I remember the moment so clearly. I was at the kitchen table and I was asking myself, "What do I really want? What is my end goal for my business? Why do I want to grow this thing?"
Two things popped up: I want to homeschool my kids and I want to travel.
10 years have passed and those dreams have become a reality.
I graduated my oldest this last spring after homeschooling him the whole way through, and he headed off to college. This was the true test-- would he sink or swim? Straight A's in Bible School has let me exhale. It worked. Our free-range, learn-at-your-own pace mentality actually worked. Ethan is thriving in college and loving the challenge.
And we have traveled! We've taken the kids from coast to coast and to the southern seas. We have taken planes and trains and automobiles. We have cruised and we have walked miles at Disney. We have learned so much and we have grown so close as a family.
All of this was possible because I learned three things:
1. How to multiply myself,
2. How to eliminate the things that suck my time,
3. How to be free and disciplined at the same time.
In 2010, I was doing absolutely everything for my business. I prided myself on it. I was the owner. I had to answer every email correspondance, order all the supplies, text all of the teachers, make all of the plans, answer every phone call. That's what you do when you own a business! Right?!
When I was doing all.the.things I had no time to look up and see where we were going. My time was FILLED with administrative tasks that kept the ship afloat, but it was not bringing in much money to our family. I actually would have been better off to just get a job. I worked myself harder than any boss would have even allowed. I couldn't take a vacation. I had no one to do the things that only I knew how to do. It was ridiculous. It was exhausting.
To scale my business, I had to create a new position for myself. I became and manager and overseer of EVERYTHING. I had to create the plan and let other people help me. I had to shut down classes and programs that took all my time to run, but were not profitable. I had to get really good at online marketing.
I had to stop grocery shopping. It wasted too much time. I let Chris go to the store for me and started ordering groceries online.
I had to stop cleaning my own house. I wanted that time back to spend with my kids. Plus, I got to support another small business owner. The sanity from a freshly scrubbed house every week gave me energy to pour into my business and my kids.
I had to turn over my phones and email (gasp!) to extremely competent administrative assistants. Only after I freed myself from the day to day operations could I hire a team, manage the team, and focus on marketing and growth.
Become disciplined and free at the same time
As I scaled my business, I realized I could not be committed to doing things the way I had always done them. I had to loosen the reigns. I had to learn new things. I had to become flexible in my methods so I could grow.
As I grew myself and my faith in my ability to be the leader of my company, then we saw physical growth in our numbers, our revenue, and our income. By clinging to things we had always done, I was unintentionally stunting the growth of my company.
I had to be disciplined in my daily and weekly tasks, doing what needed to get done, no matter how I felt about it, but also free to make new choices and decisions so we could continue to expand.
If you're feeling stuck doing ALL THE THINGS in your business, you're not alone. This is the myth that most business owners fall into. But it doesn't have to be this way.
If you're actually scared to grow your business because you are already drowning with the amount of work that you're doing and the time it's taking from your family, let's talk.
If you are committed to changing your family's future and making this the best decade ever, let's connect.
2020 can be the year that everything changes for you.
Schedule a call and let's map out the future. Let's make a plan so you can grow and expand.
I'm always here, cheering you on.
Chaos always precedes the transformation. The mess is in the middle when you doubt tackling the big project. Wonder if you’ve made a mistake. Wishing you could go back.
The transition is when you doubt everything. When nothing is as it should be and you wonder if it will all turn out okay.
This weekend we decorated for Christmas. Pulled out all of the bins. Took down the fall decorations. Took out the Christmas garland and lights and ornaments and candles. It was a mess.
The boys helped carry the heavy stuff and assemble the 9' tree. The girls decorated and I mostly practiced Lamaze breathing in the corner. Now that they are all older, the kids took over the decorating. I was focused on the mess. Stuff everywhere. Little squabbles here and there about the lights and where the village pieces go.
What have I done?
I should have done this alone.
And-- What will I do when they all graduate?! How will I do this alone?!
We have messed this up. It's too cluttered in here. Why do I take on these massive projects? What was I thinking?! Isn't break supposed to be RELAXING??
All these thoughts raced through my head as I fought back tears. Why am I crying? This should be a happy moment! But it all just felt like chaos.
Which, honestly, feels like my life right now. Everything is a mess. We are changing things around. We are pulling out the new and putting away the old. But everything is everywhere and it can bring on daily panic attacks.
Maybe you’re in the middle of transition right now, too. Maybe you’re changing course and starting to question if it’s a good idea after all. Maybe you’re actually wishing you could go back, even though you had plenty of reasons for wanting to leave.
The beauty is coming. It’s just around the corner. You just have to HOLD ON.
Get through the mess.
Get through the middle.
Keep pressing on.
Chaos always precedes the transformation. Always.
I look around and now my house looks beautiful. It was worth the mess. It was worth pushing through.
And it gives me hope. Hope that 2020 will bring beauty and less chaos and confusion.
It reminds me that I am in the middle. And I have to hang on.
If you're in the messy, middle, too, I encourage you to hang on. Push through. The transformation is coming. Keep going. Don't give up.
It will be worth it all.
I know it will.
Watch this week's video here:
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
The finished result from all of our decorating!
When you look backwards, does it seem like you've owned your business for forever?
Or does it feel like just yesterday that you signed that lease or moved into your space or made a new beginning?
For me, it simultaneously feels like yesterday that we got our own space for our music school and at the same time, like FOREVER ago.
It was 8 years ago but I swear we've always been there.
The last 3 years have been extra crazy. That's when we got really serious about adding new streams of income to our business. I challenged Chris to quit his job and that's when the rubber hit the road. We were "all in" and had to ensure the security of our family's future.
We cut coupons.
We cut spending.
We doubled down on our time and streamlined our homeschooling.
We hired new business coaches to assist us and I delved into learning from dozens of new classes and trainings.
We knew this was our moment. We had to get serious. We had to do whatever it takes so we could make a difference for our kids and for our lives.
With two of us focused on the business, we moved much faster than I could all by myself.
We had two parents to help with the kids and the meals and the schooling.
We had two vastly different skill sets to draw from so we could get out there in a bigger way and offer new services to clients around us.
It was not easy.
But I've never taken the easy road. I've always been up for a challenge.
I want to do hard things, dream big dreams and accomplish great things.
I've never been content with floating through life or sticking with the status quo.
I don't follow the crowd. I lead it.
This journey has been flat out hard. But it has brought Chris and I so much closer and developed personal growth and character in both of us that we would not have gained if we had stayed where we were.
Most people remark: "I could never work with my spouse." Sometimes I wonder how we do it, too!
It forces us to face our differences and understand one another.
It takes a lot of work and a lot of intentional conversations.
Many people tell me "I could NEVER homeschool my kids" but they don't realize how much time you gain when you keep your kids out of the crazy schedule of school. Our kids are happier and more pleasant to be around because we are crafting their education around their strengths and their sleep schedule.
Is this life easy? No way. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
Challenges make you strong.
Fear makes me fall on my knees and turn to God for strength.
Anxiety makes me dig deep for answers.
The hard stuff brings out the beautiful.
Around the holidays, some businesses are crazy-busy and others have sales flatline. It can be worrisome. It can feel scary. It can be tempting to ruin the season by worrying and wringing your hands.
I found myself brainstorming my fears the other day and instead, I chose to be proactive. I remembered that I thrive on a challenge.
I can do hard things.
I can climb this mountain like I've climbed all the others in the past.
I turned on some worship music on Pandora (I love the Lauren Daigle station) and then I listened to a few sermons by Steven Furtick (he always pumps me up and encourages me). Once I regained some sanity and got my anxiety under my feet, I grabbed a piece of paper and started brainstorming what I could do to make money or save money. The ideas started flowing. The worry disappeared.
Watch this week's video and tell me if this method works for you, too.
Here's my challenge: You can sit and wallow in the hard or you can face it head-on.
You can decide this is all too much and back down from the challenge or you can brainstorm ways to do things differently.
You can give up or you can press on.
You can keep trying to do it the way that isn't working or you can ask God for wisdom on how to change the plan.
It's your choice. But I believe in you. You can do this.
You've made it this far.
You can do the next right thing.
About the Author
I'm Jen Hickle. I love coffee, journaling, reading, and cozy winter evenings. A business owner for 20+ years, I can't imagine having a "real" job or getting up every morning to an alarm clock. I love my freedom and my family and the chance to encourage fellow business owners every day.