Over the last seven years of growing my agency, I’ve experienced some of the toughest life events. They have all been very unexpected and required me to be agile and flexible to keep the company afloat. In lesson #2 of being an accidental agency owner, I’ll dive deep into what I learned in these deep trials.
Working During Emergencies
The first business emergency was when I was just 8 months into my business. It was still a side gig designed to give our family some extra cash and that plan was working. On a trip back from our summer vacation my daughter could not go more than 45 minutes without stopping to go to the bathroom. And she was drinking and eating everything in sight while losing weight. As an 8-year-old she didn’t have much to lose. My mind starting to wonder.
This went on for a week and I kept thinking something was really off but as the eternal optimist, I keep thinking it would all turn out fine. It didn’t turn out fine.
I texted our doctor with the symptoms and she told me to come in immediately. After some tests, the doctor came in and told us to go straight to the hospital. We could go home and pack a bag but that was it. She would call ahead to the ER and they would be waiting for us. My world spun on its axis at that moment. As we drove home I thought about all that I needed to do for the business so I grabbed my computer. I had no idea if I would be able to work during my stay in the hospital but I was going to try.
Sitting on the hospital bed it hit me. I needed a backup person. Three weeks later I hired my very first contractor. It was exactly what I needed to learn how to hire and train someone in my method.
However, out of this moment didn’t just come the realization of building a team, what also surfaced was how to handle unexpected moments in business while you’re working with clients.
3 lessons for work/life balance
These lessons have helped me navigate other emergencies and grief that has occurred in my business along the way.
- People will understand when you have a life emergency. Let them know in a simple email what has happened. How much or little you share is up to you. Let them know what you’re doing to make sure their account(s) are up to date and when you will check in next. Don’t use this as a time to get sympathy, be short and sweet and garner sympathy from family friends who really understand how you process grief.
- Get really lean with what you absolutely HAVE to do. This is not the time to create a to-do list just because you like checking the boxes. List out only the things you absolutely MUST do in order to keep the business running. Put everything else on the chopping block until you can come up for air.
- Build emotional space into your life to allow you to feel all the feels. Going through this event above was life-altering. I needed to find space to grieve our old life and embrace the new. It was easy for me to add more to my list to fill up space and time but I quickly realized I needed to take a moment to process what had just happened.
We’ve had another major life event happen with losing a foster daughter but I’ll share more about that in some future lessons.
What have you done to navigate the tough life events while running a business?
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