5 big lessons in entrepreneurship (aka what we learned during our first year in business)

 

 

It’s April 2016 and we are officially celebrating an entire year of Third Space Wellness having an open location. For a few years we searched the 20910 high and low, we had late night meetings around a kitchen table, we taught classes on the go, and saw clients in a one-room office.

Then it happened, the stars aligned and everything fell into place. We opened the doors to a beautiful center. It hasn’t come without its lessons though, some funny, and some serious.

Here’s what the past year in entrepreneurship and partnership has taught us:

#1 Great marital partners are patient and forgiving even when they don’t have to be. Between us we have three marriages, specifically, three partners who’ve spent countless evenings and weekends wondering if they will ever see their spouses again. We’ve said we’d be home at 7 p.m. and shown up at midnight instead. We’ve missed meals. We’ve forgotten to make sure we tell them we’re not around before we disappear. When your second half starts a business and runs a business it can mistakenly mean less hugs and kisses, appreciation, quality time, and listening for you. We realize we’re lucky because in our case, these hubbies have been pretty damn cool about the whole thing, taking on all the stuff we aren’t around for that we used to split with them. What we’ve learned in addition to how patient and forgiving they are, is that we have to work harder to be present and available when we are home. It takes extra effort to make time and have energy to give back to them, but they’re worth it. We also listen for each other; in our work partnership we’ve decided it’s important to help each one of us owners to have a fulfilling and healthy life; that includes making sure we each take time for family.

#2 You can’t do anything without clean underwear. OK maybe we’re being a bit over-literal here. Sure there are some things you can do without clean underwear… what we’re getting at though is that when it gets busy, really busy, and you find not only yourself but the family you live with, all scrounging around squinty-eyed cause it’s 6 a.m. and you’ve got no skivvies to put on so you can go to work, you can’t help but realize something’s gotta give. Being an entrepreneur can sometimes accidentally mean that work comes before basics likes grocery shopping and laundry. We get swept up in the latest project, special event, deadline, or problem and we can often let the menial though important daily considerations fall by the wayside. It takes a good entrepreneur to make it happen at work; and it takes a great one to make it happen at home and at work. No underwear can mean (for those of us who aren’t into going commando) a rough day at the office when we should be able to concentrate on work and bring our unique brand of genius to life.

#3 It’s easy to be a workaholic. Running a business is hard work, especially a small business that we are building from the ground up. We’re visionaries, managers, HR specialists, janitors, teachers, practitioners, accountants, legal consultants, and more… all at once. Sometimes all of the tasks get in the way of our basic human needs like eating lunch or making sure we’re pausing to appreciate our business partners. For awhile this year we got so caught up in our to-do lists that we forgot to be human with each other. Luckily we caught it, had a check-in conversation, and have been able to make time for the important stuff again: acknowledgement, social time, fun and laughter, sharing life woes and triumphs. The to-do’s go better when we’re being human together.

#4 Sometimes “good enough” really is good enough. The three of us, in our own special ways, are perfectionists. Though we each have a particular eye for different things, overall our commitment to quality is so high that we can exhaust ourselves quickly. For so many reasons this year has been a humbling one, we’re finally learning as individuals and as a team that some things just cannot be 120% all of the time. What does that look like in real-time? It means that some ideas we want to execute have been pushed back because we know we’re at capacity. It means that some items move forward even when we’re not sure they’re ready for prime time. It means that we’re prepared to make fixes to things after we’ve launched because we knew we likely didn’t get all the bugs taken care of the first time. We’re reserving our absolute best for the places where it really matters – with the people we have the honor of serving.

#5 We’re rookies at letting go. Luckily the three of us have each other, so when someone gets the flu, has a baby, or feels overwhelmed there are two more pairs of arms to help out. The thing is that we’ve learned that all three of us are reluctant to let go of our projects and give them to our partners… Why? It’s twofold. On one hand we are each workhorses in our own way. See #4 about perfection. And on the other hand – this is the biggie, not one of us wants to “stress out” our other partners. So sometimes we hold onto the enormously heavy load just to try and save each other. Everyone just ends up tired and cranky. We’ve been practicing letting this go. We’re putting our egos on a shelf and letting each other help one another. Whew, feels better already.

 


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4 Responses to “5 big lessons in entrepreneurship (aka what we learned during our first year in business)”

  1. Shira Oz-Sinai

    Yes! This is on point. Humbling in its vulnerability. Strengthening in its honesty. Heart warming in its truth. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  2. Melanie Padgett Powers

    Congratulations, friends! I’m excited and happy for you. As a fellow entrepreneur, I will add something I have learned in the past 2+ years in business, connected to your #4: You don’t have to do ALL your ideas in year No. 1. Sometimes I have a million ideas of projects, new clients I want to pursue and how to take my business to the next level. And yet, in my head, they all need to happen in the next two months. Not feasible and not necessary. I remind myself that I hope to be running this business, and growing with it, for another 20 years or more. I have time to grow, learn and improve.

    Reply

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