Puh. This is a difficult post to write because, for me, it signals a change that once set in motion cannot be stopped.
It’s about closing my “day job” MSC Skin Care + Home. I speak about my feelings and the “oh shit” moment that came while I was filling an order for 42,000 units by myself on the podcast episode, so I’d definitely recommend listening to it, because it’s really hard to convey the emotions I had via text.
Here’s the runover if you’re not into my voice: I had dug myself into a hole where I couldn’t delegate, I couldn’t automate, and by the time I was willing to change it had become too late: I burned out. I had no love for my business anymore, and had put myself into a job I hated instead of a business I loved.
I decided last June to make a change that I knew would be very big, and very hard to do: I would walk away. A lot of people have asked my why I didn’t just sell the business, but I’ll get into that a little ways down this post. In any case, I knew that when Steve and I left NYC at the end of 2016, which is our plan to do, that I wouldn’t be taking MSC with me.
Realizing that this was what I wanted felt like the first day out of a bad relationship. Suddenly you can breathe and you wonder why you held on for so long in the first place. I think that many of us that are entrepreneurs talk ourselves into enjoying the process, and I imagine many of us actually do like the challenges. But for me, it became so difficult to keep up a cheerful demeanor when faced with a combination of debt and not feeling like you were being treated like a person.
I had been ignored so many times by buyers, editors, UPS, that I just had this constant stress of knowing that I always had a 1 in 1.000 shot of getting what I needed to make something continue (whether it was finishing a contract, getting paid, or even getting my GD packages picked up) and it began to take its toll on me mentally and physically.
I felt perpetually exhausted and depressed. I couldn’t sleep in my bed with my husband because the background noise I needed to shut my own brain off kept him awake. My right shoulder had frozen to the point that Steve would have to take my shirt off for me so I could get ready for bed because I was unable to lift my arm over my head. I went to doctors, had x rays, massages, and acupuncture all to try to make this go away, but I knew that deep down I had done this to myself and that the pain was psychosomatic.
This post is beginning to feel a bit whiny, so let me digress to the lesson that I learned from all of this:
You need to set up systems ahead of time to prevent burn out.
When I decided to pivot into doing Handmade Brooklyn full-time, I knew that I wouldn’t let myself fall into the trap of “all me, all the time” again, because I wouldn’t ever move forward. Right off the bat, I began to invest in apps, courses, and employees to help me run the business of mine and Steve’s blogs. I’ve mentioned before we have a social media manager as well as my podcast + video editor, and soon we’ll be adding a designer and a full-time VA to the staff because I know it’s important for me to do certain things: plan out posts, create products, strategize, but editing Steve’s images? Definitely, something that needs to be done (bless him) but not something that needs to be done by me.
That’s what you have to learn, too, in order to save yourself from the point of no return.
If you want your business to grow and earn you a comfortable income, you have to learn to let go and give up some control. Investing in tools or people seems like the biggest stretch in the world when you’re struggling (either financially or mentally) but taking just a few things off your plate frees up time to focus on things that SHOULD be your responsibility.
I never want you to wake up in pain or realize that you don’t actually like what you do, so take the time to learn the tools that can help you and create systems that allow your business to run with or without you.
BTW, why didn’t I sell my business outright? A few reasons:
Reason #1: I spoke to a business broker last year about it, and everyone they sent my way rubbed me the wrong way for one reason or another. I said in the podcast, I felt a bit like Willy Wonka weeding out these Veruca Salts to find my Charlie. I just wasn’t enthused with the prospects.
Reason #2: I didn’t really want to spend the time and the effort, full truth.
Reason #3: I knew I had meat in this business, and that was in my formulas and my resources. I thought about how I struggled to figure out ways to get custom packaging, or finding a source for a good patchouli essential oil, and that there had always been others I’d reach out to those who were in the same boat. So I decided that I wanted to take my experience, knowledge, and contacts, and offer it to anyone that was willing to invest in themselves to succeed. Beauty Biz Pro is my complete skincare biz in a box and is coming soon. It’ll include my formulas, connections, resources, and opportunities to have mastermind sessions with me and others because no one succeeds alone. It’s coming soon, but you can join the waitlist to get more info on the site if that’s something you’re into.