A few years ago when I was assisting managing a retail store, I did what all career driven millennial women did: I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. It absolutely changed my life. Entrepreneurship is something that I’ve dreamed of for as long as I can remember. Reading Lean In really gave me the confidence and push to take the next step. I had the opportunity to purchase an existing business, and I settled on a childcare facility. I loved children, did extensive research on state regulations, and was already familiar with business operations. I found one locally and SURPRISE! It was the exact center that my son was attending for the previous two years. In my mind it was totally meant to be and the deal was closed.
Then just like the Fresh Prince, my life got flip turned upside down.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so stressed out in my entire life. When you run a small business you are responsible for absolutely everything. I would delegate the tasks that I could, but the majority of the responsibility would fall on me. I let myself get overwhelmed to the point where I said I just can’t do it anymore. Nothing was worth me losing my family and mind. So with the lease ending on the building, I decided to close.
Looking back, it was the best decision I could have made. The knowledge and experience I gained couldn’t be taught, and it led me to doing what I absolutely love now. How many twenty-something moms can say they’ve owned their own small business? But back when I was closing the doors, I cried daily and lost so much sleep on the families I was inconveniencing and the staff I was losing. And of course, feeling like a failure who couldn’t handle it all.
This isn’t to discourage any of my fellow sisters who want to become the next Sara Blakely or Lisa Price. My advice to any woman who is interested in business ownership is establish a work/life balance! Know when to say no and stay firm. Set restrictions on communication from your staff and clientele. It’s nearly impossible with our phones, but do your best! A clear head is the best asset you can bring to the table!
These days I still work with children full-time, I’m challenged daily, and I’m still able to spend time with my family without my mind wandering off to work constantly. I’m still “Leaning In” of course, but also watching for any objects headed in my direction.