losing my sanity, so what else was there to really lose….?
When my first assistant began, just the idea of training her gave me anxiety because it took time to do that (time that I didn’t think I had) and then more time to go over her work and double check it to make sure she was doing everything correctly. And then there was the task of making sure nothing slipped through the cracks because I wasn’t seeing things with my own eyes anymore. I had to actually (gasp!) trust and depend on someone other than myself. But from one seemingly dream-filled-hoping-to-keep-my-sanity-all-while-trying-to-be-happy person to another, getting help was the best thing I’ve ever done. I wish I would have done it sooner.
That’s my biggest regret. Not getting help sooner.
And that doesn’t pertain just to getting help with the business. When I hired her, she also became someone to talk to. It didn’t take long for her to take to Quinnie and to this day they are buddies even though she has since moved on to another career. Her and I remain close friends and I am even still close with her family. Because I hired help, tunnels of my loneliness were filled with conversations and eventually memories. Because I hired help, I was able to enjoy my time with my daughter without replying to emails on my phone at the same time and missing out on the quality of our connection. Because I hired help, I was able to delegate tasks that would have previously kept me up at night thus contributing to further exhaustion.
Go Get Yours
I tell you this because I think a lot of people deal with asking for help in one way or another even if it’s not business related. The issues that keep you up at night, or keep you from fully enjoying your life to the fullest deserve to be closely examined for a plausible solution. The list of things that are preventing you from feeling balanced can be endless. The first step to fixing that is to sit down and prioritize your life. Write down on a list what is strapping you in or stressing you out. Then, make it a priority to tie up those loose ends. One problem at a time, find a solution to it. They are out there. You may have to get creative or take risk, but if your happiness and state of balance is important to you, it's worth it.
Your life will never be what you want it to be if you are not making it a priority.
Fast forward a couple of years since hiring my first helper, there are 3 girls that help me runt this Power House on a regular basis. It’s LEGIT! (Like, they’re on payroll and everything!) And because I was able to find such amazing help, my shop has moved from my dingy, unfinished, cell-like basement to an actual workspace where real people come in and out of the store, where countless of conversations are made and I am no longer lonely. The space has been good to us, and big enough to expand the brand to include not just shirts anymore but also boutique items that make styling your life easier. And more comfortable (duh!). And because I am able to delegate tasks to my team that is more than qualified to handle, I am able to embark on continues business ventures with a clear head and a realistic plan and expand the brand to limitless heights.
So take it from me and look at my story as proof. From taking one little problem and finding a solution, my life has completely turned around in every aspect. I hope this will for your life, too.