the business brain & the human heart

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Balance, my business story, Popular, Running a Business

Before I get into the thick of it, I have to say that you all overwhelm me so often!  The first installment of the Lucketts Leftover Sale went live today and pieces were selling before I could even get everything live on the site.  So, I’m “listening” to what you’re “saying” and I need to have more things for sale online on a more regular basis.  That’s a part of a grand plan, anyway, but I can have sales like these until all of that is sorted out.

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That means I need to do some shopping just for you!  Let me know in the comments what you’d like to buy, so I can order it/hunt it out.

If you missed out on pieces this sale, I still have a lot more to list and I will work on that tomorrow (Friday).  As I did with this sale, I’ll list items as “coming soon” in the online shop, so you can check them out and have time to select what you want to buy when the sale goes live, which will be Friday, June 3, at 9:00 PM EST.

We’ll all be so cool hanging out on our computers together on a Friday night!  Woohoo!

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So, I shared back in February, an acknowledgement.  Most days I’m just winging it and feel pretty much in over my head with this whole running-a-business/CEO thing.  In the beginning, I longed for growth.  Now, in those overwhelming moments, I wistfully remember those scrappy days when it was just me and my paint brush and my hair in a bandana.  (If you remember the bandana days, you’ve been with me a long time!)

That post I wrote, as most pour-my-heart-out posts usually do, led to something pretty cool.  A reader sent me an e-mail that said something like, “I saw you wanted CEO lessons and my sister does that!”  Seriously?!  I was sort of half kidding about CEO lessons and didn’t know they were a real thing.  She gave me her sister’s information and I decided to contact her.  It was at least worth a call.

That call was the perfect blend of professional and touchy-feely and I knew that it was exactly what I needed.  So, a couple of months ago, I started working with Joy of The Frontline Group as my “CEO coach.”  If you are super quick at putting two and two together, you might have guessed that it’s the same Joy who was featured on decorating dilemmas.  (This isn’t a commercial for her, by the way, but just a part of the story.)

I started working with her and I can’t tell you the relief and encouragement I feel when I get to talk through all of the things pinging around in my head.  Not just to Jeff or my mom or Kriste, although they are all amazing people, but I can talk to someone who has launched businesses, dealt with growing pains, felt the pressure, understood the challenges and the opportunities, and, most importantly, could see things clearly that I couldn’t, because I was just too close.

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She’s walked me through some big, obvious decisions that I should’ve made a long time ago.  She’s pointed out things that should be a no-brainer, but they just weren’t.  Joy has challenged me to grow in a lot of ways, but also voiced the fact that it’s okay to say “no” and it’s okay if I don’t want this business to get any bigger.

It’s sort of like therapy for business owners!

These sessions have also made me see more potential in my business than I have acknowledged and made it clear that I have been the biggest obstacle to realizing that potential.

I’m too hand’s on with stuff.  I like flexibility and an organic workflow.  I don’t bring in enough help to accomplish tasks quicker.  I stink at delegating.

You might be surprised to know that my team consists of me and two part-timers – Kriste and Heidi.  That’s it.  (Well, Katie comes for about four hours a week and hangs out with us, but she has twin boys and limited availability, so she can only get so involved.)

So, that’s me and two part-timers managing the milk paint line (all of the retailers, new applicants, marketing, advertising, PR, promotion, customer service, etc.), all of our social media, two blogs, buying & selling antiques, making over furniture, writing look books, working on freelance projects, developing new ideas and products, managing the online shop, packing & shipping…  and there are probably another dozen things I’m forgetting.

Basically, I’m a crazy person and I have two people who are willing to join my crazy on a part-time basis.  Katie can only take it in two hour doses, twice a week!

Yeah, it’s a lot.  And just typing out that list makes me realize how crazy it is and no wonder I feel rushed perpetually!  No wonder I can’t implement all of my ideas.  No wonder things languish on my to-do list.

I am a bottleneck.

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Not only am I a bottleneck when it comes to productivity (even though I am highly productive, there are only so many hours in the day), but my emotional investment in this business can be a bottleneck as well.

I struggle with the balance of my business brain and my imperfect, sensitive human heart.  The balance between what I want to do and what I can do.  The balance between what is best for others and what is best for my business and, by extension, my family.  The balance between the professional and the personal.

There are times when I wish I just had it all figured out and the balance was easy and obvious.  But there is a piece of me that recognizes the beauty in my deficiencies, fears, struggles, and bottlenecking.  Without 100% confidence in myself alone, I have to look beyond myself for strength to make tough, but right decisions. Courage to put myself and my ideas out there.  Wisdom to ensure fairness and integrity in my business dealings. Discernment to know which opportunities to pursue and which ones to decline.

And love.  To make sure my heart isn’t run by my business and my business is run with heart.

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All of this to share that I am working on it.  All of it.  Priorities, focus, followthrough, growth, balance…  And I’m making progress!  I’m putting together job descriptions for people I hope to hire to grow with me and my business.  I’m carrying a notebook, so I can write down ideas, thoughts, to-dos as they come to me.  I’m setting alarms, so I don’t miss so many appointments and meetings.  I’m climbing the mountain one step at a time.

This isn’t one of those neatly-knotted posts with a clear point to the reader, if you didn’t figure that out, yet.  This is just one of those heart-to-hearts that I need to have with all of you every once in a while.  To keep it real and encouraging.  To remind you that there are joys and struggles in every season.

To let you know that I’m still just Marian – a stay-at-home-mom/pastor’s wife who nervously started a small business to make some money for groceries and diapers.

And you’re just watching how it all unfolds…

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the business brain & the human heart

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