I was reflecting today on the super fun interview series I recently did. I was thinking about how much more “rich” and “full” I see them and their businesses, just by taking time to ask some questions and to listen.
Each of them exhibits something that really resonates with me and that I feel others can benefit from.
Creating that connection, building empathy, learning from one another’s triumphs and struggles – those are some of the take-a-way’s of the interview series.
When I jumped into the deep end over ten years ago, purchasing an 18 room historical hotel that had no clientele and was located in a town of 300 people, I was in for my share of self doubt, isolation, fear, encouragement, and excitement.
Owning your own business is HARD. It’s difficult on so many levels. We’re supposed to project this fun, amazing, got-it-together business to customers so they’ll want to buy from, stay with, and talk about, our business.
I tend to be a pretty dang positive person. I’m also someone who has thought that journaling is something I should do. I should do it because women I admire do it, business people say it’s important, home group at church advocates it, etc.
Fessing up. I’m a VERY hot and cold, start and stop, journal writer.
I’m in the stop mode at the moment. heh heh
However, if not for an old journal and happening upon it the other day while purging files, I would completely have forgotten this moment of struggle. I don’t at all remember it.
The Joys of Business
- I remember sanding, scraping, and painting for months. (Restoration)
- I remember the community and their curiosity and encouragement.
- I remember the marketing genius of Lee Weinstein happening by and ‘helping me out’.
- I remember meeting with engaged couples and helping them realize their dream wedding.
- I remember the staff and how close we became; how much I cared for them.
- I remember our first guests and how we fretted over their room, what to serve them for breakfast, etc. We were like teenagers out on a date for the very first time.
The Other Side of Business
- I remember falling asleep in church because I was exhausted. I just laid down in the row.
- I remember going to business connection meetings, hearing what other businesses were doing, and then leaving feeling utterly deflated because I wasn’t doing all of these amazing things that they were doing.
- I remember not having someone to share the stress with and wishing I had a mentor I could confide my worries to.
- I also remember having some great tricks with glasses, hair, and makeup that camouflaged my lack of sleep.
I didn’t remember this journal. It was written during the first years of our business.
Remember the market crash of 2008???
Here’s a sum up of what I wrote.
I wrote that called my husband and I was crying, I was almost hysterical and sobbing. I did not know where the money was going to come from for our business mortgage that was due annually, in a few weeks. I couldn’t understand why God had led me here (I felt very strongly that He opened the doors for this business.) The stress of it was overwhelming. It was a serious amount of cash and we had drained our finances and our credit.
Shit. I had completely forgotten that moment. Seems one would remember such a dramatic moment; but I didn’t.
I am a glass ½ full gal.
Business Owner Commonalities
Whether the interview series, my own business coaching clients, or my own experience, know that everyone struggles. You’re not alone. We’re in this together!
People look like they have it all together;
that they’re ‘all that and a bag of chips’,
but everyone struggles.
Read through some of the interviews and you can see hints of it. Read my emotional meltdown on the phone above, and there it is, plain as day.
(Oh, so as not to leave you on a cliffhanger, my next journal entry was amazing! Literally in the next two weeks I booked two large weddings and the two combined payments met our annual debt obligation perfectly. Next step was to knock down that credit card bill. . . )
I think that being vulnerable, especially as a business owner, is a particularly difficult thing to share. However, when we do, I find that good people embrace that vulnerability and support you. They can relate.
I don’t think sharing vulnerability is for social media, your employees, or customers, but rather it’s to share with a colleague, coach, or mentor – someone you trust and respect (preferably not your partner in life).
Great things come from struggle. If it were easy, what you are doing, then many people would be doing it. They’re not!!
You’re a business owner, you’re super special, a rare bird, an over-comer, a thinker.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”Zig Ziglar
Keep on truckin’
On the other side of it?
Email me! I’d love to share it.